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The Digital Marketer's Content Dilemma

Google+and more Now that Google Circles (happily not for brands at the moment!) has appeared it’s time we marketers admitted something to ourselves; we are overwhelmed with too many channels, and need to rethink the whole process of content creation.

It's true; I've seen it everywhere in talking with marketers over the last few years. And I think I know the precise moment when we all became officially overwhelmed: Apple's iPad launch.

Once upon a time marketers could survive with a few channels, they didn't even have to become experts on those channels, and could outsource the whole effort to market and advertise to agencies.

Content Marketing Outsourcing Retrenches

Now that social media, mobile phones, and a plethora of other content opportunities have arrived, the great trend to outsource is actually stalling. Yes, many marketers are continuing to outsource their marketing efforts through social media to agencies. But at the same time those same agencies, gurus, and marketers themselves are realizing that to manage engagement, and content development well, you have to have a really good process in place, and it’s tough to integrate myriad agencies if a company doesn't have a good process in place for identifying business unit needs for content and social engagement, identifying the right content creation teams and understanding how to optimize content across all of the new content channels.

And part of the marketer's dilemma is not just that there are new channels but those channels are fundamentally different from the channels of years ago. You have to prepare content in a different way; we have to have a process in place to handle the feedback.

Companies have all of the resources and experience to handle conversation and feedback, it’s just the mechanism, and training for handling such interactions are deployed differently, and not trained enough yet to make everything run smoothly.

Marketing Leadership Needed

I've seen companies where there have been problems with content creation for multiple channels. And while technology vendors have flexible solutions, and agencies old ideas for new content, it's the client who has to come up with the process for managing the process not the technology vendor or agency. Because every client is different, their audience has different needs; they use different channels, and have different types of engagement. But also it’s the client who has to coordinate across so many different channels, and because of that complexity, it puts the marketer back in the driver’s seat for how the whole process is managed. This is nothing new in terms of managing agencies, and outsourcing needs, but it is new in that companies have to manage so many different demands for content, when the same piece of content needs to be optimized for so many different channels.

The marketer’s content dilemma has got nothing to do with content creation, content engagement, but process, and responsibility. It’s about leadership, and taking back the responsibility for running and managing the process of marketing to yourself and your department. Certainly take advice from agencies, and even ideas about process from technology vendors, but in the end marketers are going to have to roll up their sleeves and build a new process for handling new technologies such as Google Circles.