Why Inefficient Content Marketing Costs Companies $958M a Year, and How to Stop It

4 minute read

Upland Admin

In the span of a few short years, content marketing has become a must-do initiative for B2B companies hoping to engage prospective customers, establish thought leadership, and break through the noise of an increasingly crowded marketplace.

In fact, 67% of mid-to-large B2B companies ranked content marketing in their top three marketing priorities for 2015. But while most companies realize the need for—and power of—great content marketing, sloppy content management processes have lead to extreme waste, to the tune of $958 million in annual spend on ineffective content efforts.

Keeping Your Company out of the Content Marketing Money Pit

Like a great mid-century home with a beautiful exterior but Stone-Age plumbing and wiring, a poorly executed content marketing structure can be rife with hidden costs.

Gleanster Research surveyed 3,408 mid-sized B2B companies with the goal of understanding how the most effective companies manage their content marketing to drive superior results. They discovered that the average B2B organization with >250 employees dedicates nearly 55% of its annual marketing budget to content creation and production, and that doesn’t include promotion investments.

Optimizing those processes is critical to making your investment in content count toward driving optimal revenue, and there are three key areas that all successful content marketing organizations need to nail down.

1. Focus on Content Operations, Not Just Production

Today, businesses report that the number-one content marketing challenge is managing the overall content process.

While 83% of companies described their content creation process as being “very efficient” or “efficient,” 88% of them simultaneously reported significant challenges with content production, and 52% of the companies surveyed reported frequently missed deadlines due to approval delays, collaboration, and “general chaos” in content production processes.

With B2B companies averaging a spend of more than $500,000 a year on content production, these inefficiencies can translate to major losses; conversely, addressing them can save your marketing team millions.

Streamlining your content marketing operations not only means understanding the challenges and processes of content production, but increasingly includes the incorporation of technological solutions to assist with production and distribution.

Top-performing companies tend to leverage technology platforms such as blog platforms, web content management, and marketing automation tools that provide structured templates to streamline content production and allow marketers to schedule content publication.

Investment in these tools pays off: Gleanster found that top-performing companies are twice as likely to use marketing automation and digital asset management tools than average-performing firms.

2. Establish Processes to Enhance Efficiency and Effectiveness

Even if your company is producing effective content, that doesn’t guarantee that it’s doing so efficiently. All companies can benefit from evaluating and optimizing operational efficiency in their content marketing efforts, and this should be of utmost importance.

Of the companies Gleanster surveyed, “Efficiency Experts” accounted for just 6% of respondents—this means the overwhelming majority of companies are pouring money into inefficient content marketing processes.

So what are the hallmarks of an Efficiency Expert? For one thing, these companies focus on process re-engineering and standardization. They are four times more likely to invest in optimizing content marketing efficiency, even if a return is not absolutely tangible.

Efficiency Experts see an opportunity in addressing these problems, and view it as a high priority that justifies an investment.

3. Invest in Making Your Content Marketing Operations More Efficient 

In the U.S. alone, B2B firms will spend more than $5 billion on content production efforts. Sixty-seven percent of the companies Gleanster surveyed felt that there is room for improvement in their current content creation processes.

By taking a page from the Efficiency Experts’ playbook, you can produce more content using the same amount of resources by standardizing operational tasks, centralizing collaboration and approvals, and gaining visibility into your overall content marketing production organization.

To learn more about quantifying the costs of inefficiency in your content production processes, download the full Gleanster report here.

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