Breaking down silos — no herding cats anymore

Christian Gericke, CRO at smartwork solutions GmbH @cgericke

In my last blog post, I spoke about siloed content caused by silos within an enterprise. Moreover, about the guy who is on the hook to drive the business, generate leads and protect the brand. In most organisations they call him the Chief Marketing Officer or CMO.

He is focused on the connected, consistent customer journey.

Yeah, this feels like herding cats — an attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic.

Because in a larger organisation, everyone creates content. Sometimes people do not even know that this content ends up being customer facing. Some folks in Support writing some messages in support systems — but is it necessarily on brand and on target?

Let’s break down the customer journey — by internal departments.

Who is actually responsible for the content out there for each step of the journey?

We mapped out the different content types — this may not be valid for all companies and all business models but will give you an idea.

However, who is creating all the different content pieces??

These could be the content contributors for all the content. This might not be your reality but think about it.

WOW! This looks complex, right?

Many departments, internal and external content contributors! And these are just the general steps of the customer journey — we are not talking about personas here and not how to address them properly.

Or translation for that matter… My friend Val Swisher of Content Rules wrote an excellent piece about “TRANSCREATION: ADAPTING TRANSLATED CONTENT FOR EFFECTIVENESS” :

“Transcreation is a content development process in which content is created–and customized–for a particular culture, in a particular language, or for a particular region. Transcreated content is not translated from a source; it is a source. It does not necessarily exist in any other language.

Remember these two main points when adapting translated content:

  • Done well, transcreated content evokes the desired emotional response in cases where the original expression of emotion might not translate.
  • Employees all over the world are already transcreating content. They just haven’t told you.”

So herding cats, right?

Back to our CMO.

Gartner says in their “CMO Spending survey 2016” that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs.

  • Marketing Budgets Grew by Nearly 10% Over The Last Year
  • Marketers Spend One-Third of the Expense Budget on Technology
  • Digital Commerce, Social, Marketing Analytics and Customer Experience Are Top-Ranked Areas of Investment
  • Customer Experience Is the New Competitive Battlefield

Talking about technology, Scott Brinker of ChiefMarTec analysed this space over the last couple of years and documented this massive increase of technology out there.

So again!? What does it all boil down to?

Spend more money on techology? Kill the bird with two or many stones?!

Here are 3 tips to start:

Tip #1: Collaborate

It is an uphill battle for sure. But you need to start creating a collaborative culture around content creation.

Your global content strategy only works if you work together. How about a content advisory group with stakeholders from various departments and product lines to share advocacy in a centralized strategy?

And you need tools to support this. Easy to use, internally and externally and open for everyone. You also need to align your tone of voice and your terminology aka your words and phrases with your brand. This could be enforced and users should get guidance.

Tip #2: Take the customer perspective

But don’t overdo this. Even if your sales team tells you that there are fifty different types/ persons/ beasts which are buying your solution, forget it! There is no way of addressing all of them. This is just not actionable! And you won’t have the resources for execution or you won’t get them from upstairs. You simply can’t prove that this is working. And this leads me to Tip #3.

Tip #3: Use objective data

Is your content really working? Do you know it only after the fact? How can you know if your marketing team is pushing the right buttons if you aren’t testing it? Testing your existing content can provide quantitative insights into what works for your target audience and what doesn’t.

Don’t stop at the obvious metrics:

  • Web traffic/visits
  • Views/downloads
  • Lead quantity
  • Social media shares

Try to identify which initiative actually drove MQL to the top of the funnel. And discuss the quality of the leads with your sales team.

Yeah, you might think now, this is only for large corporations — here is a nice overview of articles how to measure success.

Bruce Springsteen once said:

“Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”

Period!