I recently spent the day with the marketing team of a large international gaming company. Despite having multiple marketing heads (responsible for the various countries they operated in) they faced many problems similar to those experienced by much smaller organizations regarding the allocation of marketing resources.
They were completely sold on developing a robust content marketing strategy delivered via their various blogging channels, email marketing campaigns and social media activities. They wanted to reduce their reliance on paid marketing channels and thus reduce their cost of customer acquisition — but with so many different products and the commercial pressures of running a business in a highly competitive industry (with very little customer loyalty), it was virtually impossible to pull resources from other marketing channels and dedicate enough time to justify a content-led approach.
A Strong and Healthy Pulse
I always compare content marketing output to a healthy pulse. It should be strong and regular. This means taking the time to create and publish a steady flow of content multiple times per week (or in some cases, multiple times per day). Anything less would appear erratic and certainly wouldn’t help drive consistent marketing results.
Find a Hero Product
I suggested that marketing resources would be much more readily available if they first proved the concept behind content marketing by focusing their efforts on one product in one territory. This way, resources aren’t pulled from existing campaigns, and the business continues to operate in a fairly risk-free environment.
Focusing on a “hero” product will give you the perfect platform to test, optimize and analyze results from your marketing efforts against products where content isn’t being deployed.
If you can prove your point with one product, it should be easier to find the commitment to fund additional content marketing resources for all of your other areas of business. It may also give you the confidence to reduce (or even eliminate) spend on some of your more expensive acquisition marketing techniques.
Commit to Content Marketing
Remember, content marketing is a long-term commitment. A handful of posts or a smattering of email campaigns will not return any significant results. This is an ongoing effort, and you are going to need to commit a minimum of six month’s work to see any significant results.
It’s also vitally important that you set clear objectives for your content marketing strategy before proceeding. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you ever know if the campaign has been successful?
Start with something simple — like a percentage increase in organic traffic — and then move on to more “profitable” engagements like driving additional email subscriptions and improving conversions.
It’s also vitally important that you understand your metrics. Anecdotal evidence doesn’t really cut it when you are looking for increased marketing investment.
Build for the Future
Once you have built up a solid library of published content, it will work incredibly hard for you to win and retain new customers.
The more you publish, the more people will find you, and the greater opportunity you will have to drive conversations. Unlike many “paid” marketing channels, where you pay per click or impression, content marketing remains visible and engaged long after the initial investment in its creation.
Find the Time to Be a Hero
While a large organization would almost certainly find it easier to find a content marketing hero in their ranks to dedicate their efforts for creating a cohesive content marketing strategy, smaller businesses might struggle.
If physical resources really are limited — it’s a case of dedicating specific time to an activity. Again, this is not always easy — but with a little planning and a lot of determination, it’s completely possible.
Could content marketing help you reduce your cost of acquisition? How will you prove the concept and roll it out across your wider organization? Share your comments below: