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From the Trenches

The Business Case for Centralizing Your Content Marketing Program

Mike Sweeney | October 25, 2018

The word is out: A solid content marketing program is no longer a nice-to-have for businesses that want to succeed today. The Content Marketing Institute reports that content marketing can generate three times more leads and costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing. But such a significant return on investment is only possible if you have an efficient system set up to streamline your efforts.

If your company is like most, you employ a wide range of multi-departmental teams, full-time marketers, freelancers, and agencies to support your content marketing efforts.

But I would argue that decentralization is at the root of why many companies are throwing all of their resources at content marketing programs but not seeing results. When no one person or entity owns content marketing, it’s every department for itself — and as a result, you hear cries like these from across the organization:

The issue with these requests is a lack of cohesion. Every department and function of a business depends on content, but when your efforts don’t have a clear leader, creating content that consistently supports the customer journey and converts is simply impossible. Instead, you’ll find that misaligned strategy, inconsistent messaging, and duplicated efforts begin to threaten your brand and bottom line.

So what’s the solution? You’ve probably heard the philosophical line of reasoning called Occam’s Razor: the simplest solution is likely the best one. And in many cases, the simplest — and best — solution is to centralize your content marketing efforts. Centralizing your content marketing program can help ensure that all departments’ needs are met and goals are aligned with the company’s overall mission. Here are just a few tangible benefits of centralizing your content marketing program:

1. Close More Deals with Better Sales-Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment has become a favorite buzzword of marketing, sales, and business thought leaders today, and for good reason. Companies with closely aligned sales and marketing teams close higher volumes of better deals, faster.

Source

But marketing and sales alignment doesn’t end once you’ve mutually defined terms like MQL, SQL, and SAL. True marketing and sales alignment is about maintaining a consistent narrative and value proposition from the top of the funnel to customer onboarding and into retention.

That’s why a decentralized content marketing program creates significant barriers to true alignment. When a content marketing program has no singular owner and there are many different groups creating content to serve individual goals, messaging gets muddied. And when marketing efforts aren’t consistent with sales and business development goals, it is impossible to deliver the kind of experiences your customers demand today.

In a centralized content marketing program, the flow of content between sales and marketing often looks like this:

Source

You can see how this centralization naturally promotes sales enablement through content. It meets the needs of both departments and creates consistency between the product or solution your marketing team evangelizes and the story your customers hear from sales.

But remember, this won’t work if you’re already dealing with a dysfunctional or unequal relationship between sales and marketing leadership. Nobody wins when marketing bows down to sales and turns everything into self-serving, sales-collateral-that-no-one-wants-to-read content.

2. Waste Fewer Resources

Establishing a single-owner content marketing structure and reducing the amount of people responsible for content planning and creation often leads to long-term cost savings. Rather than allowing multiple departments to plan, produce, and promote content (which can quickly drive up costs and duplicate work), a central owner can help prioritize requests and better manage resources.

Many companies overlook the real cost of full-time employees who dedicate a portion of their time to content marketing when exploring centralization. Sure, your junior marketing manager may have the bandwidth to write another blog post per month, but their efforts are likely to be unsuccessful without the centralized, strategic guidance. And what aren’t they working on while they are busy writing content that likely won’t prove out ROI?  When I talk about long-term cost savings, it’s critical to consider not just outsourced dollars, but to think about all of the dollars being spent inside the company, as well.

And marketers in the trenches agree that a centralized team serves long-term business goals: 76 percent of marketers believe they could increase ROI and brand lift by two to five times with an expert team producing strategic, high-quality content.

3. Get integrated reporting that drives strategy

When content marketing is siloed by content producer or department, each individual activity gets reported on in a vacuum. This can give you insights on the ROI of individual content marketing attempts, but fails to offer you the big picture of how your content is performing and influencing your business and growth.

Imagine the strategic decision-making potential resulting from reports and data that tell the entire story instead of individual content performance, like the occasional open rate of an individual marketing email or how many times an eBook was used during sales conversations.

The bottom line is you need to be able to see how all the pieces fit together and how they are impacting your business. Based on those factors, savvy content marketers will heavy up in one area, and reduce or even remove time and money from another area.

Learn more on what to measure and why here.

Centralize to see results and win

Centralizing a content marketing program can be a substantial undertaking, but it is critical to see the kind of results businesses expect from marketing in today’s environment.

Learn how to grow your business and boost your return on content marketing in our eBook!

About Mike Sweeney:

As managing partner and chief strategy officer for Right Source, Mike Sweeney is responsible for all content marketing initiatives, including growing the company’s content marketing practice, guiding all client content marketing strategy, and recruiting and growing a team of modern marketers. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame. You can find Mike on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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