The Goal of Content Operations Isn’t Efficiency—So What Is It?

4 minute read

Upland Admin

What is the objective of content operations? Content operations and their supporting software platforms manage workflow—but that doesn’t mean the main purpose is fostering more efficient, more productive marketers.

It comes down to the actual business need. Do marketing organizations really need their marketers to be more efficient so that they can produce more content? For most marketing organizations, that’s not the case. Most have way too much content already, wasting enormous investments by producing content that’s never distributed because it can’t be found by sales and isn’t being consistently promoted by marketing. And of course, there’s all the content that is off-message, off-brand, and insufficiently personalized to perform in this Age of the Customer.

Marketing doesn’t need more productivity or even more content, but rather the right content.

Which, as it happens, is the true objective of a content operation.

Sales Ops Has Paved the Way

Rather than boost productivity, operations functions typically require an investment of time and energy. In fact, as developing a content operation becomes a high priority for more organizations, we can all take a lesson from the operations teams that have developed before content operations.

Sales operations is a great example.

Decades ago, this function did not exist—sales was on their own. But in the dawning of the Digital Age, sales teams needed support. It’s hugely important to note that this support was not to make individual reps more productive, but to make the entire sales function more effective (first with Siebel, then Salesforce.) Ask any rep what they think of logging details into Salesforce, and they’d say they hate it! This activity does not make them more productive as an individual.

But it’s not about logging more calls—it’s about routing leads appropriately, providing visibility into customer information for various stakeholders, and producing insight into how the overall sales function performed.

When a sales operation and its tools—or a content operation and its tools—are implemented, providing the message to stakeholders that the operation will drive individual productivity sets a dangerous expectation. Setting this false expectation will only drive disappointment and frustration.

The actual objective of these operations is to drive the performance of their overall function, not individual productivity. And this objective should be communicated so that all stakeholders correctly understand the why of the change they are going through.

What Does a Content Operation Bring to the Table?

At the company level, a content operation enables the production of the right content for the right customer at the right time. Vendors today must be customer-centric on how they go to market, providing a compelling, consistent message that is properly personalized for each customer interaction. But instead, most companies produce their content across disconnected silos, resulting in a incoherent and ineffective customer experience.

And that brings us to the true objectives of a content operation for a company: achieving a better return on content investment. How?

  • Better customer experience
  • Improved conversions
  • Accelerated revenue

Of course, a company can’t implement a content operation without individual buy-in. Fortunately, while a content operation requires employee investment of time and energy, it also provides returns—and it’s not just a productivity boost.

In an effective content operation, marketers create less content. Content production is less reactive and request-driven, and more proactive and strategy-driven. As a result, creators in a content operation should be asked to produce less content, should have much more advanced notice of what content to produce and why, and as a result, can devote more focus to producing outstanding content.

And because the content produced by a content operation is much better orchestrated with different teams and functions—and is much better aligned to the overall customer experience strategy—the content that producers make has a much better opportunity to make big impacts on the audience.

Marketing leaders are increasingly recognizing the imperative of content operations. In order to be successfully customer-centric, marketing must put a set of processes in place that cross-functionally govern how content is planned, produced, distributed, and analyzed. But leaders must be careful in identifying and communicating the objectives of the content operations to stakeholders, particularly during the implementation and change period. The operation is not about individual productivity, as can be readily seen from the example of sales operations. Instead, leaders should focus on the objective of producing the right content and its benefits at the company and individual levels.

Read more about how to build a content operation in our definitive guide.


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