Fixing the Marketing Content Lifecycle: Part 1 - Understand the Challenges

I’ve been looking at how organizations in the financial services sector can improve their marketing content lifecycle, (how they create, manage, and deploy their marketing content, and how they measure the results of that content once it’s been deployed). In this two-part post, I’ll first outline the challenges that marketing content presents and what that means for organizations, and then share some ways you can use effective content management to address these challenges to improve your customer experience and drive improved sales.

Challenge #1: Distributed ownership of marketing content

Many financial services firms want to improve the digital publishing process for their marketing content. The problem is that content tends to be created by many different groups or departments, ranging from Marketing and Compliance, to specific lines of business, each group creating its own content. On top of this, the resultant content often gets created or stored in disparate systems, and eventually deployed in different mediums or channels – and all without overall consistency in standards or brand tone. Finally, to compound the problem, at many firms, these disparate groups and departments are also siloed in their attempts to solve this problem, and the result is overspend, redundant solutions and services, and inconsistent standards.

Challenge #2: Large variety in types of content, output and distribution channels

A further complication is the wide variety of types of content used in marketing campaigns – much more varied than the typical unstructured content. Video, web content, audio, images, PDFs, and forms each present their own unique creation, management, and deployment challenges. Additionally, multiple pieces of content are often associated with a single campaign and need to be deployed together and available for future reuse. And the output itself can be varied: Whether it’s physical signage or mailers, web, email, or even a podcast, this presents challenges distinct from what we think of as “traditional” content management.

These challenges tend to manifest in the production or deployment phases of the content lifecycle.

I’ve had a number of discussions with marketing professionals who struggle with these issues on a daily basis, and we found it useful to map out the typical process behind the lifecycle of a marketing campaign. Going chronologically from left to right, the figure below shows the four phases we identified, with a list of the outputs associated with each phase:

In our experience with clients, we’ve seen a lot of time and money spent on the first and fourth phases of this lifecycle (Planning, Measurement), but not nearly enough on the middle two phases (Production, Deployment). That’s understandable, as the challenges there are (arguably) a little less exciting to many service providers. However, Doculabs has extensive experience in both the Production and the Deployment areas – for both marketing content and for more traditional content management.

Our experience has shown that organizations typically struggle with the following issues with respect to content production and deployment:

  • Standards and Guidelines – both for content storage and consistency of brand tone/voice
  • Search/Findability – attaching appropriate and effective metadata to the content
  • Governance – identifying roles and responsibilities and proper workflows and processes
  • Technology – ensuring the right tools or cross-system integrations are in place and identifying redundant systems

Granted, these areas are not easy to address. But I would contend that if you take the time and work with IT to do so, your organization can improve the overall efficiency of the marketing content management lifecycle, while also improving the effectiveness of the content you’re creating.

In the second part of this series, I outline Doculabs’ recommendations for how to tackle this issue, and discuss the specific benefits of addressing the problem head on.

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Rich Medina
Jim Polka
I’m a Principal Consultant. My expertise is in security-based information management and strategic deployment of ECM technologies.