Back to the Basics: Marketing with a Strategy

October 14,2014

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released their annual research on the state of content marketing. B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America highlights how far we’ve come in the last 12 months as it relates to the adoption and sophistication of practice in content marketing.

I won’t go into details about the research because Joe Pulizzi and Ann Handley do a nice job in summarizing the research. I do want to point out one aspect of the research and what it means to B2B marketers.

The CMI/MarketingProfs research points out that only 35% of content marketers have a documented strategy. Another 48% say that they have a strategy, it’s just not documented. (The remaining 17% must be wandering around blind.) Are you kidding me? Would your companies accept the “I have a strategy, it’s just in my head” response from your legal team? Accounting? Definitely not. Then why do we think that it’s OK for marketing to do that?

Marketing is the craft of generating awareness and demand for our companies and creating experiences for audiences. Yet we seem to be OK with just winging it most of the time.

There are few companies in which marketing truly has the respect that it deserves – but it probably has the respect that it has earned. This is one profession that continually waits for permission to make an impact or be innovative. Maybe that’s because others don’t trust our judgment. Leaders don’t wing it or sit around for others to give them a green light. They understand why it matters to set a (documented) strategic vision, clearly communicate it and then inspire people to buy-in.

Maybe it’s because we don’t want to be held accountable. A documented strategy points out exactly what the marketing (and content marketing) team thinks will work to contribute to the overall business objectives of a company. That means that marketers need to have a greater understanding of the business in general, and the interconnectedness, influence and impact that marketing has on all of it.  That gets complicated fast.

The days when marketers can show up at work and avoid business and contribution conversations are waning fast. And they should. If marketers wants to be taken seriously within their companies, then they have to take the work that they do seriously.

And that starts with a strategy.

About Carla Johnson

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Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.