March 30, 2016

In Case Your 1Q16 Wasn't All It Could Be: Follow These Trends to a Successful 2Q

Thanks to a Curata infographic, some of the guesswork has been taken out of your content marketing strategy for the rest of the year.

The content marketing software company has compiled marketing predictions from experts in the field to give leading-edge companies a leg up on their competitors, essentially laying the foundation for a profitable second quarter.

Before you get too excited, though, understand that the underpinnings of your content marketing strategy must be securely in place before you can implement the ideas described in the infographic.

For instance, under “organizational structure,” the infographic shows that content marketing teams will continue to grow as more and more companies realize that content is central to their businesses. It also offers insight from Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion, who says that marketing departments are beginning to take the lead in actual sales, ahead of sales teams. For these predictions to come true for your organization, a few things must have taken place first, as follows:

  • Your sales and marketing departments have resolved their differences and their missions are aligned. Together, these business units have crafted a clear strategy for going to market.
  • Pricing and product features are transparent to buyers. This is critical because today’s buyers complete nearly 60 percent of the sales cycle before talking to a rep. This helps buyers qualify your solution and reach out only if there is a fit, leading to higher-quality leads.
  • Marketing delivers qualified leads to sales at regular intervals. Otherwise, the bottom line suffers, the sales-marketing alignment crumbles and morale takes a dive.
  • Short sales cycles are the norm. Data-driven agile campaigns have replaced year-long marketing plans, allowing for quick adaptation based on sales feedback.
  • Marketing stays involved in the entire sales process, helping sales reps tackle prospects’ concerns and move them down the sales funnel.

Further along, under “investment,” the infographic shows that organizations are digging into their coffers to support content marketing, which has been cited as a major driver for sales-ready leads. But as we all know, several pieces of the content marketing puzzle must be in place before your company can be assured of a solid return on investment. Some of these “pieces” are:

  • You know your customer inside and out, and you’ve verified a market fit for your products and services based on research. This means you’ve developed buyer personas to target your customer base; you’re familiar with the problems your key audience is trying to solve.
  • Your brand voice and presence is consistent across multiple channels. Your brand has achieved the same look and feel on every outreach platform you use so that the customer experience is consistent from your website to social media to print ads.
  • A documented content marketing plan is in place that includes all major stakeholders. Everyone from your creative people to your IT staff has been sold on the effectiveness of the plan.
  • If you lack the internal resources to implement your content marketing strategy, you have outsourced the content creation process to a content marketing vendor.
  • You’ve collected data to determine which channels to leverage in your campaigns. You’ve also established goals for your marketing plan and the metrics you’ll use to measure outcomes.

Once you have the basics covered, consider ways to take advantage of other trends mentioned in the infographic. For example, try diversifying your content into categories such as video and interactive content to drive greater engagement with your brand. Also think about using earned and paid media to lure consumers to your sites—another 2016 trend.  

While the infographic draws a map to the future of content marketing for those who want to get ahead, have all your ducks in a row before attempting to scale these new heights. 

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