Virus shutdown ‘makes content marketing more important than ever’

As the coronavirus shuts down major trade shows, industry gatherings and customer events around the world, digital content has become indispensable in driving business opportunities, market education and customer engagement in 2020, but many firms aren’t keeping pace.

A new strategic report from the CMO Council looks at the impact of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on face-to-face business interactions, particularly large gatherings, has been swift and pervasive.

Content will need to pick up the slack, according to Donovan Neale-May, executive director of CMO Council and author of the new strategic brief, “Making Content Marketing Convert.”

“Marketers must act quickly and decisively to increase the impact, scope, reach and return of their content marketing investments in 2020,” Manuel Hüttl, Senior Vice President Europe beim CMO Council said. “Our research also shows there is a critical need for marketing organizations to bring more discipline and strategic thinking to content specification, delivery and analytics.”

Developed in partnership with NetLine, a leader in targeted B2B content syndication and sales funnel acceleration, the report provides valuable insights into the problems marketing organizations face in elevating the business impact of content development, distribution and lead conversion. It also provides a concise set best practices, along with a self-assessment check list for lead performance improvement.

Among CMO Council research insights that underscore the problems and shortcomings in current content marketing initiatives:

• Only 12 percent of marketers believe their content marketing programs targets the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content.
• Only 21 percent say they are sufficiently partnered with their sales counterparts in developing and measuring demand generation programs.
• Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder, rather than customer, interests.
• While 88 percent of business buyers say online content impacts vendor selection, just nine percent think of vendors as trusted sources of content.

The report offers commentary and advice on the top 10 essentials for effective authority leadership-driven content marketing:

1. Partner with credible + trusted sources
2. Produce relevant + compelling strategic insights
3. Add customer-contributed views + validation
4. Present authoritative, newsworthy and enriched content
5. Engage qualified, verified and predisposed audiences
6. Target the whole influencer, specifier + buyer ecosystem
7. Embrace multi-channel distribution, promotion + syndication
8. Authenticate content consumption and buyer engagement
9. Ensure lead legitimacy and compliance
10. Cultivate, Activate and convert prospect flow

It also offers a set of best practices for lead lifecycle management. These practices cover:

• Functional alignment between marketing and sales
• Lead qualification—prioritization and scoring
• Lead nurturing and relationship development
• Hand-off and optimization of the conversion process
• Campaign measurement

Download the report here