According to specialists, in 2020, content will become marketing’s biggest bottleneck. That’s a big statement. What does it mean, how did it happen, and what must marketers do to solve the challenge?
What does it mean?
As a result of huge rises in the use of personalization, the increasing spread of brands into new markets, and the never-ending expansion of channels available to marketers, we’re seeing bottlenecks start to develop in other parts of the marketing supply chain.
In other words, marketers did such a good job implementing software solutions to help with the targeting and distribution of content that they’ve created a whole new challenge for themselves: content creation.
Fundamentally, the content bottleneck is the gap between the demand for content within your marketing organizations and the ability to deliver on that demand using the people, tools, and resources at your disposal.
Usually, this bottleneck is framed in one of three ways:
- Quantity: More content.
- Quality: Better content.
- Coordination: Take better advantage of the content you already have.
Whichever you suffer from, the outcome is a gap between what your marketing organization is expected to deliver and what actually gets out the door.
How did it happen?
If we go back in time about 10 years, Web 2.0 and social media changed the face of content production for both people and brands. Companies quickly jumped on board, creating blogs and feeling their way with social media.
In that time, marketing automation grew from a sub-$100 million category to being worth an estimated $3.5 billion. Smartphone users grew from 300 million to 3 billion worldwide. Adblockers went from an afterthought with less than 20 million users to nearly 600 million.
Put all that together you just have an incredible amount of strain on the front end of the marketing process. That strain is pushing marketers to approach the problem of content as a fundamental business imperative.
How to solve the challenge?
We have officially moved to the next phase of content marketing. What was once about blogs and Tweets is now about driving business results. In the content marketing of today, new brands rise and old brands fall on the ability of their content to produce results that matter.
Bottlenecks are not new to businesses. Anyone with a production process has spent a lot of time working on dealing with bottlenecks as they act to constrain everything that happens downstream from them.
There are five focusing steps that should provide a blueprint for dealing with bottlenecks within content marketing organizations:
- Identify: This is where we identify the specifics of our own bottleneck. When it comes to content we should think about quantity, quality, and coordination.
- Optimize: This is all about the ways to optimize the process at the center of your biggest bottleneck.
- Support: Since a constraint limits everything that happens after it, it’s critical that we get other parts of the organization to reorient themselves and support the constraint, not vice-versa.
- Elevate: If you ’ve successfully delivered on one, two, and three, then you should have been able to elevate your capacity in the bottlenecked process and use that to drive incremental growth.
- Iterate: It’s important to remember that while we talk about content as one big bottleneck, it’s actually many little ones. When you fix one thing you need to go back and iterate.