I’ve previously shared insights on how important it is for content marketers, like myself, to work closely with product marketing [read that blog post here]. Now, I’d like to discuss the relationship between content marketing and demand generation.
The two teams generally have the same goals – make things that build awareness, demand, and pipeline. In fact, 85% of B2B content marketers say that their most important goal is lead generation. But, more often than not, content marketing and demand generation teams operate in silos. The culprits are generally the same across marketing teams:
- One-off, ad-hoc projects with custom KPIs that are limited to either just content marketing or just demand generation
- Lack of visibility into content ideation, planning, and scheduling
- Emphasis on the creation of top-funnel, awareness-building content and a huge gap in lower-funnel content that is critically valuable to demand generation
- Misalignment on which themes and topics to focus on
So, what can content marketers and demand generation do to build and sustain alignment? It’s not as simple as creating a running list of things that demand generation needs from content marketing – and vice versa.
The two teams need a plan, a marketing roadmap, that unifies content creation with demand generation programs. A plan will help the two teams work together, identify what works and what falls flat, scale, and iterate. Below, are tips to help you establish a shared plan between the two teams.
Establish One Mission; Plan Initiatives Under It
This is an obvious one – but in order to break down the silos that separate content marketing and demand generation, both teams need to work towards the same mission together.
This is the step that comes before metric-oriented goals like “generate x amount of revenue in Q1.” A mission describes what the teams will accomplish together. Growing sales pipeline and optimizing customer/purchasing experiences are examples of overarching missions. These will help define what each team and their respective roles/functions are responsible for, and where they need to rely on each other to ensure that the mission comes to fruition.
Once a shared mission is established, key initiatives can be planned. Working towards one mission helps bridge the gap between what each team will be tasked with – creating content, running programs, etc. Each initiative should be built into your overarching roadmap and be visible to all stakeholders.
Create Content with Purpose
Content teams want to create content for every stage of the customer journey, and demand generation wants high-quality content to fill every stage, too. The disconnect between the two happens when content marketing doesn’t have a clear understanding of the funnel that demand gen is working with, or when demand gen can’t decipher where a piece of content fits within a lead nurture track.
So, an easy way to combat this is to assign purpose and intent to each piece of content. Together, the two teams can identify which topics and formats work for top, mid and lower funnel content. They can also identify gaps and where content is needed the most.
Build Cross-functional Workflows
Building and defining workflows that cross team lines, from content marketing to demand generation, will keep projects and people on track. It’s likely that content marketing and demand generation have both waited on each other for things like landing pages and copy. A set of workflows that map out step-by-step ownership and deadlines – from creating a piece of content to building a campaign around it – and deadlines will help avoid bottlenecks.
With so many moving parts, project management is key to keeping content marketing and demand generation on the same page. It’s extremely helpful to designate one person as a project manager to create standard workflow templates for the programs that both content marketing and demand generation will be involved in – like the launch, promotion, and post-nurture of a big rock whitepaper.
Alignment between content marketing and demand generation really comes down to communication, visibility, and accountability to each other. Working towards the same mission, creating content that clearly fits into a customer’s journey and project management all contribute to breaking teams out of silos that can prevent success for marketing as a whole within an organization.