Strategy & Planning Director
Content marketing has come of age, but how mature is your content marketing operation?
In 2021, content marketing has become the most effective form of digital marketing and 70% of consumers say they prefer to discover new brands through content.
The content marketing maturity model has been honed over ten years working with some of the worlds’ most innovative brands.
This self assessment questionnaire has been developed to help you avoid the content marketing pitfalls many brands fall into, providing crucial advice to help you improve.
Marketing has undergone a complete transformation over the last decade. Gone are the days when marketers could rely on a quick PPC campaign to drive new traffic to their product or service, or even expect significant results from a TV ad when it comes to driving awareness and consideration of their wares.
In 2021, audiences are more sophisticated than ever before, habitually using online technologies to block traditional ads and skipping TV breaks altogether with streaming services. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that today, content marketing has become digital marketing - a recent study by Demand Metric found that 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a company or product from content (either an article or blog post) rather than traditional advertising.
But if content marketing has become the ubiquitous marketing strategy for brands, many organisations still struggle to effectively formalise their approach to content creation and amplification. At iCrossing, we have developed a simple-to-use, online self-assessment tool that allows you to benchmark your organization's level of content marketing maturity in the industry and, crucially, take the necessary steps to improve your entire operation.
Developed over 10 years experience helping our clients optimise their content marketing operations, our strategic model has been tried and tested by some of the world’s most innovative brands. And to help you understand the most common pitfalls faced by many marketing departments, we have broken down these challenges into 5 key areas.
Content marketing is not just about creating some well written blog posts and a handful of great looking social videos. The key to effective content marketing is ensuring all content has a clearly defined purpose and role to play in nudging audiences along a clear customer journey that ends in conversion. And identifying what you want audiences to do at each stage of this journey requires a strategy.
Process is everything when it comes to producing content efficiently and at scale. Too many organisations are creating content in isolated divisional silos that don’t deliver on the needs of the organisation, as a whole. A centralised approach to content production, with organisational buy-in to an agreed approach at the highest levels of your organisation, is crucial if your content is to be truly effective for all areas of the business.
It may sound obvious, but too many brands are still creating content that focuses on what marketing departments want to tell customers, rather than what audiences want to know (or find out). And in order to do this, you have to really understand your audience and their specific needs from your brand or product. By developing strong audience personas and switching your focus to start creating content that is genuinely useful to these prospective customers, as well as providing engaging digital experiences through which they can consume it, audiences will want to return to your brand, time and time again.
Content marketing can only be effective if it is seen by the right audiences, at the moments when they need information from your brand. And to ensure this happens effectively you’ll need to employ paid media tactics to amplify your content at every customer touchpoint, throughout the customer journey. It’s a process that requires constant testing and optimisation to find the right mix of channels and formats, from SEO to paid social, so benchmark, measure, test and optimise should become your content marketing mantra!
Knowing what data to collect and how to measure it is the secret sauce for any content marketing operation. Likes, shares and engagements may be comforting metrics to see, but they don’t really tell you anything about the effectiveness of your content. Truly mature content marketing operations are using technologies like GA, Adobe and social pixels to really understand what audiences do as a result of engaging with your content, so they can make more of the stuff that actually works.
So while sifting through spreadsheets to identify conversion and micro-conversion points may not be glamorous, it is effective, so ditch those vanity metrics and focus on the KPIs that produce real insights.
Our content marketing maturity model ranks organisations' level of maturity through four defined stages.
Ignition: the organisation is creating content but lacks a documented, organisation wide strategy or centralised forum and process for forward content planning. Personas for audiences are not formalised and use of paid media is ad hoc. Results are not measured against clear business objectives or ROI.
Flame: the organisation has a strategy for content, but production is siloed and lacks relevant data inputs to improve effectiveness. Campaigns are amplified but are not generally measured beyond reach and engagement.
Fire: the organisation creates persona driven content, but lacks a clear understanding of customer journeys across digital touch-points. Content is mostly amplified and measured, but reports lack actionable insights for improvement and content consistency varies by platform and territory.
Inferno: the organisation's content strategy is regularly optimised through data-led insights and audience personas are served personalised content experiences, along clearly defined customer journeys. Paid media is used to amplify and optimise content through continual testing and attribution modelling ensures all platforms and formats have a clearly defined purpose.
If you’re looking to tell meaningful stories that spark action from customers, deliver demonstrable ROI, or improve the efficiency of your content creation, then we can help.
We believe that moving too slowly in digital is the biggest risk your business faces. If you are ready to move faster in digital, we are here to help.