Content Marketing at Scale: Meeting the Challenge of Big Content

01 Feb

Content Marketing at Scale: Meeting the Challenge of Big Content

Kathleen schaub IDC

Kathleen Schaub                                  
Program Vice President, CMO Advisory & Customer Experience

Read full bio   @kathleenschaub

“Big Content” has arrived. As more of the customer conversation moves online, the challenge has become not just producing great content but producing great content at scale. Chefs in a large restaurant who prepare thousands of four-star meals a day work very differently from family cooks. IDC’s new 4-stage Content Marketing Supply Chain activity framework offers marketing leaders a radically different, more holistic, way of working.

“Big Content”

Content has become ‘Big Content.’ The digital transformation has opened corridors of communication where none existed before. Wherever digital goes, content will be needed. Marketing organizations today must create 10 times as many content assets as previously produced, according to companies IDC has surveyed. Big Content results from the marketer’s mandate to keep up with its customers’ growing demand for personalized experiences and the continued expansion in the number of digital channels for engagement.

Getting ahead of Big Content requires a systems approach

The challenge is no longer just creating great content but rather creating great content at scale. To get ahead of ‘Big Content,’ marketing organizations must dissolve their independent, functional, silos. Content marketing in the future is less like cooking in lots of individual home kitchens and more like the sophisticated operations of a large four-star restaurant. A modular, integrated approach is the only way enterprises can succeed in the always-on world of the self-sufficient, self-direct social buyer.

IDC’s Content Marketing Supply Chain

IDC has designed a new activity framework for content marketing that supports a systems approach similar to a large restaurant. We call it the “IDC content marketing supply chain.” Here are examples of innovation happening at each step.

content marketing at scale IDC

  • Planning – connecting to something bigger: When content is planned for a narrow purpose such as a specific campaign, marketers can define rules as they please. Individuality might make things easier for the marketer. But it doesn’t scale and, from the customer’s perspective, it is perceived as a confusing jumble. Big Content requires that marketers think about how their work contributes to an overall whole. It requires much more upfront preparation, more guidance, and a narrative arc with each content piece performing a specific role that nudges the customer toward deeper engagement.
  • Production – think modular: If you go to a restaurant with a big group, how do you think the staff manages to serve everyone’s individual meals at the same time? Preparation doesn’t start from scratch when your group places its extensive order. To be ready for whatever comes up, restaurant staff doesn’t think of meal preparation linearly, they think modularly. They break apart the work into smaller tasks and rearrange these for maximum agility. For example, large containers of mashed potatoes are waiting until they are needed. Then when someone places an order, they finish the cooking just in time.
  • Publishing – experience happens where content meets context: Think about the publication phase as the place where your content meal is served.  Innovators are shifting their focus from content creation to content experience.  Context changes the way content is experienced, just as there is a big difference between eating a meal in a parking lot and that same meal at a café in Florence.  Cooking a meal for a family requires aligning the menu to a limited context – much like a single channel or a single audience. In today’s multichannel world, however, a single piece of content may be experienced in a multitude of contexts by different buyers.
  • Promotion – build out a “promotable cascade”: The big shift among leading content marketers is the way that they build promotion into the plan from the beginning — rather than making it a detached afterthought. In this approach, content is not thought of as isolated campaign assets (or as line items on a product launch’s “bill of materials”). Instead, it has a long and multi-purpose life.  A typical content cascade typically starts with an inspired piece of unique research. This research is then discussed in various form factors – high-value content tends to be gated while selected bits are open and “snackable”.

A content marketing supply-chain also requires a robust management and measurement operation that allows content strategists, editors, creators, experience managers, and promoters to concentrate on their job – just the way a large restaurant enables their great chefs with people and systems for things like inventory management, recipe control, mise-en-place preparation, and service.

Think like a four-star restauranteur and win at Big Content.

From the IDC report: The Content Marketing Supply Chain: Meeting the Demand for Content Marketing at Scale by Kathleen Schaub and Melissa Webster. (Subscription required)

You can also listen to our complimentary webcast – The Content Marketing Supply Chain: Meeting the Demand for Content Marketing at Scale

For more information about Custom Solutions, or if you have any question or query, please contact Lisa Borthwick

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