I talk to a lot of marketing managers. A common thread running through a lot of these conversations is a concern that some in upper management may not understand the importance of content marketing. This tends to lead to under-funding content marketing projects, which in turn results in a severe lack of useful content online and in the trade press.
Another factor contributing to this budget shortfall is the understandable rush to replace old or outdated websites. Many companies I’ve talked to over the past few years have told me that they are totally focused on creating a new website—something they probably do need—and as a result management has said they cannot spend any money on content marketing or PR, because “web stuff is eating up the whole budget.” Then these web projects often drag out over a whole year, or even longer. Therefore, even when complete, the beautiful new website often ends up with, at best, placeholder content.
Consider this: Google says that consumers research 10 or more pieces of content online before making a purchase. Beth Comstock, a SVP at GE, recently told Google that their company has found that this online research behavior applies to both their consumer and B2B business areas.
So, does your company even have 10 pieces of content online? Let alone 10 pieces for every significant product category you sell? You can’t count puff pieces that may adorn your website, written in a style that many customers refer to as marketing… ahem… baloney. (That is, lots of words that don’t really say much more than “we’re great.” I call this “zero-content content.”) The industries we work in are famous for their no-nonsense, bottom-line people. They want facts, specs, useful descriptions, relatable application stories about problems being solved profitably.
That brings us back to the challenge so many marketers face. “How do I convince my C-suite that they need content marketing?” The answer will be unique to your industry, your products, your company, your managers, your business goals. One company’s greatest challenge may be that no one but the marketing manager believes that content marketing is important. Another might have mainly budgetary issues to answer.
A good third party resource offering a broad spectrum of answers that I’ve been recommending is the Content Marketing Institute. They have some excellent suggestions from a wide range of industry pros that can help you show the value of content marketing to your C-suite. The link I’ve provided will give you a variety of ideas— you know the individual personalities and business priorities of your own company and will recognize which strategies are suited to your situation and which are not.
Matt Fueston is an Account Manager for Ellenbecker Communications, is responsible for new business development, and contributes as a staff writer. He believes in the intersection between Sales and Marketing.