The New Way: Integrated Marketing
Content spans across the entire marketing organization—that’s why integration across marketing teams and functions is critical to its success. Unfortunately, many B2B organizations struggle to unify their efforts. B2B marketing expert and author, Ardath Albee, agrees:
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“For my clients, the most common challenge is lack of cross-functional buy-in and silos of teams hanging on to control of their perceived turf. The problem with this is that we’re supposed to be sharing a united story with our buyers and customers. It’s hard to get this right when teams are off doing their own thing without visibility or coordination with others who are interacting with the same audience.” – Ardath Albee
With an integrated marketing approach, formerly siloed teams align to one strategy, create core content material that can be reused and repurposed across channels, and measure performance in a unified way. Instead of teams chaotically trying to fill their channels to meet obscure vanity metrics, the organization works symbiotically to fulfill the needs of the highest priorities.
Under the integrated marketing model, all functions and teams align to a common central strategy created by the marketing leadership team. In alignment with this common strategy, core content material is created, usually a large asset like an eBook, which teams can then draw from to support their own initiatives. (This is called the content pillar, which we’ll explain in more detail in the next section.)
Security Company X wants to reach the CIO with a message about the dangers of security fraud.
Building Your Defenses Against the 5 Most Common IT Security Attacks
Focus on each defense strategy featuring quotes from well-known CIOs and links to download the eBook
Lead Nurture Emails
Ask the Expert video interviews based on quotes from the eBook
Series of three webinars, applying the strategies featured in eBook
When the marketing organization works in an integrated way, no one team is solely responsible an initiative. For example, the eBook above above requires input from various roles within marketing. Product marketing might be responsible for researching the most common problems that the product solves. Demand generation might offer insight into what themes have historically performed well. Social and field marketing may offer suggestions based on what they’re hearing and seeing in the field. Corporate communications is then responsible for the final deliverable, aggregating the collective knowledge into themes and a corporate-centric messaging.
Using this outline, teams within the marketing organization can prioritize their work according to the initiatives set by the leadership team and eliminate work that isn’t aligned to the strategy. Furthermore, performance data can be more consistently collected and tied back to the core strategy. The marketing organization as a whole can learn how initiatives impact the entire buyer’s journey, versus the old way, when each team worked in a silo to deliver their own messages and experiences to the customer.
The result is that the entire organization is aligned to the same strategy, uses the same core content material (the content pillar), ensures the consistent execution of the strategy, and creates a unified customer experience. Through centralized planning and the reuse and reworking of large content assets like eBooks, content is created more strategically, resulting in more efficient production and less content waste.
The Content Pillar Model
A content pillar is a substantive, informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme that can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of potential content pillars include eBooks, reports, white papers, a product launches, and guides.
In the content pillar model, core content material like an eBook is created and then reused and repurposed into many formats in order to satisfy the needs of different channels in a unified way. This approach keeps teams from creating silos by giving them access to major content themes so they can publish relevant material to their channel and follow through on the executive strategy.
The content pillar model enables marketers to create content that can be deployed at every stage of the funnel. A single pillar can create more than 200 assets that will help drive traffic, convert prospects, and meet customer needs. Using the content pillar model, B2B marketing teams can easily produce and reuse content to engage buyers on specific and unified themes.
Using the example from the previous section, under the content pillar model, an eBook is created identifying the most pressing problem and offering a new solution. Using that content, derivative channel- or stage-specific assets can be created.
Content Pillar: Mobile Security eBook
10 blog posts on theme
60 social media updates (6 per post)
3 guest posts to select partner outlets
5 videos (interviews with experts)
5 YouTube videos (uploaded videos)
5 blog posts (one for each video)
30 social media updates (6 per video)
1 infographic (on data collected for eBook)
6 social media updates promoting infographic
1 blog post with embedded infographic (6 social media updates)
1 guest post with embedded infographic (2 social media updates)
1 SlideShare presentation (uploaded infographic)
1 landing page (gating the eBook)
10 social media posts promoting landing page
1 blast email promoting eBook download
1 landing page (for registration)
10 social media updates
1 presentation deck
3 emails (invitation, reminder, follow-up)
2 promotional blog posts (12 social media updates)
1 video recording of presentation (1 blog post with video embed)
3 emails for nurture campaign from eBook download
3 emails for nurture campaign from webinar registration
2 customer case studies
4 blog posts (2 per case study)
12 social media updates (3 per case study)
1 product sheet on mobile security solution
1 sales deck on mobile security solution
1 product video on mobile security solution
1 internal selling deck for sales prospects
1 onboarding video
1 welcome email
This approach helps marketers across all teams and functions leverage existing content to feed their channels, keeping teams aligned to the same message and core strategy while providing a cohesive story throughout the buyer’s journey.
Download our Blueprint to a Modern Marketing Campaign for more ways to implement the content pillar.