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I’m starting to see a lot of frustrated CMOs. There was a time not too long ago, when digital marketing seemed simple. Or at least simpler. Put together some content that looks like what you did last year. Optimize it for search. Email it around. Tweet it. That should get it done.

But it really doesn’t.

There is just too much competition out there now. You can’t just dial it in and think that’s good enough. We’ve been hearing for years that the answer is higher quality. And in some sense, that’s correct.

But you can’t just tell the content teams to create higher quality content. It’s kind of like telling your sales force to make better sales calls. You can’t just sit around waiting for your content teams to “catch on.”

There are three things that most content teams need that they don’t have:

  • Training. Not every team needs the same training, but I usually find that they are missing some of the skills needed to catch on. Sometimes they need updates in digital skills, but often they need to really understand the company’s clients better, or the company’s strategy better. Too often we take for granted that people have the skills to do it right, but often they don’t.
  • Metrics. Most people want to do the right thing, but they don’t know if what they did actually worked. That’s because we don’t give them the numbers they need to keep score. We have lots of numbers, but we act as though everyone should know where to find them, how to put them together, and how to interpret them. They often don’t.
  • Knowledge. No, this isn’t the same as training. It’s more tactical, more task-oriented, and more ephemeral. When the numbers aren’t what you want them to be, what tip do you need to know for what to try next?

I could just end this post here–another complaining “no one knows what they are doing” post. But that’s not good enough. That realization has changed the way that I work with clients.

So, still do training and consulting. I still tell them what I think they should do, but I also help them define their strategy. I set up software that gets them the numbers to improve the exact problems they are struggling with, and I give them a knowledge base that helps them to improve the numbers they don’t like. Each individual team can see how they are doing–not just as part of the whole. Surprise- those teams are starting to catch on.