Content Marketing Strategy – Building for the Long Game

Tactics before strategy continues to be a key challenge for organisations and their CMO’s to address for 2018 according to the latest CMO survey:

Elements of the CMO survey suggested an ongoing disconnect between how CMO’s regard their digital channels.

The report also suggests there is a growing trend for CMO’s to look for the “quick wins” (by addressing the more tactical elements of digital), continuing to operate digital channels in silo’s and measuring performance through vanity metrics, rather than taking an integrated, longer term approach.

Here are a few of the key highlights:

  • An apparent lack of progress in social media not being integrated into the wider marketing strategy of organisations
  • 45% of respondents could not demonstrate a measured impact of social media on their business
  • Decline as to how organisations integrate customer information across purchasing, communication and social media channels – this suggests there is a lack of customer feedback steering what messages are used across marketing channels used by the organisation

Adam Fraser, founder of EchoJunction, a marketing and social media podcast, also highlighted this report in a recent article ( with a summary of the key challenges expected for 2018:

“One reason performance is lagging may be because companies remain focused on digital strategies, not on building a digital marketing organisation….it means embedding digital marketing activities to transform how the organisation operates, including its’ culture and how it makes decisions”

And it’s going to become more of a challenge for organisations as they address and adjust their marketing strategy to decide where budgets are to be spent moving into 2018, specifically in addressing the rise in Content Marketing as it begins to take centre stage in an organisations strategy:

  • Content Marketing Institute suggest that suggested that 70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 yet only 37% of B2B marketers have documented strategy in place”.
  • Econsultancy claimed that the top B2B digital priority for 2017 was Content Marketing (37%)


The Trough of Disillusionment

But at the same time, Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute stated that content marketing was currently residing in the “trough of disillusionment” – a phrase coined by Gartner and referenced within their annual Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing whitepapers and more information can be found here:

The cycle reveals the key forces that are driving the evolution of marketing and advertising technologies and are categorised into five separate categories. For content marketing, it finds itself in the “trough of disillusionment”, defined as where market dynamics have changed….for something to move into the Trough is a maturation process.

“Customer experience, customer retention and growth were also identified, according to Gartner, as the most vital strategies to support marketing outcomes over the next 18 months”. What the 2018 CMO survey clearly identified was an apparent lack in understanding how digital channels can work and compliment one another to not only support organisational growth but also pull the customer to the centre of the organisation.

These three insights fall perfectly into a content driven approach by organisations looking to transform and remain relevant moving into 2018. But there clearly is work to do in better educating how and what a content strategy approach really means for success.

Content Marketing is not:

  • A campaign based approach to your marketing efforts – spending time building our product/or subject specific campaigns that address a departments need or outlook on what should be promoted
  • Not addressing the needs of the customer – Exercising a campaign that drives more and more content from the voice of the organisation
  • Spray and Pray – A scattergun approach in promoting anything to anyone so long as it gets seen by any means?!
  • Shiny Tactic Syndrome – jumping from the latest tactic to the next tactic but with little thought to how it will be measured and monitored

To address the current view of content strategy, a more mature organisational led approach needs to be defined by addressing the role of a content led approach – are you building your content approach for pleasure or happiness?

These two words may be the fundamental reason why your content approach is not meeting the needs of your organisation and more importantly your audience.

Taking inspiration from Author Robert Lustig, his most recent book, Lustig  discusses how “Pleasure is short lived, happiness is long lived; pleasure is visceral, happiness is ethereal, pleasure is taking, happiness is giving”

Pleasure seeking is the instant hit to make you feel better, it’s short term and addictive. For content marketing it could be the reason content marketers measure vanity metrics not connected to the wider organisation but measured in the channel the content is being promoted through

So applying this view to your content marketing approach, we could begin to apply this theory as to the important themes to consider for your content strategy as to how it is measured and supports your business


As your organisation moves into 2018, now is the perfect time to address and audit what your content strategy is and how it’s supporting your organisational wider objectives to support a longer term strategy or is it rather being measured on short term, quick win, vanity metrics that are not aligned?

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