Publish or Perish: A CMO Roadmap For Content Marketing Success [Research]

Publishing is no longer an option but essential to the growth and content marketing success of any organization, according to the new report “Publish or Perish: A CMO Roadmap for Managing, Systematizing and Optimizing the Marketing Content Supply Chain,” which Forbes CMO Practice released earlier last month.

96% of the 380 marketing executives surveyed agree that effective content marketing is critical to the success of achieving their growth strategies and professional careers.

And to drive sales and growth, today’s marketers are allocating some 25%, if not more, of their marketing budget on content creation.

Why Publishing Is Essential To Marketing Growth

Over 80% of marketing executives believe successful content marketing helps develop the brand, which is critical to their organization’s marketing success and revenue growth. Publishing helps differentiate the brand by providing relevant, compelling and personalized content and experiences that entertain, educate and engage consumers and prospects. This helps accelerate lead generation, lead nurturing and ultimately sales.

These marketing executives surveyed also agree that content marketing improves sales effectiveness, and is critical to the success of sales enablement and marketing technology as well as paid, earned and owned media investments.

The Publishing Challenges CMOs Face

While CMOs are now spending more on content than traditional advertising, the Forbes study found that very few marketing leaders and professionals have mastered the discipline of content marketing. Marketing executives reported that these common challenges are increasing the cost of sales and hindering their marketing organization’s ability to deliver more value and revenue:

  1. Complex Content Operations

Based on the marketing executives surveyed, an organization on average has over 150 content contributors, and CMOs do not always have direct control over these content sources.

As well, content is often distributed through various sales, marketing and media touch points within an organization, which increases the complexity of a CMO’s content operations. This may hurt the customer experience as most companies do not have a consistent messaging methodology for the content that is produced and distributed by sales, IT and other teams within an organization.

  1. Low Content Usage

Many marketing executives expressed frustration with customers, prospects and influencers not opening or consuming the majority of marketing content produced by their organization.

  1. Inefficient Content Repository

Of all the marketing executives surveyed, 61% reported that their salespeople have difficulty finding the marketing content when they need it, and as a result most content goes unused. For example, from a recent analysis, the VMWare marketing team found that 75% of localized content that gets pushed to regions is not used because sales and marketing channels are not aware of these available assets.

  1. Ineffective Content Marketing

The Forbes study found that only 46% of marketers surveyed align their content assets with the customer journey. This lack of alignment with the buying process explains why much of the content that gets produced has very limited impact on sales.

  1. Weak Business Outcomes

Content that does not support the customer or buyer’s journey fails to drive measurable business outcomes because it does not challenge the customer mindset (what Brent Adamson calls commercial insights) and motivate customers to buy.

Drivers Of Complex, Ineffective Content Operations

In interviewing marketing executives, Forbes identified ten factors that are driving up the cost and complexity of content operations and production, leading to ineffective content marketing:

  1. Advanced marketing and sales approaches require more targeted content to be produced for customers and prospects.
  2. Demand for higher quality content is rising to cut through the noise.
  3. Most content produced by organizations surveyed lacks a coherent structure in place to deliver consistent value messages.
  4. The number of internal and external contributors, sources and content formats continues to increase, and many are not under the marketing leader’s control.
  5. Content is produced in fragments to support individual programs and channels.
  6. Different organizations and stakeholders within a company all create content, sometimes in silos, to support sales and marketing efforts.
  7. Compelling, quality content requires labor and creativity to produce, and creative-driven processes are often not stable.
  8. Executive leadership does not always understand the business value of content marketing, and its impact is difficult to measure.
  9. There is no single owner responsible for managing the publishing process and measuring its effectiveness.
  10. Content governance, quality and control is difficult to manage, particularly for large, complex organizations.

7 Steps To Content Marketing Success

The rising cost and complexity of content operations and production will only go up in the future, and CMOs and marketePublish or Perish 2rs who do not optimize their practices now are putting their marketing success and growth plans at risk.

Forbes has identified seven key steps leading marketing organizations are taking to simplify, control and manage content operations at

  1. Content Planning

This first step involves establishing editorial structures, processes and management teams to ensure all content produced is relevant, timely and unique, and leverages lower-cost content sources, such as freelancers, content curation and licensed content, where makes sense.

  1. Content Sourcing

Content sourcing is crucial to content marketing success because you manage the quality, volume and relevance of content right at the start of the publishing process. Having a centralized content sourcing function helps marketing organizations better manage both internal and external content contributors as well as content quality and consistency.

  1. Content Targeting

Targeted content improves ROI of earned and owned media investments and saves sales reps time to find relevant, quality content, creating the foundation needed for marketing organizations to measure the impact of content and optimize performance for greater success.

Cisco, for example, saved $17 million by organizing and targeting marketing content so sales can leverage these assets in selling situations more effectively.

  1. Content Governance

Governing content helps CMOs better manage and control content quality, consistency and compliance across the organization. Content governance not only reduces the complexity, cost and time associated with content operations, such as managing compliance and approvals, but it also ensures consistent value messages to improve marketing and sales effectiveness.

For example, by establishing content quality controls, the content marketing team at 3M improved their response rates by 300%.

  1. Content Distribution

By establishing processes and systems to coordinate, distribute and track content across all marketing, media, sales and digital touch points, marketing organizations can drive more sales, improve the customer experience and reduce costs by allowing content reuse across all touch points and channels.

Global marketing organizations at Unilever, Dell and Symantec, for instance, are using content marketing and marketing cloud solutions to better manage and distribute content across channels and departments.

  1. Content Assembly

For leading marketing organizations, building a content assembly is the key to reducing cost of content operations and achieving economies of scale. Marketers only need to create a relatively small number of assets and they can be assembled into countless number of packages tailored to a particular persona, selling situation or stage in the buyer’s journey – saving marketers and sales reps time customizing content and maximizing content reuse while delivering real-time personalization.

  1. Content Systems

Since creating compelling, relevant and actionable content is labor-intensive and not always scalable, marketing organizations need to take advantage of opportunities where they can leverage technology to increase productivity and reduce cost.

For example, Casio partnered with SDL to streamline and automate its publishing process so it could more quickly translate content assets created in Japan for localization and distribution in the eight major markets Casio serves.

What do you think of this brand publishing framework? Is your marketing organization already using some of these strategies? Please share your thoughts below!

To learn more about the Publish or Perish report, visit Forbes CMO Practice.

To learn how you can reach, engage and convert new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or subscribe here to receive my latest updates.

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.