Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) appear to be standard tactics in an ever-changing market based on product-market fit and the long-term vision of a company. And from a definitive standpoint, that’s what an M&A is—a consolidation of companies or assets.
However, for the people involved, the process can be majorly stressful, with both large enterprises and small businesses moving individuals and teams around in an epic battle of workplace Game of Thrones.
When the dust begins to settle, the office can feel like a barren wasteland—a hodgepodge of disjointed teams and processes. While this sounds stressful, an M&A provides a tremendous opportunity for marketers to take the reigns and create a world-class customer experience.
Here are five ways marketing can take hold of the customer journey and drive the business forward post-M&A.
1. Centralize Your Content
Before you do anything else, your team needs to find all your content—and I mean all your content. From blog post to webinars to random white papers, everything needs to be pulled together into one central system. Comb through active nurture campaigns, website resources, and social channels (including SlideShare and YouTube). Don’t forget content that lives on vendor websites or your Medium account.
Of course, you could organize this with a shared folder and perhaps a spreadsheet, but using a system like Kapost, where someone bulk uploads all your content for you, is easier. I’m really not sorry for the shameless plug; the power of the bulk upload is enormous, especially for the enterprise. It can save you dividends in avoiding the cost of an agency. Additionally, agencies are often a band-aid solution to a blanket problem of content governance. They don’t know you or your brand. Small teams, however, should be able to manage this more easily through a manual upload process.
Benefit: Centralizing your content provides an index of what exists and creates a single-source of truth, which is essential for creating a streamlined customer experience. Additionally, your team, which may include many new members, will build an understanding of your historical content, something that would be lost in an agency.
2. Determine Brand Guidelines
Once your content is centralized, you can build a brand style guide. Based on the acquisition, this may require some major overhauls or only a light refresh of existing branding. Either way, this requires strict approval from key stakeholders on the executive team—in writing. Although this won’t ensure there won’t be a rebrand in the future, executive approval supports brand alignment and compliance.
From here, document your brand guidelines. I would recommend including an editorial style guide (we have a template for that), primary visual style guide for logo and text, and a presentation template. The presentation template seems like an afterthought; however, a unified presentation, either through Google Slides or PowerPoint, is a powerful unifier for the company.
Benefit: Brand guidelines support alignment and help eliminate never ending updates. Documentation is a powerful tool for the enterprise, no matter how tedious. It provides standards without incessant meetings, where the editorial team has to beat sales with a stick about off-brand content used in outbound emails. While it doesn’t eliminate the need for Q&A, it certainly makes the process far easier, and often more useful.
3. Align on Taxonomy
After branding guidelines, it’s time to identify common taxonomy. This is the high-level categorization agreed upon across teams. Take the time to outline the required fields for every asset, including theme, channel, persona, buying stage, and team. From there, outline other essential fields for each asset that aren’t part of high-level taxonomy, including title, publish date, URL, channel, short description, page views, etc.
Benefit: Taxonomy is the backbone of your content operation; it’s the metadata that will make organizing your content feel far less painful. Additionally, it’s a tool for (you guessed it) alignment. Alignment means consistency, consistency means a powerful customer experience, and a compelling customer experience means revenue.
Don’t trust me? Here are a few stats that might help prove my point.
4. Run an Audit
Now you’re ready to run an audit. Flag your best content to repurpose. These are your rock star pieces that just need a new coat of paint—maybe a new logo or link. Then mark outdated content that needs to be refreshed beyond a simple logo update. This could include an eBook that needs to be rewritten in accordance with new messaging, or a case study that needs updates based on use-case changes. Finally, the most satisfying step: remove irrelevant content. Seriously, just delete it. I can speak from experience that this process is super cathartic. You can thank me later.
Another important note about the content audit: Be sure to understand any changes in systems that could affect the content you’re reviewing. For example, are you switching from Marketo to Eloqua? Is your blog moving to a new CMS? Mark how content needs to be updated accordingly. It could be as simple as a new CTA, or as complicated as total form overhauls for marketing automation.
Benefit: An audit is an essential process to kickstarting your marketing strategy. It’s the first step to a streamlined content strategy and killer customer experience. A thorough content audit allows you to:
- Determine gaps in content across buying stages and customer personas
- Remove or update underperforming content
- Assign content themes to align future initiatives
- Clarify goals based on existing content
- Find ways to repurpose existing content into compelling campaigns
5. Build a Mini-Pillar
Now it’s time to put your content to work because content that goes unused is just sad. After all the madness of the merger, you deserve to maximize all the resources you have. For that, I direct you to this white paper from Kapost CEO Toby Murdock. It outlines, step by step, how to repurpose existing assets you already have to work smarter—not harder.
The benefit? Delivering the right content, to the right customer, at the right time.
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