• The content issues pervasive at B2B organizations are a tangle of process and technology
  • Companies need to start by separating their content priorities from their technology concerns
  • Next, companies can decide how to use technology to address content priorities

Untangling Christmas lights is frustrating. It is tempting to jump into the middle of the knot to find a way to untangle it, but that only makes matters worse. You need to step back, starting outside of the tangle – that’s the best way to fix things.

We spend a lot of time helping our clients untangle knots while they are thinking through how to rationalize their content technology ecosystems. It is necessary to first take some time to think about the content needs or priorities that the company is seeking to improve or solve. Our research has identified the top five content technology needs or priorities that B2B organizations have today:

  • Findability. Enabling maximum content discoverability and utilization by internal and external audiences through tagging, taxonomy and content management.
  • Measurement. Tracking and reporting on the performance, value and business contribution of content across the full spectrum of functional initiatives.
  • Activation. Supporting the activation and delivery of content to key audiences across multiple channels, media, programs and global/local markets.
  • Quality. Implementing a consistent, repeatable approach for planning and creating high-quality content assets that audiences want and need.
  • Process. Ensuring the right content processes, technologies and governance are in place to support content workflows that are aligned, efficient and effective.

While nearly all sales and marketing organizations touch technology in one form or another, five core technologies have the most impact in addressing these priorities.

  • Web content management. Solutions that let organizations create, manage and measure the impact of Web site content.
  • Marketing resource management. Technology that enables organizations to manage marketing planning, budgeting, project management, asset management and communications.
  • Digital asset management. Serves to house all digital asset types, including video, written content and images.
  • Sales asset management. A broad and dynamic category of software-as-a-service offerings that facilitate the management of sales content and tools through a sales portal.
  • Content marketing software.Software that helps define and manage a department or organization’s end-to-end content process.

It is important to note that NO TECHNOLOGY fully solves any of these needs. And orienting yourself around what your needs are helps remove you from vendors’ promises about “doing it all.”

The truth is, these categories are very different, serve different end users, have been implemented at different levels inside B2B organizations and, as markets, are at different stages in their evolution. Web content management, marketing resource management and digital asset management are established categories with new breeds popping up, especially in marketing resource management. Sales asset management and content marketing platforms are newer markets with lots of players emerging. And thinking about content display as a sub-category to content marketing, a lot of people are rethinking how consumers can engage with content. These two are also starting to press the boundaries of what they deliver and could be prime targets for acquisition by other players.

When it comes to varying installations for these categories, you’d be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t have a Web content management system installed. Whether or not a company is running on the latest version or measuring its effectiveness are different stories. But we’re in the relatively early days of the adoption and implementation of sales asset management and content marketing tools.

Chances are that you’re not working from a blank slate when it comes to assessing your content technology ecosystem. Before diving into the technology portion, step back and identify which issues need to be addressed, and prioritize them. A priorities-led approach enables you and your team to cut out much of the background noise that is prevalent in technology discussions. By isolating the technology from the content needs, you can make sure you’re evaluating the most appropriate technologies. Diving in to untangle the mess from the center only adds complexity to the knot.