Image adapted from Ximena Salazar's photo at flickr.
Note: This post was originally published at CMSWire.
Lead generation is the most important organizational goal for B2B
content marketing according to 85 percent of the respondents in the
B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends ― North America
report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. What’s
more, 87 percent of respondents identified sales lead quality as the
most important metric used by B2B content marketers.
Given the importance of demand generation to content marketing, what
can we learn from how content marketing and demand generation teams work
together in real-world settings?
We reached out to marketers at three companies, Capterra, a service that helps businesses find the right software solutions, EverString, a SaaS platform that provides predictive marketing solutions and Wrike, an enterprise management and collaboration platform.
The ways in which these companies juggle content marketing and demand
generation turned out to have a lot of similarities. Let’s take a
Separate Reporting Structures
At all three companies, content marketing and demand generation are
handled by separate teams within the marketing organization. Each team
reports to the head of marketing.
According to Rachel Burger (@RaylieBurger),
B2B Content Marketing Specialist at Capterra, "Marketing and content
are considered two separate teams at Capterra. The content team reports
to the director of content, whereas demand generation and marketing
associates report to the director of marketing. Our two team leads then
collaborate to make sure both teams are operating smoothly."
Dayna Rothman, (@dayroth)
Director of Content Marketing and Inbound at EverString, describes a
similar reporting structure. According to Rothman, "I report directly
into our VP of marketing. Our director of demand generation does as
well, so we are peers."
For Tom Treanor, (@RtMixMktg)
Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Wrike, "We have a
content marketing team that works closely with the demand generation
team. Jointly, we work to make sure that our content, social, SEO and
demand generation efforts all line up to maximize the value of each
investment or effort."
Sharing a Mission
With 85 percent of B2B content marketers saying that lead generation
is their most important goal, it’s a given that content marketing and
demand generation have a shared mission: leads, pipeline and revenue.
According to EverString’s Rothman, "We believe that demand generation
and content are essentially [joined] at the hip. The quarterly planning
and brainstorming happens together. We think through the numbers that
we need to hit, the content themes that we want to run, the content that
we want to create and the programs that will get us to our goals."
How to Make Your Content Marketing Stand Out from the Crowd
By Dennis Shiao
For these content marketers, it’s essential to involve their demand
generation teams during the planning process. Getting input from them
early translates to generating maximum return from the content that’s
According to Treanor from Wrike, "If you start planning based on
shared goals and encourage joint ideation, you’ll have better results.
If the teams work in silos and plan independently, you’ll sub-optimize,
look disjointed in the eyes of your prospects, and waste time
Shared Team Goals
Within marketing at all three companies, there are shared team goals.
Those shared goals center on revenue, along with the key factors
driving it such as qualified leads and software trials. EverString’s
Rothman also notes that, "My team has additional goals around brand
awareness, community engagement and even employee participation in
At both Wrike and Capterra, the teams use a goal setting system called Objectives and Key Results (OKR). According to a Wrike blog post,
OKR is "a planning and goal setting technique made famous by Intel and
Google. OKRs represent aggressive goals and define the measurable steps
[to] take towards achieving those goals."
How does Treanor’s team manage its OKRs? Using Wrike, of course.
"Tactically, we use our [in-house] collaboration and project management
tools to document the OKRs, collaborate on them, [take action on them]
and track results," notes Treanor.
Commenting on her team’s use of OKRs, Burger notes, "Capterra relies
on an Objective and Key Results system similar to that of Google’s. The
marketing and content leads work together to make sure that our goals
don’t contradict one another."
Project Management and Coordination
As organizations grow, it can become challenging for teams to stay in
sync, given differing timeframes. For example, while content marketing
works on eBooks and webinars for the next quarter, demand generation is
managing concurrent campaigns to hit the current quarter’s targets.
Of course, the more projects that are in play, the greater the
likelihood becomes that something will slip through the cracks. As
EverString’s Rothman relates, "Things just sometimes get lost. An asset
gets published by the content team, and then what? How does demand
generation know that an asset gets published? In many organizations,
they do not."
Rothman addresses this challenge with a content specialist on the
team "who is in charge of coordinating with the program managers, making
sure that they understand the asset messaging and ensuring that the
programs that demand generation runs are the right programs."
RELATED: View our on-demand webinar, "Why You Can't Do Content Marketing Without a CMS."
Tom Treanor will be happy to know that the EverString team recently
deployed Wrike. "By implementing Wrike, both the content and the demand
generation teams have their own workspaces and workflows but they are
more connected and visible," noted Rothman.
Rothman is a firm believer in allocating resources to coordinate the
flow of information within marketing. "I feel that the role of content
project manager will really start becoming a necessity for many
organizations. [Coordination] is a critical issue that most companies
are having trouble solving," said Rothman.
How does Wrike use its own software for project management? According
to Treanor, "We put each major campaign in its own folder in Wrike.
Within that folder we’ll build out all of the work streams that are
required to achieve the goals and we’ll assign leads and inform relevant
stakeholders. Leadership can proactively check in on the project or
wait until they’re informed via an @mention. Housing all of the campaign
information, assets and planning in one system allows us to keep
everyone informed as the campaign rolls out."
Go Team, Go
Often, the success of a marketing team is contingent on the success
of the sales function. If sales is able to close the qualified leads
generated by marketing, then everyone wins and both teams are happy.
Similarly, the success of a content marketing team is determined by the
effectiveness of demand generation campaigns that utilize their
Quality content can lead to qualified leads, which can lead to sales.
It sounds simple, but as we now see, there’s a lot that goes on behind
the scenes. As the teams we interviewed show, it’s vital for content
marketing and demand generation to share the same mission, goals and key
project management tools to keep the teams in perfect harmony.
Go teams, go. New business awaits!
Check out our ten quick tips on content marketing. Hope you find them useful!
10 Quick Tips for More Effective Content Marketing from DNN