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Informing B2B Conversations With Content Curation

By Jun 10, 2013

A whopping 60 to 70% of content produced by B2B marketing firms goes unused, sitting on portal shelves. This means there is a definite imbalance between supply and demand—and a need for content curation.

“There is an oversupply of product centric content, but we are not producing enough content to fuel conversations that buyers and sellers want to have about hot topics and industry trends,” says Erin Estep, service director SCM of Sirius Decisions, speaking at the company’s recent summit in San Diego.  “We need to be producing enough content to feed the demand for thought leadership and provocative selling.”

Content curation should start with ideas and what point you are trying to enable, notes Marisa Kopec, vice president and group director, Sirius Decisions.

The next process is activation, when the content is designed and formats are created in accordance with sales requirements. Next comes curation, where content is customized on factors such language and culture, and benchmarks are set to measure feedback and usage.

There are five key player in the typical content supply chain, says Kopec.

  1. Portfolio – responsible for prioritizing and segmenting audience
  2. Global Campaigns and Programs – including web and social media
  3. Communications – includes corporate marketing
  4. Sales Enablement – responsible for engineering and sales requirements
  5. Field /Marketing – includes regional and local marketing, responsible for adapting content to local requirement

“Portfolio are core content originators, your primary source of content,” says Kopec. “Think of content marketing on two conveyor belts—one built around product-centric content and the other persona-centric, with topics that generate conversation.”

Global campaigns and program are responsible for your primary marketing programs, and they should help think about ways to categorize your content components, says Estep. “Most organizations have a buying and a selling process to support—you need to understand how they intersect and map content to this process.”

At this point, it makes sense to ask your communications team to step up their role, and move from being just a worker bee on the factor line to acting as more of a foreman.

“How a piece of content should be used shouldn’t be an afterthought—worry about that before you create the content,” says Estep.

Sales plays a pivotal role, says Kopec. When sales doesn’t get the content they need from marketing they create their own content, and this can create redundancy and inefficiency

“For sales, you need to develop more audience centric content, things that make them smart when they talk to the customer and enable them to have conversations in the customer’s language, and make them able to demonstrate value customized in the customer terms,” says Kopec.

Field marketing has the role of last mile execution and they are the difference between success and failure, says Kopec. Advocate that a percentage of your content gets created on the local level, to increase optimization.

It can pay to remember, that sometimes, less content can be more. Hardware and software reseller CDW had 20,000 pieces of unmanaged content spread across four portals, with no unified search function, no brand standards and no version control.

CDW created one sales-focused portal that would have “just enough” rather than an overwhelming amount for salespeople. This process included a drastic reduction in content—over 90%.