If the first quarter of 2016 didn’t knock your socks off, I have a few tips for ensuring 2Q16 moves your marketing team in a better direction.
Many bumps in the road can be attributed to poor planning. So, let’s make sure that your content marketing strategy is headed in the right direction. A recent Curata infographic has removed some of the guesswork by foretelling 2016 content marketing trends.
Before you can take advantage of these predictions, however, your organization must be primed for marketing success.
For instance, the infographic notes that marketing departments are beginning to take the lead in actual sales, ahead of sales teams. The implication is that your brand will suffer if it’s not in sync with this shift, since trends are spurred by the positive revenue growth they engender.
To make this trend a reality at your business, your sales and marketing departments must first resolve their differences so that their missions are aligned. Together, these business units should craft a clear strategy for going to market. Next, marketing must deliver qualified leads to sales at regular intervals. Otherwise, the bottom line suffers, the sales-marketing alignment crumbles and morale takes a dive.
Furthermore, pricing and product features should be transparent to buyers. This is critical because today’s buyers complete nearly 60 percent of the sales cycle before talking to a rep. This helps buyers qualify your solution and reach out only if there is a fit, leading to higher-quality leads.
What’s more, have you ensured that short sales cycles are the norm? Data-driven agile campaigns have replaced year-long marketing plans, allowing for quick adaptation based on sales feedback. Also, be sure that marketing stays involved in the entire sales process, helping sales reps tackle prospects’ concerns and move them down the sales funnel.
The infographic also shows that organizations are digging into their coffers to support content marketing, which has been cited as a major driver for sales-ready leads.
Before proposing that your company spend its hard-earned cash on more marketing, make sure you’ve thoroughly analyzed the data associated with your existing marketing strategy. Does it provide direction as to which channels to leverage in your future campaigns? What goals have you established for your marketing plan, and what metrics will you use to measure outcomes? In addition, ensure that your brand voice and presence is consistent across multiple channels. Does your brand have the same look and feel on every outreach platform you use? It should, so that the customer experience is consistent from your website to social media to print ads.
It’s especially important to the success of any marketing campaign that you know your customer inside and out, and that you’ve verified a market fit for your products and services based on research. This means you’ve developed buyer personas to target your customer base and that you’re familiar with the problems your key audience is trying to solve.
Above all, do not fail to document your content marketing plan, which should include details for all your organization’s major stakeholders. Everyone from your creative people to your IT staff must be sold on the effectiveness of the plan.
Last, but certainly not least, if you lack the internal resources to implement your content marketing strategy, be sure to outsource the content creation process to a content marketing vendor. Once you have the basics covered, consider ways to take advantage of other trends mentioned in the infographic. For example, try diversifying your content into categories such as video and interactive content to drive greater engagement with your brand, or think about using earned and paid media to lure consumers to your sites—another 2016 trend.
Once you’ve got all your marketing ducks in a row, keeping up with these trends will put you on the cutting edge of content marketing, driving your brand to new heights.
As with her writing and editing, Peg brings her finely honed attention to detail and her adherence to high-quality standards to bear in her role as managing editor of Content Boost. As team leader, she encourages her staff to strive for excellence in the copy they craft and in the relationships they forge with clients, striving for an optimal customer experience. She caught the marketing bug after seven years as an editor and supervisor at Gartner Inc., the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, and was drawn to the spirit and talent exhibited at Content Boost. Tracing back to her early days working local beats as a journalist, Peg consistently digs deep for insights that bring value to her writing. Outside the office, Peg loves to read when she’s not trying to keep up with her cycling buddies or the weeds in her garden. She can be found enjoying the local scene in her hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.