4 Challenges and Solutions for Implementing an Enterprise Content Marketing Strategy
By Christina Dong and Rowan Noronha
Effective content marketing is an absolute essential for modern businesses, whether they be Mom and Pop stores or large corporations. Whereas smaller businesses may struggle to implement an effective content marketing strategy due to limited experience and/or resources, enterprise organizations may have the opposite problem: information and expertise “overload,” coupled with a serious lack of coordination.
How can enterprise organizations create and implement a killer content marketing strategy? While there are a ton of moving parts that need to work together for the ultimate success of such an initiative, this article will focus on 4 common challenges that marketers in enterprise-level companies face, and 4 solutions that can yield excellent results.
Challenge #1: Where Do We Start?
In a large company, with so many stakeholders and different levels of management, getting started can sometimes be the hardest part. First of all, depending on the age of the company, a measure of complacency may have already set in: each team in the marketing and sales departments may have developed a form of “tunnel vision” by focusing exclusively on day-to-day tactics instead of an overarching strategic vision.
Additionally, there may be a lot of conflicting ideas as to which objectives should take precedence in a content marketing strategy. Within the marketing department itself there may be quite a few dissonant ideas vying for dominance, and then senior managers and executives often have ideas of their own!
Solution: Create a Flexible but Focused Blueprint
Gather all the key stakeholders together, and spend as much time brainstorming as is necessary to weed out the peripheral goals from the most important strategic objectives for your company. Craft a content marketing plan, or “blueprint,” that focuses on key goals, but allows for a measure of flexibility towards unanticipated future needs and opportunities.
As an example, the creation of buyer personas can be one important aspect of a focused blueprint. Accurate buyer personas can help you to align content around specific customer segments, and pinpoint content gaps within the buyer’s journey.
Challenge #2: How Do We Get Our People On Board?
Okay, you have your content marketing blueprint in place. Now, you need to get buy-in.
However, a common problem arises here. In large companies, the challenge is not only to persuade employees with wide variances in personality, background, training, and career goals to get behind the marketing blueprint, you also have to persuade stakeholders at all levels of the organization. This takes a ton of work, both logistically (setting up meeting times, conference calls, etc.) and psychologically (thinking about your specific audience, preparing lines of reasoning, and tailoring the key message to the stakeholders in front of you).
Solution: Take the Time to Get Buy-in
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for this challenge. You absolutely have to put in the time to get everyone on the same page. Stay alert to how your message is being communicated, as well as how it is being received. Promote the content marketing plan constantly, while keeping your mind open to legitimate concerns. In addition, empower front-line employees with the flexibility needed to make the right decisions in the moment while staying within the bounds of the overall blueprint.
Challenge #3: We’re So Far Behind the Competition, Why Bother?
If you work in a highly competitive market, then you’re well aware of the constant pressure to outperform the competition in all phases of business, and especially in the marketing sector. However, if your competitors have already formulated an exceptional content marketing plan and are successfully implementing it, it is easy to get discouraged and wonder if you’ll ever be able to catch up.
Solution: Leverage the Competition
If you find yourself far behind your competitors, why not look for ways to “hang onto their coattails?” Analyze what is contributing to their success, and then model aspects of your content marketing efforts after those elements. In essence, they’ve already done the work, now you can reap some of the rewards.
On the other hand, carefully consider your competitors’ weaknesses, and search for insights that will help you to avoid their mistakes. For example, think of content that they have not published which would deliver added value to interested consumers. Then you can focus some of your efforts around filling that gap.
Challenge #4: How Do We Overcome the “Silo Mentality?”
The “silo mentality” is, simply defined, “a reluctance to share information with employees of different divisions in the same company.” So even though you may have successfully sold your idea to all the key stakeholders, there may still be a serious lack of unity within the ranks.
Why is the silo mentality so potentially damaging to the implementation of an enterprise content marketing strategy? One reason is that without the free flow of information between departments, opportunities to create exceptionally impactful content may pass by unnoticed. For instance, a salesperson may have a lengthy interaction with a corporate client that complains about the lack of information available on Subject X; however, if the salesperson keeps the gist of that conversation to him or herself, then the marketing department may never focus on generating content to fill the client’s specific need.
Solution: Experiment with Different Internal Communication Methods
To combat the silo mentality, try to determine which communication methods work best in reaching employees across all departments. Then, repeat, repeat, repeat! Repeat your message of intracompany cooperation, and emphasize the benefits of collaboration across all departments and company levels. You may even want to target specific internal groups for special “marketing” on the advantages of working together.
In summary, the process of formulating an effective content marketing blueprint, persuading others to get on board with that blueprint, and then unifying individuals and teams across departments to implement that blueprint can be a long and complicated task, especially within an enterprise-level business organization. However, it can be done; and if done correctly, it can yield exceptional results, such as increased lead generation, enhanced conversion rate, a healthier corporate culture, and ultimately greater profits and sustainable growth.