Many of the nation’s largest companies haven’t moved beyond the days of the “mad men” of Madison Avenue’s ad campaigns when it comes to marketing.
Major ad agencies still control the purse strings for these enterprises’ ad spend. Yet the very tactic that entrepreneurs have used to snatch away some of these companies’ business—content marketing—can work just as well for legacy enterprises as it does for startups. To be successful, though, an enterprise content marketing strategy must conquer some key challenges that enterprise marketing teams face.
Because enterprise-level companies often use major TV and print campaigns to get their message across, their default marketing budget usually flows to legacy ad agencies. The result? One-off ad campaigns supported online with references to their TV and print ads.
As for digital display ads, statistics tell a “horrifying” story, as Carly Stec points out in her HubSpot article. Not only is the use of ad blockers growing but also, stats point out that nearly half of customers’ clicks on mobile ads are “accidental.”
In fact, readers who don’t click do so intentionally since more than 54% of readers don’t trust such ads.
Ouch—for those enterprise companies who think that display ads are taking advantage of cutting-edge digital technology.
For example, take a look at Coca-Cola’s website. Slick photos, self-promotional stories, and chances to win football tickets abound, yet there isn’t a blog in sight. After you search, open up another tab, just for fun.
Chances are the retargeting bots will chase you to your default search page. But when you click on the retargeting link, you see the smiling faces of sports journalists, all enjoying a Coke—all a not-so-subtle reference to current Coke ads for the fall football season.
Perhaps Coke doesn’t need blog posts to fish for new markets. That’s a mistake, in our opinion.
No matter how large your company is, it can always grow through discovering new markets. Those markets aren’t likely to switch their beverage of choice from a catchy ad. They’ve seen them ad nauseam when they watch the nightly news or their favorite team.
If only the beverage maker would go after the foodie market with content that extols the beverage’s natural affinity with food. A few recipes from well-known chefs and home cooks alike that recommend pairing suggestions with one of Coke’s signature offerings might win Coke a new customer base.
After all, great marketing was part of beer’s evolution from a proletarian beverage to gourmet tastings at tony restaurants.
So far, though, Coke hasn’t pulled the content marketing genie out of the bottle yet. Perhaps they don’t have the people with the foresight to do so. Or maybe, like many enterprises, they’re stuck in the last century when it comes to content marketing.
There are some enterprise companies, though, who have unleashed the content marketing genie.
Progressive Insurance, for instance. Sure, their in-house marketing team creates plenty of catchy TV ads, but they also have a blog on their website, chock-full of content that attempts to answer all the questions prospective customers may have.
Progressive has set aside an adequate budget, giving their team the scope they need to create not only catchy ads but also meaty content that pulls customers in by meeting objections with stone-cold facts. That’s the kind of marketing that works hand in hand with the sales team to build a foundation that makes selling their policies that much easier.
Their catchy ads pair with informative content on the website itself that continues to draw customers away from older, more conventional companies.
Bank of America, too, uses content marketing to teach its customers how to better manage their money. It’s a win-win situation. Helping customers build their own fortunes while filling their own coffers, the bank builds trust, loyalty, and revenue with helpful content at a fraction of what they would pay a major ad agency.
More than attachments to traditional advertising challenge those enterprises who haven’t taken full advantage of content marketing. Other factors, too, keep them from leveraging their marketing power through quality content.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recently conducted research that identifies common challenges that hamper enterprises from doing effective content marketing. They are:
All but their resistance to change, we would argue, come from the companies’ sheer size and often siloed departments.
What we recommend is to create a content marketing team that defines the style and brand guidelines, ensuring consistency of message.
That team must keep up with all the latest developments in content creation and distribution technology. Yet instead of becoming a siloed department itself, an enterprise content team must reach out to employees from all departments, encouraging them to produce content as well.
With detailed, easy-to-understand guidelines that define style and brand voice, employees can post on social media without fear of reprimand. Working with a content team, engineers, for instance, whose strengths don’t lie in writing, can create rough drafts that explain how the company’s latest gadget works. The content team can then edit the drafts to create informative, easy-to-read explanations and instructions.
This strategy has brought unbridled success for some of the nation’s most forward-thinking enterprises. Deloitte—yes, even that legacy financial advisory company—along with Reebok, Starbucks, and Dell, all have successfully implemented employee content sharing programs.
No matter how large your company is, a carefully coordinated content marketing team can reach new customer segments that you’ve struggled to reach, increasing your company’s revenue and elevating its brand image even more.
Marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin. Both teams’ focus is on increasing the company’s customer base, and ultimately, its revenue.
So, why do many enterprises’ sales and marketing teams exist in silos, barely speaking to each other in the halls, let alone coordinating marketing and sales campaigns with one voice?
Effective content marketing can lay the groundwork for effective sales in both B2C and B2B enterprises. Progressive’s content team, for instance, addresses many of the objectives and concerns prospective customers might have through well-informed blog posts.
By the time the customer gets to a salesperson, many of the questions and objections they might have otherwise raised with the salesperson have already been answered. The customer is primed to buy.
For B2B companies, personalized messaging that addresses the various concerns of every decision-maker can help sales personnel not only land a meeting but even more importantly, clinch the sale.
Targeted messages to the prospect’s engineering department about the structural integrity of the building material the salesperson is trying to sell can clear the way of roadblocks, while assurances that the building material has an airtight guarantee will please the legal department. Partnering with the sales department is one of the best strategies to assure enterprise content marketing success.
Your firm doesn’t have to be a startup or a tech company to take advantage of Agile principles when it comes to content marketing. We would argue that it’s a necessity to take an enterprise successfully into the next decade.
Without Agile methodology, marketing campaigns are slower to test, slower to get results, and it takes more time to tweak a content campaign to make it fit customers’ needs. Agile principles emphasize testing ideas on customers early on, acting on their feedback, and changing direction accordingly.
An Agile content strategy will respond more quickly to news stories that affect the market. Agile content marketing can adapt to breakthroughs in technology, leveraging them to their company’s benefit.
Combining Agile principles with the larger number of resources an enterprise company can provide can scale successful campaigns more easily, as Monica Georgieff points out in her article. Not only that, but teams can innovate faster than ever before—without the top-down bureaucracy needing to approve every sneeze that comes out of the marketing team. Agile methodology is one of empowerment both for the innovators and the end consumer, in this case, potential customers.
Most importantly, going Agile in the marketing department as well as with your product development can give you the edge over scrappy upstarts that threaten to corner the market on whatever you sell. If you’re involved with an enterprise company who wants to jumpstart its content marketing program, you don’t have to break the bank to hire an in-house team. Outsourcing to a content marketing agency is a great place to start.
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