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How Our Remote World Is Accelerating Marketing Transformation (& What to Do about It)

To the savvy marketing leader, many of the most pressing issues confronting us as a result of the current Coronavirus pandemic are strikingly familiar—even if accelerated and super-sized.

Our teams are distributed and under-resourced; our buyers are distracted and far away. With the full ire of this global crisis upon us, our relationship-driven, vendor-controlled relationships—already ceding ground to information-driven, buyer-controlled sales cycles—are slipping away from us faster than ever before.

Our customers hold the power. But here’s the thing: They’ve been telling us what it will take to win and keep their business for some time now.

As early as two years ago, 80% of business buyers ranked the experience a company provided as more important than its product or service. And as organizations tighten their purse strings in the face of uncertainty, B2B organizations that fail to deliver on this demand may find themselves in a perilous position.

In many ways, the reality we’re staring down today looks a lot like a future state we knew was fast approaching, crisis or not.

But it’s here. It’s real. And the time to adapt is now.

Is your team set up to drive next-level CX? Take the self-assessment.

An Internal and External Impact

One reason we feel the pain of this new reality so acutely is that it’s impacted both our internal and external relationships.

Internal Impacts

Distributed Teams

Bulging inboxes, requests for yet another Zoom call, and the cheerful *ping* of your 13th unread chat message…many teams have struggled to keep up, let alone collaborate, from afar.

But these new inconveniences highlight what we’ve faced at a team-level for years. At enterprise scale, with teams working across multiple offices or geographies, it’s impossible to get everyone in the same room on a regular basis.

What does that do to our ability to align efforts?

Marketing Imperatives: 

  • Create systems and repeatable processes to empower stakeholders to work independently without straying off track.
  • Enable visibility into collective efforts so that everyone is on the same page.

Even in the best times, most teams struggle to align. In our recent study, the 2020 State of Content Operations, just 18% of teams surveyed said that they consistently followed and iterated on their workflows. And just 10% told us that they benefit from real-time status dashboards and widely accessible editorial calendars.

Doing More with Less

In challenging times, marketers are no strangers to being the first asked to drive greater results with fewer resources.

This imperative makes it even more important that our efforts are aligned around meaningful shared goals. In our same State of Content Operations report, just 16% of respondents told us they or their teams had insight into how their work leveled up to organizational objectives.

Marketing Imperatives: 

  • Cross-team visibility to identify overlapping efforts.
  • Prioritize only projects tied to larger objectives.
  • Identify opportunities to reuse and repurpose existing content.

External Impacts

Digital Interactions

Though we’ve long been comfortable with the mega-trend that is digital interaction, most organizations have been able to supplement these efforts with face-to-face contact. But the long-tail impact of social distancing and remains to be seen. How long, for example, will it take for corporate offices to allow unknown sales representatives to come pay a visit on-site?

Marketing Imperative: 

  • Lean on your ability to provide value through relevant, personalized content and seamless interactions that guide customers and reinforce core messaging.

Content Competition

Without the usual slew of industry events occupying our calendars, every B2B marketing organization is having the same conversations about how to pivot to digital replacements.

Odds are, your customers and prospects are being bombarded with a deluge of webinar invites and other content from every angle.

Marketing Imperatives:

  • To stand out from the noise—always a challenge of marketing teams—double down on creating better, more contextualized, and personal content…not just more of it.
  • Let competitors do the spamming. Focus on staying speaking in one voice and personalizing and contextualizing where- and whenever possible. (With a full 30% of teams in our recent report admitting they don’t do anything to personalize content experiences for customers, there’s huge opportunity here.)

A Smarter Approach through Content Operations

The marketing organizations best positioned to adapt are those focused on building robust content operations to align and maximize the impact of their revenue teams.

When we say, “content operation,” we’re talking internal operating model that builds visibility and collaboration at scale, allowing teams to work strategically and with confidence. Taking the time to optimize internal processes may seem like a luxury in this chaotic time, but it’s more urgent than ever.

An effective content operation is built on a foundation of customer-centricity, placing great customer experiences at the forefront of every strategic decision. Here’s what it transforms to get there:

  • Reactivity → Proactivity
  • Confusion → Visibility
  • New → Reuse
  • Ad hoc → Planned
  • More → Less (more impactful) content

By optimizing internal processes and enabling teams to speak in one voice across each customer journey, marketers can lead the customer experience effort—and accelerate revenue in the process.

The impact of these efforts is significant: According to Aberdeen Group, firms optimizing content enjoy 48% greater annual improvement in customer lifetime value.

Maturing Your Content Operation to Meet the Moment

With an aligned, operationalized, and customer-centric approach, marketing groups with functioning content operations are dramatically better equipped for our modern moment—both in response to the ripple effects of COVID-19 and to the larger digital transformation through which we’ve been moving for years.

Take our free content operations maturity self-assessment and to help you chart an actionable course through these transformative times and emerge more impactful on the other side.

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