The Digital and Content Team: Is Splintering a Verb?
In last month’s blog post, I discussed the ideal demand generation group structure and exactly which functions are best centralized within. In this post we will explore the organization of a digital and content team, while touching upon Web designers, producers and other digital properties.
How you do organize your firm's content and website? Is your website appropriately categorized as content and managed out of this group?
The Digital and Content Group
The charter of a digital and content group might look something like this:
Create compelling content to drive higher customer and prospect engagement, resulting in more qualified leads for sales. In addition, we will create a fluid customer experience, whether it is through inbound or outbound communications, to create one company feel.
Notice the word “engagement” in there? Companies are spending up to 30 percent of their marketing budgets on content and many have no clue if said content is actually engaging their prospects and customers. Are you measuring the level of engagement with each piece of content you produce today?
The digital and content group is the source of fuel for the demand generation engine. The group builds a roadmap based on input from the subject-matter experts (SMEs), product marketing, sales, requirements gathered from the demand generation team, field marketing and other marketing teams.
If you agree with my premise that the website is content, and as such belongs in the group where content for other media is created, then we arrive at an organizational crossroads. Do the search-, display- and paid-traffic gurus (or agencies) who are traditionally tightly linked to the website designers and producers also belong in this group? Or, since their function is really demand generation, do they splinter from their website production comrades and move into the demand generation group? I won’t rehash what I said in the last post on this, but suffice it to say most organizations have kept them in the same group — at least for now. So the organization chart probably looks like this:
As marketing organizations shift toward building omnichannel campaigns in order to give prospects and customers a consistent multichannel experience, the inbound team is forced ever-closer to the marketing automation team in the demand generation group. If you leave your inbound and social team in the digital and content group, ensure they develop a very tight relationship with the demand generation team, as they will be working together more and more.
The Traffic Manager
I’m going to digress for a minute here, but I assure you this will have implications for the organization of the content group. Let’s talk about the life of an asset — a piece of content. You find an SME in the firm to write up a nice whitepaper (WP) and you put it on the website and you’re done, right? Not so fast …
- Develop the core content and produce the first asset (a WP, for example).
- Write a blog post to promote the WP.
- Write email copy to promote WP with outbound email channel.
- Write landing page (LP) copy.
- Write ad copy if you are going to do some display ads or paid search to promote WP.
- Get a creative designer involved to add the graphics and images for all of the above …
But wait, now that you have the development and creative for one asset done, there’s more to do. You have to plan out all the campaigns in all the channels for support: email, blog, paid search, display ads and social-promoted posts.
And we haven’t even begun to talk about splintering this fine piece of core content into tweets, infographics, bylined articles, Slideshare, etc. (Someone will need to coordinate all of these things so that the LP is live with the WP before the blog is published, the display ad is created and ready right after the LP is live, etc. This is where the role of the traffic coordinator comes in. End digression.)
There are multiple “campaigns” here through various channels, which may well use project managers for each (e.g., one for social, one for outbound, one for the website). It makes sense to have a traffic manager who organizes the development of all assets related to the core content. This person coordinates with all the channel specific campaign project managers to ensure the promotions and campaigns all go live on time. Traffic management isn’t just for agencies anymore, and it is more work around a single piece of core content than you imagine. It is also an area of specialization in which many campaign project managers lack skills.
The Content Strategist
What assets will drive engagement in Korea, but not work so well in France?
The content strategists engage with sales, field marketing and the demand generation team to understand criteria for successful customer engagement. The content strategist combines the requirements from the disparate groups, adds their knowledge of the market segments, revenue targets and media trends, and produces a roadmap for content that will result in the greatest results for the business. They understand personas and buying cycles, as well as their markets and their products.
Additionally, the content strategist is an expert at determining what message is best delivered through which media, what is the right mix of freemium and premium content on the website, and what mix of tools, templates and research reports should be created.
The blog is also content. Is your blog more about content or more about being a channel in your mind? How do you leverage that content for greatest effect? Can you leverage a product like GrapeVine6.com to help you channel externally created relevant content to your prospects through your sales reps? My point is, if you don’t already have a content strategist, you need one.
The Digital and Content Group Budget
In my ideal world, the funding for content development would come from the folks who have a revenue number in their goals: sales, the demand generation group, field marketing, product line managers, etc. This content group would excel at:
- Knowing how to create compelling content.
- Driving consistent company and product messaging and positioning.
- Engaging personas.
- Knowing which media are best for delivering which message.
- Spending their limited content budget to achieve maximum effect.
- Splintering content from one medium into multiple pieces for reuse.
But the editorial calendar and budgetary decisions have to be strongly driven by the people who most need the content: sales, demand generation and field marketing. These three groups should not be in the position of trying to figure out how to use what the content group in HQ decided to produce. The three groups should be placing orders and getting exactly what they need to engage market segments. After all, they have a revenue number in their goals.
Here are some ideas and priorities for organizing and leading a digital and content group for success in 2017:
- Decide on the charter for the digital and content team.
- Leave SEO/SEM folks close to the Web designers/producers for now.
- Identify SMEs throughout the firm and get core content creation put into their job description and quarterly MBOs (management by objective).
- Set up systems to measure engagement with your existing content.
- Define the role of traffic manager.
- Define the role of content strategist.
- Gather requirements from sales/channels, demand generation and field marketing.
- Be agile: Produce a three- to six-month calendar, but no more.
- Splinter (yes — it’s also a verb) content to the maximum.
In the next post along our revenue marketing journey, we will discuss the five core marketing processes fundamental to successful revenue marketing. Please feel free to share your insights on these topics in the comments section below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more insights on the detailed responsibilities of the roles described above, download TPG’s white paper: Center of Excellence: Digital and Content Team.
Kevin Joyce is VP of strategy services for The Pedowitz Group. He's a marketing executive with 34 years of experience in high tech, in positions in engineering, marketing, and sales. In the past 16 years Mr. Joyce has worked with many companies on their revenue marketing and demand generation strategies. With a unique combination of marketing skills and sales experience he helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing.
Mr. Joyce has successfully launched numerous products and services as a Director of Product Marketing at Sequent, as a Director of Sales at IBM, as Vice President of Marketing at Unicru, and as CEO at Rubicon Marketing Group. He has been VP of Marketing Strategy with the Pedowitz Group for more than six years. He holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a MBA from the University of Portland. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com. Download TPG’s new white paper: "TPG ONE: A New Approach to the Customer Journey."