Connect with us

MARKETING

Your 2023 Planning Shouldn’t Be All About That Tech

Published

on

Your 2023 Planning Shouldn’t Be All About That Tech

Do marketers dream of magical tools? (I couldn’t resist that Blade Runner reference).

As we enter the fourth quarter (for many), it’s time for planning. Budgets are due. Plans are being formed. Leftover money must be spent before the year’s end.

Is it any wonder that marketers’ thoughts turn to technology? You may be mulling over questions such as:

  • What technology should we budget for?
  • Which new tools will help us achieve our plan?
  • What cool new capability might we buy with that leftover money?

This year’s tech questions seem particularly complex. I hear content marketers asking if blockchain will become the next new thing. Or if they should invest in artificial intelligence software? Or if they should finally acquire a content calendaring tool. How about a new analytics solution? Or is it time to invest in a DAM? What is a DAM?

Many marketers dream of investing in tools to automate processes, create insightful dashboards, or spread content evenly across myriad channels in the right way to reach the right people at the right time on the right device.

Wait. Did we forget about intent data? Add that to our tech dream board, too!

But all those dreams could quickly become nightmare scenarios, requiring skill levels your company can’t accommodate.

Do you dream of finding a #ContentMarketing tool to make everything easier? Take a beat before you buy ­– or risk a nightmare scenario, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Caveat emptor: Think before you buy

Have you heard the aphorism “a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into”? It means that when you decide to invest in a boat, you’re not just buying the boat – you’re also committing to all the things that go along with owning a boat. That includes renting a dock, acquiring a trailer, keeping up with the significant maintenance required, and paying for the fuel and other costs of operating it.

It’s not a stretch to adapt that saying to our industry: “Marketing tech is a hole in the business that you throw money and time into.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in it (or buy that boat if you need it or love it). Marketing technology can return extraordinary value.

But be conscious of what you’re buying. Any marketing technology worth purchasing involves implementation, training, user learning curve time, and ongoing administration.

I’ve recently seen some real challenges on this front. One B2B company I worked with has been stuck in some form of software selection or technology implementation cycle since the beginning of the year. They’re limited in the amount of content marketing they can create because they’ve been so busy trying to figure out the technology to create more content marketing.

Ironic.

Tech purchases won’t necessarily make your 2023 content dreams come true. What should you focus on to set your program up for success?

I have a few ideas.

Tech purchases alone won’t make your 2023 #Content dreams come true, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Focus on change first, not technology

I’ve been advising clients and colleagues to worry less about which new technology will be a must-have for 2023. Instead, work on developing the muscle to evolve content activities into repeatable processes.

In other words: How do you change?

I find that it’s critical to hold frequent discussions with stakeholders about the audience/customer journey. Content marketers aren’t the only ones creating bold new plans for content in the coming year.

You’ll probably participate in many meetings to understand what the sales team wants, what the brand team thinks, what the public relations crew has on their mind, and what senior leadership thinks.

But success isn’t built from a mutual understanding of those separate agendas. The teams must come together to develop one collaborative content strategy for customer and audience engagement.

Coordinated communication is one of the hallmarks of a successful content strategy. To achieve it, focus on these three fundamentals:

1. Orchestrate connected experiences, not siloed hand-offs

Think about next year’s plan in a way that lets you decouple customer and audience data management from the content experience. Explore how you can create a unified view of your subscribers and customers so that things like “audience,” “lead,” “opportunity,” and “customer” are attributes in a single database instead of siloed buckets.

That probably means technology will eventually play a role. But first, create awareness of what content is planned, by whom, and where it will be distributed.

Almost every business would benefit from communicating about the portfolio of content that will be created rather than meeting about what was created.

2. Shift to meaning-driven (not data-driven) content operations

What meaning do the email address, first name, and last name of someone who registered for a white paper contain? Little to none. You can, perhaps, draw some inferences about buying intent based on the topic of the digital asset. But the intent with which that data was provided may completely circumvent that inference. (If the email shared is [email protected] – you’ll have a pretty good idea.)

That kind of marketing data has no inherent meaning. It is a collection of facts, figures, and attributes about people or their behavior. You need more interactions with that person to develop a relationship.

For next year’s planning, businesses must develop new strategies to find the emotional value in data that’s given rather than gathered. For example, let’s look at an email address gathered from gating a white paper versus one given to subscribe to a newsletter after reading that white paper. How much more valuable is that email address if you know it’s given willingly, trustingly, and with the expectation of receiving valuable communication from your brand?

3. Organize for agility, not speed

You’ve probably read many essays about how content marketing teams need to become more agile in their operations. But agility isn’t about moving faster. It’s about focusing on high-value, high-priority activities.

The constant pressure of more and more content arises from a fear of moving too slowly. Replace that fear with joy by planning to spend more time developing powerful thought leadership stories and less time creating endless assets.

Think about how to shift your processes to spend more time planning big, meaningful, powerful, differentiated content. Once you create those stories, you can then decide whether and how best to transform them into digital assets.

Can you separate the process of content creation and digital asset production – and become more agile in the process? I think you’ll find you can.

Can you separate the process of #Content creation from digital asset production, asks Robert Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing field of dreams

An “if we buy it, they will come” approach (to paraphrase another famous movie line) rarely leads to success.

And you can’t measure success by how much technology you deploy. That’s like thinking you can get to work faster by purchasing more cars. You’ll just accrue more debt and spend all your time managing and maintaining those cars.

What will 2023 bring? The metaverse? The return of NFTs? A B2B version of TikTok? The collapse of third-party data?  We. Don’t. Know.

But, as you’re looking at your budget, plan, or year-end spending, take a beat. Before you dive into a tool, think about what you hope you and your team will be spending time and money on this time next year.

Write it out. What does your day look like?

That’ll help you set up a better dream for how you might accomplish it.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

MARKETING

Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

Published

on

Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

Published

on

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

Published

on

Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

(more…)

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS