Do you have a clear idea of what you need to achieve through a content marketing strategy? If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ll know Lush holds a firm belief that any content marketing strategy worth its salt will be based on clear, measurable business objectives.
But we’re not miracle workers.
Though highly effective, a content marketing strategy isn’t a magic wand for your business. There are clear parameters for what strategies can and can’t achieve, and if you expect a strategy to achieve the impossible, you’re inevitably going to be disappointed upon completion. Here are seven things we commonly encounter that a content marketing strategy, no matter how good, will never fix.
1. A product issue
A marketing strategy cannot create product attributes that don’t exist, nor can it brush over product attributes you might want to hide or forget about. That is to say, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it will still look like a pig.
Marketing cannot make bad food taste good or be healthy. Marketing cannot make slow software fast, it can’t change an office or store location, and it can’t make useless product features important.
A good content marketing strategy will show off your company’s best attributes in the eyes of the buyer, but if your best isn’t really that great, then there’s not much we can do for you. Instead, if you’re having problems with a product issue, it’s a good opportunity to go back to the drawing board, work on product development and then use a content marketing strategy to showcase the new product once finalised.
2. A service issue
Is the way your business delivers customer service inherently flawed? If so, you’ll never overcome this with a content marketing strategy. While content can be created to equip staff with resources for customer interactions, a content marketing strategy can’t improve the tone employees take on the phone or the way they greet customers when they walk in the door.
A content marketing strategy does sometimes intersect with User Experience Design (UX Design), which enables strategists to better identify and flag customer service issues. Even in these circumstances, problems can only be identified, as it’s rarely within a marketing strategist’s capability to conduct staff training or review.
3. A pricing issue
No matter how great a content marketing strategy might be, customers will never find value in a $1000 thumbtack.
Of course, strategic marketing executed well can add value to products, services and businesses, but like most things there’s a limit to how far this can extend. Content marketing strategies can also lower the cost of general business operations, but they can’t lower the cost of materials, labour, or premises.
In fact, if your pricing is way off, you’ll have trouble achieving success even with an expertly crafted content strategy.
4. A staffing issue
Does your organisation have a toxic staff member who affects your ability to deliver on your internal company culture? Unfortunately, a content marketing strategy won’t minimise their impact on your company.
It’s something we encounter surprisingly often: organisations hope that in addition to an improved approach to marketing, a content marketing strategy might justify a redundancy or push a troublesome employee out the door. It never works. What’s worse, the staff member in question can usually smell the hidden intention a mile off and they can be a real stick-in-the-mud when it comes to implementing any of the other great recommendations in your strategy.
5. An industry issue
Is your industry renowned for being male-dominated, competitive or close-minded? You can’t un-ring a bell and, as it turns out, neither can a strategy.
Certainly, a strategy can demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to improving or influencing your wider industry, but it can’t control the activity of your peer organisations.
The only way to truly ensure others in your industry adhere to a strategy is to get other businesses to buy in. If multiple businesses are interested in achieving the same change or goal, why not adopt a brandscaping model to share the costs and multiply the reach of your strategy?
6. A vision issue
If your vision is in conflict with the values of your audience, then there’s little a content marketing strategy can do to change their mind.
This issue often arises in highly political organisations. Political leanings, while often created with the right intentions, are bound to polarise audiences, so they must be established with careful, strategic consideration. Additionally, any organisation with the intention to ‘convert’ audiences to a certain way of thinking will struggle to connect with consumers who don’t like being told what to do (personally, I’m guilty as charged!).
Perceptions are easily influenced by content marketing strategy, but there’s a vast difference between a perception and a deeply held personal value, which is where businesses with vision issues can come unstuck.
7. A sales process issue
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it close. Despite all the wonderful resources your content marketing strategy might equip your sales team with (case studies, articles and videos work particularly well for sales functions), if there’s a process problem when it comes your sales cycle, it will remain even with an excellent content marketing strategy.
Unfortunately for many businesses, it can be a content marketing strategy which reveals sales process issues. This isn’t a death sentence for your strategy. Instead, it’s an opportunity to resolve the issues as they arise, and once a healthy, efficient process is established your content strategy will usually slot right in.
Where to get help
Want to work with a content marketing agency that will identify these issues for you? With experience writing dozens of strategies for clients across industries and in both B2B and B2C contexts, we know how to identify red flags and help clients work through them.
Give us a call today to discuss your strategy needs.