Unfortunately, most content marketing strategies are not developed with the same amount of rigor, effort and resources that are applied to their product strategy counterparts. With the commencement of the content wars and the companies with the best and most effective content, gaining market share, you’d think that more CMOs would pay closer attention. Here are three common areas where content marketing strategies are failing today:

1. Competitive Content: Attack and Shielding Strategies
Less than 1%, of the CMOs that we’ve surveyed, has developed a competitive media calendar and incorporated attack and/or shielding strategies into their overall content strategy. While developing a content strategy that is relevant and engaging with your target audiences, it is equally important to position you content against the competitive set. If you want to grow market share your content marketing strategy needs to cement your thought leadership on the cognitive real estate in the minds of your target audiences.

In B2B marketing you might find your competition conducting a channel webinar series to capture the focus and attention of the channel and dramatically dilute the channel’s efforts on selling your products. What are you doing to do to counter this attempt to monopolize channel sales?

In B2C what’s your strategy when you find out your competition is running a Super Bowl spot and promotion; what will you do to respond? Since over 70% of purchase decisions are made at the point-of-purchase perhaps you put together an aggressive cross-channel content strategy including a strong in-store focus.

In order to win you need to address competitive content threats. The last thing you want to do is let your competition dial-in on a viral loop fueled by content that drives rapid growth at your expense.

The last point on competitive content marketing strategies is attributed to the pop culture prophet – Marshall McLuhen. McLuhen coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” This concept holds true today, more than ever, and requires that you track and understand your competition’s content channels in order to develop competitive content strategies.

2. Content Timing Can Be Everything

As simple as this might sound, most CMOs are flying blind when it comes to executing content at optimal times to maximize reach and engagement. All too often I hear that “we’re going to execute this great webinar series and here are the dates and times.” Then I look at the competitive media calendar and see that three of the webinars conflict with key industry events, holidays or during times of high competitive activity.

In order to compete and improve the effectiveness of your content strategy it is critical that you increase the rigor and resources used to develop and execute. I’d like to think that we’ve evolved beyond “spray and pray,” but it still happens too frequently. No wonder B2B marketers are failing to connect content marketing to business value as described in this Forrester press release published in the Wall Street Journal.

3. Content Depth and Relevance
According to the Forrester press release, “only 14% of those surveyed gave their content marketing practices high marks.” One approach that we frequently see is CMOs relying on their product management organization to team with writers to produce content. Product managers engaging in part-time content marketing doesn’t work. It also takes more than eloquent prose to deliver the depth and relevance required to drive business value. Most content marketing strategies fall short of incorporating expert commentary, emerging trends and high educational value that delivers business value in the form of customer acquisition, retention and lifetime value. Content that has depth and relevance typically has a longer shelf-life and delivers a much greater ROI.

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