Sales and Marketing Software

Responsibility with Authority is Critical to a Content Strategy

So You Want to Be a Content Czar?

Success Comes From Two Key Metrics

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

If you don’t properly enable your content leaders to measure the impact of their efforts, you will continue to see those people avoid taking centralized responsibility.  It’s only natural. Measuring impact gives you ways to gain authority over both budget and process and without it, changes in content strategy are extremely difficult to execute.

Just how fragmented is your content creation and how does that impact giving authority to those who create it? Chances are it is quite scattered across marketing, product management, agency partners and sales. Beyond the need to have content created by those with subject expertise, the fragmentation is driven by an “as needed” mentality fueled only by a new or updated offering, major event or marketing or sales program.

Responsibility is based on immediacy. Yet marketing goes for quarterly budget dollars. Sales demands more leads and executives ask about funnel and pipeline performance. Everyone scurries to do something about it or in some cases run for cover.  Many have authority for their little piece of the effort, but who has the greater authority? And better yet, who wants it?

Executives have woken up to the importance of content. We have been tracking the role of content in the buying process for over a dozen years, long before the term Content Marketing came to be in widespread use. During that time, the value of content has grown from representing about 25 percent of purchase influence some nine years ago to today, where IDG Connect research shows it represents more than 50 percent of the weight that goes into a purchase decision.

That digital content has doubled in importance to the B2B buyer in less than a decade has not been lost on executives, but often their focus is driven by the line item costs of digital content and conversations. When those CEOs ask who manages digital content creation, management and use, CMOs usually step forward. However, this often comes with a caveat about local influence which allows individuals to self-define what is needed, so in practice they work in tandem with other functional areas to make their efforts responsive to sales and channel requests. This lack of clarity has in turn resulted in the emergence of the role of Chief Content Officer to give content more focus and responsibility.

For those of you who pursue such a role make sure that you get authority with the responsibility. First, don’t accept the sole use of existing measurement metrics. Rather, focus on how your organization can measure two key areas: the degree of alignment of digital content and conversations with buyer preferences overall at key stages of the decision process and, the relevance of content topics and value proposition to buying team members.  At the end of the day that is what matters most and will enable you to prove your worth.

You might ask the question is that hard to do? The answer is yes it is. It requires you understand what you have in your content portfolio and match that against the preference of buyers especially by content type, decision role, decision focus and buying stage. You should ask these questions before you leap at the opportunity to a position that leads content strategy:

  • What is the mix of content by type?
  • What percentage of content is in each format?
  • What in the primary buying stage focus for each asset?
  • What buyer focus does each asset target such as financial, business impact or technical?

Today’s issue is that too many organizations do not want to take the time or make the investment to gain that understanding. Others prefer not to know, fearing what they find out will make others questions their past content creation efforts.

Once you clear that hurdle of perceived risk. You must compare what you learn about the portfolio to buyer preferences. That will show you your alignment today. And only by understanding alignment can you work to improve relevance.

Alignment and relevance are your greatest points of control as a content leader. They set your demand generation, sales enablement and pipeline efforts up for success.  Beyond that many success factors come into play and the value of content is more difficult to prove.

So if you become a content Czar, be realistic in what you measure with your newfound authority and make sure what you measure is defensible. In short it must point to an increased likelihood or propensity of buyers to both engage with you and put you on their shortlist.


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Bob Johnson

VP & Principal Analyst, IDG Connect

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