SiriusDecisions is a go-to source for many in B2B sales and marketing. And so many have waited for their analysts to weigh in on the emerging content marketing software space.
Last week, Jacques Bégin of SiriusDecisions jumped in with an article titled Do You Really Need Content Marketing Software?.
He outlines the four questions that need to be answered before you invest in content marketing software (we wrote a similar post here), why you might need it, and the potential challenges of getting up and running with new software for managing the ideation, activation, and distribution of content.
Here are a few of the main takeaways that will help you decide if you’re ready to invest, along with why it’s so important for B2B marketers to heed Bégin’s advice when considering an investment in content marketing software.
Operationalizing the Content Process
Bégin states that “best-in-class b-to-b organizations have a shared, operationalized approach to creating high-quality, high-impact, buyer-centric content.”
Success in content marketing is all about building out a streamlined content operation, and the best of the best are doing just that. The content they’re creating starts with the buyer, speaks to the needs and interests of specific personas, and aligns with a company’s expertise and strategies. Best-in-class companies have already mapped out content processes and workflows that manage ideation, production, distribution, and analysis of high-value assets.
This is not just a “process problem.” It’s also a technology problem.
“Technological gaps could include a need for manual assignments and handoffs; an inability to tag, find, retire or measure content effectiveness; or a lack of dynamic content delivery capabilities.”
Marketers, in other words, should seek solutions that can help operationalize every step of the content marketing process: the management of people, workflows, distribution (both internal and external), and analysis.
Tracking Engagement Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
“The functionality these solutions provide will increase in importance as the buyer’s control over their own marketing experience continues to grow in prominence—the self-serve buyer drives content demand,” writes Bégin.
Buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before ever talking to sales, which means that they’re researching solutions long before you meet them. Content is crucial for attracting, engaging, and ultimately converting these visitors into leads. And to be able to track the success of your content at influencing buyers during that journey—across platforms and technologies—should be a key component of the content marketing tool you choose.
Getting the Full Value Out of Other Marketing Tools
Marketing technology is an important topic attracting a lot of eyeballs in the media—the result of the increased need to leverage existing tech, channels, and platforms to reach target audiences and measure the results. And as new technologies emerge, you may find yourself with a toolbox full of specialized technologies.
If you’re using multiple marketing tools, then you’ll need those tools to integrate with your content marketing software. This provides a central platform, not only ensuring visibility and seamless distribution, but enabling marketers to recognize the full capabilities of other technology investments.
Or as Bégin puts it: “Content marketing solutions can address current technology gaps and provide a testbed to prove the value of the additional capabilities and build the case for a more robust or advanced technology stack.”
Services to Support Your Content Platform Investment
While “benefits [of content marketing software] may include a simplified or streamlined content process workflow, increased collaboration, higher-quality content and increased functionality,” Bégin points out that “managing technology integrations and change” may be a challenge.
If you find the advent of marketing technologies challenging, make sure you choose a solution that offers a services package, which can help create buy-in across the organization, increase functionality and shorten onboarding time, and support your team’s technology integrations and needs.