25 March 2022

Firing up the content engine

It’s one thing to spend a bunch of cash on buying licences for marketing management software and quite another to allocate a similar sum to the production of top-quality content. But which investment gets the most bang for the buck? Especially if you’re a small to medium company without the liquidity we were used to before the pandemic.

In fact, many firms run complex apps to manage their marketing activities, which involve a lot of what amounts to form filling, with little perceptible return. And content delivery agencies seldom get a return on the administrative costs (unless they’re the one selling the package, of course).

Inventing value for money

There’s a more sensible approach to controlling marketing activity and expenditure, which uses the humble spreadsheet. The software’s there on your desktop, already paid for, and being used daily. Furthermore, the skills required to run it are routinely taught before people leave school or university.

Here’s how you do it. Set up a spreadsheet with content categories (like case studies, white papers and award entries) on the vertical axis and the timeframe (usually in months) running along the top. Add responsibilities and status fields within discrete cells. Put the deconstructed budget on a separate (linked) sheet. Populate it at a kick-off meeting and give a junior person the task of running it. Use it as a management tool at marketing team meetings. Just for argument’s sake, let’s call it a content engine.

Getting a pre-digitisation sales bonus

If you’re agency-side use the two-dimensional sheet to inform the content conversation between yourself and your customer. If you’re customer-side do the same in reverse. Then discard your expensive marketing management software (probably an initiative of someone who understands finance better than they do marketing) and get on with investing the money saved in better content.

The revenue created by throwing out the resource-intensive form-filling software (of which probably only five percent of its functionality is ever used) will create sales and pay for itself time and again. It may sound like taking a step back into the pre-digitisation era, but sometimes you’re sold stuff you really don’t need and can do better without.

Talk to us about this and other ways to reduce overheads.

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