Are you in the midst of next-year planning and prioritization for your B2B marketing organization? As you set upcoming annual objectives, don’t forget to include some goals for improving the engine. Content is the backbone of any buyer journey or customer experience. So give yourself — and your target audiences — the gift of better content in the New Year. Here are five calls to action for B2B marketers that will help you improve your content capabilities in 2022:
- Prioritize content for existing customers, not just net-new buyers. Many B2B marketers tend to focus on the buyer journey and new customer acquisition for the business. But, according to Forrester’s B2B Benchmark Metrics Data, 77% of B2B customer revenue comes from existing rather than new customers. As we head into 2022, balance investment in content to attract net-new buyers with content that drives customer engagement and retention. The close of the deal is just the start of new opportunities to engage with customers. Audit your content to identify where it is and isn’t meeting customer needs across all phases of the buyer journey and post-sale customer lifecycle. You won’t deliver optimized customer experiences until you do.
- Abandon outdated content production and promotion methods. If your marketing organization is still using cobbled-together content processes and technology, it’s time to modernize to support better quality, scale, and efficiency. New best-practice approaches that better leverage modular content, artificial intelligence, and automation should be on the radar of marketing leaders looking to what’s next in content. Some organizations are exploring and implementing content capabilities like “create once, publish anywhere” content componentization, AI-generated content briefs and copy, content recommendation engines driven by machine learning, automated conversational content via chatbots, and advanced workflow automation. Explore where these more modern approaches to content production and promotion could improve the scale, efficiency, and effectiveness of your content engine. Start by identifying where you may already be using tools within your organization that offer calendaring, automation, or AI features that you aren’t taking advantage of today
- Fill the gaps in your omnichannel content activation. While B2B marketers talk about “omnichannel activation,” many clients we speak with still focus heavily on paid, outbound promotion. They underemphasize owned and earned activities to generate organic, inbound engagement or overlook better ways to activate content with sales, support, partners, and the extended employee base. Multilingual requirements are also often an afterthought. Whether it’s for external, internal, global, or local audiences, now is the time to shift omnichannel activation from “pushing and pulling” content via isolated outbound and inbound tactics to sensing behavioral signals and responding accordingly with the right content, at the right place, and at the right time.
- Improve content intelligence. According to Forrester benchmark data, only 41% of B2B marketing organizations can view and analyze content performance metrics by “audience,” and only 34% can do the same by “theme or topic.” Operational siloes and ecosystem limitations create these challenges and result in weak content metrics. But immature tagging and taxonomy practices also contribute significantly to low content IQ. Start solving your content intelligence dilemmas by finding ways to surface meaningful insights. Content insights will help you make data-driven content investment decisions and achieve high-performing content engines, but only if you start investing in the right data now.
- Align content roles and clarify responsibilities. Many teams experienced organizational design changes or role and responsibility redefinition in the past year. Get a start on 2022 by ensuring that everyone who touches the content lifecycle understands how they are expected to lead or contribute in the new model. As mundane as it may sound, conducting a RACI exercise, updating process documentation, and scheduling training can help circumvent communication and collaboration issues that can impact momentum and morale. Consider whether you’re at an inflection point organizationally where these alignment activities may be beneficial.
Looking for more B2B content insights and guidance to inspire your 2022 planning? Read the Forrester report, Content Strategy and Operations: Planning Assumptions 2022, which expands on these recommendations and provides links to the relevant research and models that will help you improve your B2B content engine capabilities in the coming year.