Content Marketing
Content Marketing and Thought Leadership’s Role in Marketing Transformation

Content Marketing and Thought Leadership’s Role in Marketing Transformation

August 20, 2019
4 min read

Marketing transformation isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a way to evolve. Marketing has to evolve in order to keep pace with our changing world and shifting customer habits. In any industry, marketers are facing fierce competition and a much more educated buyer.

So, how does a brand successfully transform its marketing? We have found that content marketing and thought leadership play vital roles in marketing transformation as they have the potential to unlock growth and attract the right kind of buyers.

Telling the right story to your audience through content marketing and thought leadership can be a substantial catalyst in a paradigm shift from traditional marketing to marketing transformation. Let’s explore where this journey can take you.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Marketing transformation is the integrated use of data and technology to creatively scale the business.
  • Evolving customer behavior is the biggest driver of marketing transformation.
  • Automating content and creation and distribution paves the way for transforming your marketing.

What Is Marketing Transformation?

Marketing transformation means different things to different stakeholders. Simply put, it’s the pursuit of scale, efficiency, and innovation using data and technology to spur profits and growth. Marketing transformation is typically focused on using software to automate and enable streamlined processes.


Adoption of new technologies is often the easy part. However, getting your organization to embrace change is usually more difficult, but necessary for success.

What’s Driving Marketing Transformation?

You’ll find that the biggest driver for marketing transformation is your customer. Customers are more sophisticated now than ever, and they do their homework. In fact, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.

With your buyer looking for a solution to their problem, you need to supply them with relevant content. The content needs to be informational and helpful rather than sales driven. Decision makers greatly prefer to get information from articles versus advertisers, with 80% saying as much in a survey from the Content Marketing Institute.

In addition to a changing customer, brands have to also deal with a more competitive landscape. It’s likely that all of your competitors are implementing new digital initiatives and trying to take advantage of technology. It’s not a matter of if you’ll transform, it’s when—and that when is now.

Content Marketing Is Central to Marketing Transformation

Your audience craves great content. It’s essential for telling your story in a way that resonates with the right audience. This means you need to have a well-structured content marketing plan in place.

Content marketing is going to be the fuel for your marketing transformation. There are many platforms that enable content marketing like never before, so you don’t have to worry about the manual aspects of publishing, sharing and measuring content.

How Does Content Marketing Enable Marketing Transformation?

One of the tenets of content marketing is understanding your buyer and developing content they want to consume. This means you must stay current on the buyer’s acumen, expectations and preferences.

Advancing your digital transformation efforts requires a strong content marketing foundation. It’s complex, no matter your industry or subject matter. You may also be dealing with a siloed structure where not everyone is on the same page or even knows where the book is.

What you want is to expertly craft and continue to evolve a content marketing plan that delivers an omnichannel experience for your audience. Consider how you can simplify the customer journey through your content marketing objectives. Think about what the buyer gets out of the content and where it leads them on their journey.

This may require dramatic shifts in what you’re doing now, even if you have a content marketing plan. You have to be thinking about how to serve the customer’s needs. On one hand, you need to produce rich, meaningful content. But you also have to make sure technology is part of your plan; otherwise, you’ll fall short on what you do with the content.

Scaling Content Marketing for Marketing Transformation

How scalable is your content marketing plan right now? How much manual work does it take to just get through the process of developing content? What about its distribution and metrics? You can’t scale properly without marketing transformation.

You’ll need a platform that offers you:

  • The ability to collaborate and track content from inception to distribution
  • Parameters that outline the objectives of the content and the expectations of how readers or viewers will receive it
  • Buyer-focused digital guidelines to consider and adopt

Every team or individual involved in the content process should embrace governance, which helps standardize the process. Often, brands develop a playbook that outlines customer requirements across all types of content.

Scalability is vital in marketing transformation. When you have technology that supports scalability, such as Pardot, HubSpot, or Marketo, your content marketing can work harder for you to attract the right customers.

Thought Leadership Propels Marketing Transformation

Beyond content marketing, it’s also important to look at the role of thought leadership. While it is a part of content marketing, thought leadership deserves its own strategy.

Thought leadership is essential to the content you create. It gives your brand a point of view. Having a point of view demonstrates to your audience that you are experts and you truly know your industry and its landscape.

How do you become a thought leader?

As a content marketer, you should have access to your SMEs and all their knowledge. Find out what each SME brings to the table as far as niche information. Consider how this expertise can be developed into content that answers the questions of your audience.

Another important part of thought leadership is developing your brand’s voice. This voice should be consistent and genuine. It’s a good idea to develop a voice guide for your brand and ensure that all content creators adhere to it.

Thought leadership has nothing to do with self-promotion, so make sure that when you are creating this type of content, it focuses on educating and sharing new ideas.

The power of a solid thought leadership content plan can be a huge help in your brand’s marketing transformation.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.