What is the number one challenge for communicators? It’s measuring performance.
Each year, PAN Communications surveys more than 100 marketers in order to share best practices and areas of opportunities when developing content marketing strategies in today’s digital world. Similar to our last four years of data, we identified several new challenges that are facing marketers today in our 2017 Content Fitness Report.
Below are the top four challenges and takeaways from this year’s report.
Lack of transparency
One overarching theme is that marketers are losing confidence in their ability to effectively measure content performance. Forty-one percent of our respondents stated that they are currently challenged with proving the value of their efforts and are struggling to use data and analytics to become more predictive. There could be many barriers for marketers attributing to this, including lack of staffing skillset, restrictive budget that doesn’t allow for the proper martech stack, or even time constraints on marketing program analysis.
Measurement and analytics have direct correlation with a personalized customer experience for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Connecting with your audience in a thoughtful and personal way triggers an emotional connection, turning leads and customers into your brand advocates. Connecting the content should be a top priority in 2017—and this group of CMOs feel challenged to look at data and content differently.
Where’s the integration?
While content marketing measurement will be a clear priority for marketers finishing off the year, 57 percent of respondents are not integrating the execution, distribution or optimization of their content. While this was an issue for the marketing department a few years back, it now flows over to the content and the lack of cross-channel impact. Marketers must integrate their PR efforts with their content marketing to ignite cohesive storytelling, drive emotional connections to the brand and build long-lasting loyalty that will fuel revenue growth post purchase. Instead of having separate teams (agencies, in-house, etc.) with different goals and messaging strategies, align these efforts under one roof and make sure storytelling and campaign development are the glue to hold it all together.
The time is now to visualize your content
A proper creative approach keeps cohesive storytelling on track. By integrating creative design, marketers can drive engagement and a deeper emotional connection along their journey. Simple stock images associated with content is no longer a competitive advantage. Marketers now realize the benefits of going beyond that effort by capturing user generated content (voice of the customer), creating infographics, micro-sites, eBooks and the like. This enhanced visual storytelling is much more likely to capture the attention of your intended audience and have a positive outcome with the brand experience.
The learning curve is shrinking
While marketers still stay awake at night worried about disengagement with the brand, we also discovered a significant growth in confidence when figuring out how to deal with their brand’s pace of content across an omnichannel model. With all the new playbooks dealing with account-based marketing (ABM), deploying personalization strategies through content and storytelling remain a top priority. Over the next coming months, we will see marketers becoming more proactive in terms of integrating messaging across channels, and reporting insightful data that will contribute to a smarter and more personalized experience through the pathway to purchase.
One key takeaway—make sure you stay close to the field during the sales effort. Some of these insights could be the most valuable asset to leverage as you try to stay one step ahead of the customer.