There are lots of positives to take out of B2B Marketing’s recent Content Marketing Report. For a start almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of B2B marketers say it’s a very important component of their marketing activity. But it’s worrying that 31% of the marketers who completed the survey have no formal strategy in place.
In my mind, there are two reasons this is bad, one theoretical, one practical. From a theoretical point of view, everything should be aligned. We all learned at marketing school that a business strategy feeds into a marketing strategy, which in turn guides the strategy for specific activities, in this case content marketing.
But then sometimes the need for “getting stuff done” overtakes us and we end up doing lots of tactical campaigns instead of stopping to think about where it is all heading. And frequently the reason given is along the lines of “we don’t have the time or the money for a strategic review”. Strategy is seen as expensive; tactics are cheap.
This is understandable but short-sighted. Getting a formal strategy down on paper and getting the agreement of the people around you does not have to be a long or expensive process. If you can get agreement on why you are doing content marketing and what it means to customers, you are halfway there.
But the key value of a strategy is that it saves more money than it costs. Sure, you may have to invest a little time. But what you get back is a content programme where all the elements work together, where all the participants understand one another, and where inefficiencies are removed. When a machine is well designed, it tends to cost less to run – and nowhere is this more true than in the world of content marketing.