The challenge of marketing content at scale

The Challenge of Managing Content Operations at Scale

Our research found that the challenge of managing content marketing and the growing cost and complexity of content operations has emerged as a major problem for marketing executives. Many of those surveyed reported it is a huge challenge to manage the complexity, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness of their content operations, despite its growing importance in the eyes of marketing leadership. “Managing content effectively is the single greatest challenge to our marketing organization,” according to David Master, the CMO of the Janus Funds.

Challenge of marketing content at scale

The most common problems cited in the interviews with marketing executives include:

  • Low content usage – Marketing executives expressed their frustration that the vast majority of their content is not opened or consumed by customers, prospects or influencers. “Based on our experience measuring content usage on our web sites, the Pareto Principal, or the 80-20 rule, is more like the 99.99 to 0.01 rule when it comes to content utilization. When we measured it we found that only a few of our assets were regularly consumed or shared,” according to Mark Yolton, VP of Digital Marketing at Cisco Systems.
  • The time and effort it takes to find content – 61% of executives surveyed report it is difficult for their salespeople to find marketing content when they need it. For example, a recent analysis by the marketing team at VMWare found that 75% of the content that gets localized and pushed to regions goes unused for lack of awareness by the sales and marketing channels
  • Lack of alignment with the go-to-market process – Too much of the content that is created does not align with or support the entire customer journey so it’s impact on sales is limited. “Content marketing is equated with demand generation, which is very myopic. We need to span the holistic engagement lifecycle.  For many, the real content journey begins after the sale”, according to Lisa Arthur, CMO, Teradata Marketing Application.
  • The inability to materially impact sales results – Another problem is that content is not driving measurable business outcomes. A recent survey by Richardson – a global sales training company – found that most sales managers don’t believe the content created for them by marketing either motivates customers to buy, drives cross-selling or challenges the customer mindset. And over 40% of marketing executives surveyed were not sure they are getting a positive return on their investment in marketing content in terms of brand building and lead generation.

These “content problems” have become major business issues because they are increasing the cost of sales and hurting the ability of marketers to drive top line growth from their investments in digital, social, and mobile technologies and solution selling.

Given these near-universal facts, the big questions being asked by marketing executives are:

  • Why is it so hard to manage marketing content?
  • What can marketing leaders do to improve the situation? (View Presentation)

According to Peter Smerald, an expert in Content Management from EMC, “One reason marketers are struggling to find ways to improve content performance, is they do not do a very good job describing the problem they are trying to solve. This is generally because they don’t understand the underlying economics of content operations. So they don’t do a very good job solving the problem”


The challenge of managing content is great but the quality of content – thought leadership or entertainment value – is now critical to differentiating the brand and driving engagement. Selling stories, ROI models, and customer case studies are essential to supporting “value conversations” that accelerate sales, drive margin, and change minds


Bill Scully has over 15 years of digital coaching, speaking, and in-the-trenches business experience. His focus is driving qualified web traffic, and getting visitors to act on websites to increase valuable sales leads.  Bill has served as a Municipal Marking Manager for USFilter and Director of Digital Marketing for Siemens Water, and the Siemens International Search Engine Consultant. He is a master at uncovering and supporting customer intent, and now runs Digital Marketing Fuel, LLC a Strategic Digital Consulting Agency supporting in-house Marketers.


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