How to raise your content game, lower your costs and free your firm from chaos
Marketing departments in technology firms have long been notorious for turnover. It’s challenging in the best of times to find and retain skilled communicators that take tech-based innovations, products and services, and communicate their value to (and in some cases through):
- Prospects and customers
- Sales partners
- Media outlets
- Internal sales and service teams
Since the pandemic began, the notoriously high level of turnover in marketing departments, a top-down challenge (the typical CMO stays at any one company for just 41 months and 18 months is not uncommon in the tech space), has reached a fever pitch.
This reality has led many smaller and midsized tech companies to adopt a strategy long employed by their larger counterparts – turning to specialty agencies with technology marketing chops for turnkey content marketing operations. Here are six big benefits of doing so.
Your content marketing becomes reliable
The best content-led tech marketing agencies are helmed by experts with significant tech journalism and media management experience. You get two vital benefits from leveraging that expertise:
- You get direct relief at your pain points. They are proven experts in learning about tech, finding its value and communicating that value to your audiences. All technology firms struggle mightily to pull this off internally for two reasons. First, few skilled communicators can quickly absorb new technology concepts and translate them in ways that matter to relevant stakeholders. Second, keeping those people is as difficult as finding and training them. All in, you’re never ahead of the game and always playing catch up. (See our discussion of how your content improves below.)
- Your messaging and marketing get done. Tech industry communications experts that have gone to the “dark side,” as the leap from journalism to marketing is affectionately known in the industry, come from a world of relentless, inflexible, multichannel deadlines. They know how to plan, adequately resource, produce and franchise high-value content across your entire ecosystem with precision that simply doesn’t exist outside of teams with their experience levels.
Since content that connects and converts is the lynchpin in all aspects of marketing, the ability to deliver both content and production expertise to your marketing efforts is genuinely transformative. In other words, they provide the same value to your firm that you deliver your clients – products, services and expertise that solves your problems, relieves your teams and allows you to focus on business development and strategic imperatives.
Your tech marketing will connect and convert
Before we dig into this benefit, there’s a caveat that comes with it. We’re assuming that you’re working with a content-first agency. This means that, instead of filling a platform or calendar (or, as often is the case, both) with a simple topics list, an expert team of communicators develops high-value content and franchises it to all of your stakeholders. As your team undoubtedly has discovered, this is a much larger and more complex task than it seems on the surface for many reasons. Here are three big ones:
- Yeah, “that” again. At square one, the talent dearth and turnover we’ve been discussing.
- Subtle differences are bigger than you think. Seemingly subtle differences in value and motivation among stakeholders make an enormous difference in creating content that creates emotional connections and drives outcomes.
- Killer content requires headspace and support. Content that connects and converts is a headspace game. Ideally, a content expert can get into an assignment and concentrate on it and the franchised pieces around it. Doing this well requires structural (research, SEO, subject matter experts) and resource (human, AI and software tools) support that most firms with marketing departments can’t provide. Content-centered agencies are driven by content-related outcomes by design and can provide that structure and support. In fact, they need to in order to scale up and deliver on your deliverables. In other words, you take advantage of the economics of specialization.
Your C-suite will finally love marketing
Another caveat here (last one, I promise) – we’re assuming that you’re working with a revenue marketing agency. Or, to be more precise, a content-driven revenue marketing agency since the success of your efforts always hinges upon the content you deploy.
At this point, we all know the stats by heart. More than half of your B2B prospects have already decided to buy before they talk with a salesperson, and most buyers get 70 percent of the way through the funnel before they engage with your sales department. That means, for better or worse, that most revenue wins and losses are hinging up on your marketing efforts – even more than they do from your sales teams. Although most organizations intellectually realize this is the case, few have internalized that knowledge into their marketing operations because they’re preoccupied with the challenge of hiring people, bringing them up to speed and retaining them.
Content-driven revenue marketing agencies help you overcome those challenges by:
- Mapping out all the ways to franchise your content across your organization to maximum effect, ensuring that your marketing department is focused on revenue generation regardless of your internal challenges
- Bridging gaps between your sales and marketing teams through structured communications and collaboration and testing that provides instant updates to best-performing messaging and content across all of your sales, marketing and communications channels
- Applying broader real-time and experiential lessons to your marketing efforts gleaned from the revenue marketing agency’s naturally broader perspective on which tactics are moving the needle in marketing and conversions
One of the greatest benefits to marketing departments that partner with revenue marketing agencies is the C-suite’s shift in perspective regarding marketing activities. The resulting structured, constant focus on revenue generation makes the return on marketing efforts self-evident, independent of perspective-based challenges like ROI formulas and impact allocation. When everything you do – including brand-building measures – is intentionally leveraged for maximum revenue generation, even skeptical executives become marketing department converts and cheerleaders.
And that’s doubly the case when you have indirect sales channels. Experienced channel marketing agencies are essentially content-driven revenue marketing agencies on steroids. That’s because they’re:
- Adept at communicating value and creating motivation across ecosystems full of revenue-generating specialists
- Skilled at recruiting and retaining revenue-generating sales partners
- Capable of generating enormous revenue impacts across your indirect sales channels
You’ll boost customer experience
So far, we’ve discussed some ways content-driven agencies can directly impact revenue generation through reliability, structure and revenue marketing. They also can play a crucial role in developing your competitiveness in today’s key battlefront of customer experience by:
- Franchising your content for internal and external sales and service teams to ensure that customers get the same insights and messaging when interacting with professionals across your organization
- Educating your non-sales departments on what your marketing and sales teams are taking to market
- Building internal morale by ensuring that key developments are communicated companywide through bulletins and internal newsletters
You’ll save money
Most content-driven tech marketing agencies deliver game-changing stabilization to your marketing operations for the cost of employing a body or two internally, depending on the market from which you operate. Some agencies have raised their thresholds a little higher than that since the pandemic began, but for the most part, companies are making this leap with simple expense reallocations in their budgets. (E.g., not filling a vacated seat, moving an internal expense allocation to an external allocation, etc.)
You’ll better retain your internal marketers
Working with a content-driven tech marketing agency is not an either-or proposition when it comes to your internal marketing teams. Those teams are under constant pressure because of turnover and the ever-expanding demand on marketing units to assist departments across your organization.
Bringing the right agency partner to the table creates stability that takes pressure off of those internal teams on multiple fronts through:
- Ensuring that core marketing programs are executed professionally and on time
- Allowing them to complete high-value internal tasks
- Avoiding the constant scramble that plagues remaining personnel in marketing teams that are overloaded and suffering from excess turnover
- Supporting your teams with professional resources that can help them develop assets and execute plans independent of events impacting your company
- Helping them reduce stress in the personal life through the recovery of personal time after hours and on weekends
The Bottom Line
In the technology space, the infamous IT skills shortage that’s fueled so much growth in technology products and services has overshadowed a parallel shortage of professionals that can understand and communicate the value of those products and services. This skills gap has emerged even while most of a buyer’s journey has moved online and before they even speak to a sales representative. Pressure on technology marketing departments reached the tipping point during the pandemic, leading to significant impacts amid the “great resignation.”
In response, smaller and mid-sized firms in the technology space are taking a playbook from the pages of their larger competitors and turning to content-driven technology marketing agencies to deliver reliability, stability and results across their marketing operations.