Analyzing Failure in Your Digital Content Strategy

It will take some disciple to determine your content problem, the ‘beast’, which will lead to your plan of attack, utilizing a new content management framework for success. It probably has been an easy task to figure out where you want to go in your marketing strategy, including content marketing. However, to really map to your planned ‘end in mind’ there has to be a step of discovery that includes a deep analysis of your failure. There is a bit of psychology involved here that works with all things – you don’t know where you’re going until you have figured out where you’ve been as a leader of your marketing or the company as a whole. A simple way to do this quickly and effectively is to ask yourself the 2 questions below and then take a look at the 3 quick fix categories. Then, review, discuss and analyze the failures without pointing at external factors as the only reason for failure. 

Question #1: Did you have a strategy? If you did, what were the metrics of success and did you achieve them. No marketer should be afraid of failure and you won’t achieve success unless you are fearless and not afraid to fail. So, dig into your strategy and figure out where the gaps were and now that you have taken this step to analyze your failure – map it back to your strategy or lack thereof and document how you would do it differently. 

Question #2: Was your content crap? This may sound harsh but the question needs to be asked of you and your team when in the step of analyzing your failure. Your audience is not engaging because it seems like the same thing that is out there and it’s getting lost in all the buzz words and the strength of your competition will drown your message. It doesn’t mean that what you were publishing isn’t important but it hasn’t stood out in the massive amount of noise in the marketplace that is social media and content marketing. Ardath Albee has written a great book on content marketing called, “Digital Relevance, Developing Content Marketing and Strategies that Drive Results.”

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Author Albee explains, “Publishing content without a strategy isn’t moving the needle. Time, effort, and money are flushed away without a quantifiable impact on business performance.” This is a serious problem for marketers. Their companies expect results. Their jobs are on the line. If not now, then soon.A  I agree and this should always be the 1st part of your publishing strategy.  You can explore common and important topics and subject matters; however, it has to be engaging and stand out. If you feel you need to improve, don’t worry there are a few quick ways to fix this:

Be customer-focused in all topics! Don’t publish items that just interest you or your staff but items that engage your readers, prospects and customers.

  1. Provide insights that create value -Enough said!
  2. Don’t focus on how your customer can do business with you or buy your product. This should be the last thing on your mind when you are blogging or creating content for your readers. Your prospects do not want a sales pitch!

I will go into a great deal of detail and provide exercises in future chapters that you can use for yourself or for your team in later chapters to create these fixes and make sure it becomes part of the new paradigm for you content the business of content marketing on your website, blog or integration into your marketing strategies and tactics for the future.

Chapter 2: Create the new Customer-Value Paradigm: Providing innovation and quality content for and not ‘to’ your customers.

What do you think? – I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me. Part 2 is coming Soon: “Innovating Your Content Marketing System” @neilkeene.

 

Your Customers Don’t Want Your Marketing, They Want Your Innovation!    (Part 1)

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” ― James C. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Good to Great was published back in 2001; however, I believe the quote above still serves as an overall guide for marketing organizations’ need to create innovation in driving a new discipline for developing and improving your marketing system. The Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as: “The marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This definitely serves as a solid foundation for a customer-focused content marketing plan.

In fact, I believe it can be very simple to transform your thinking about creating and executing effective content marketing.  It’s now 2017 – Happy New Year! The next generation of marketing is upon us this year, which means something other than your existing marketing framework needs to drive your content marketing/management systems. This should be a new ‘framework’ of customer engagement rather than a patchwork content approaches. Specifically, you should avoid the approach of creating a strategic plan vetting it out resulting in a tactical plan that defines your marketing plan for the next year…which are tactics. I’m suggesting that your strategic and tactical plans need to give way for a customer plan that includes a specific method for engaging your customer through quality content, engagement and overall value. In order for all of us to be successful, it’s still required that this new system of engagement includes multiple channels and platforms both new and old, using multi-channel marketing constructs and plans (we all know this). However, the change to enable is innovation driving how we approach this strategic area of marketing in 2017 and beyond, creating a meaningful and powerful strategic marketing plan.

As Good to Great explains, the difference between failure and success is often a very small and small strategic changes in the content marketing framework will lead to success. Good is the enemy of great and the focus on tactics are the enemy of great content for customer engagement. The core of the current problem in creating and implementing your content marketing is the system of beliefs that content marketing is a task, tactic or strategy. This leads to the analgesic excuse of “At least we’re doing something” – on the contrary this should be new innovation transforming how you engage with your key customers! Content marketing is implemented successfully as an innovation in your system of marketing not in simply creating content as you would a tactic or a marketing plan.

What is meant by innovation is that your marketing approach needs to emphasize the importance of systemic connectivity to your customers and new organizational capabilities. We all know that the successful content marketing system is a success when you are not only able to engage and interact with your target audience but drive profitable customer action. Nonetheless, despite the fact that there has been progress in the direction of content marketing, especially in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, the predominant logic of just creating content without a content management framework still remains one of the primary reasons leading to failure. Unfortunately, the primary focus of attention continues to be just the creation of content and ‘Marketing’ rather than customer-value approaches.

This year, as CMI’s recent B2B report for the year showed, content marketing was heavily on the uptrend in 2016 and our new approach for success is all something we need to master in 2017! In case you don’t get a chance to read the CMI report, here are some highlights:

  • A whopping 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
  • Interestingly enough, though, not everyone is using strategy and documentation efficiently – this went down by 8% this year.
  • The most effective marketers allocate 42% of their total marketing budgets to content.
  • 79% of the most effective marketers have clarity regarding the success of their content marketing.
  • 31% of marketers report that sales lead quality is the most important metric they use.

Finally, if we can agree that content marketing really needs to be a systemic task of innovation rather than just content, there are 2 important next steps:

1.     Analyze Your Failure: Determine your content problem (the ‘beast’) which will lead to your plan of attack, utilizing a new content management framework for success.

2.     Create the new Paradigm: Providing innovation and quality content for and not ‘to’ your customers.

What do you think? – I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me. Part 2 is coming Soon: “Innovating Your Content Marketing System” Follow @neilkeene.

Evolving Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies: Digital as a Key Component of Multichannel Marketing — ReportHive

Report Hive Published a New Report Title “Evolving Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies: Digital as a Key Component of Multichannel Marketing” on its Market Research Database The pharmaceutical field has always experimented with and adopted technology to provide medical advancements, leading to robotic surgery systems, gene therapies, stem cell treatments, next-generation synthetic limbs and cameras that can […]

via Evolving Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies: Digital as a Key Component of Multichannel Marketing — ReportHive

The Value of Defining Your Omnichannel ‘Mess’

I like to ask, “What’s your system and how does it work?” In my time studying system thinking with Jamshid Gharajedagi, I transformed my thinking about organizational change for the future. If you haven’t read his book, “Systems Thinking, Managing Chaos and Complexity. A Platform for Designing Business Architecture”, I strongly recommend you check it out: Systems Thinking.   I believe and still adopt today that the 1st step of taking on any project is to define the mess.  Specifically, we need a preconceived understanding of the whole before we attempt to fix all of the parts of our mess.

This process cannot simply be a partial definition as is often thought for omnichannel solutions today, such as software, platform or strategy.  If you only understand 1 or 2 parts of your mess, you will ultimately fail in your attempts to build an Omnichannel system that works for your organization.  In attempts at a quick sales and marketing solution, practitioners often gravitate towards a software solution in the endless complexity of driving towards some demonstration of progress. We are all searching for the most effective way to create a connection with key customers, the intention is always there.  However, the 1st step of this search needs to be understanding and defining the mess to find the optimal solution to implement success.  We all know and have heard about how to achieve success in customer engagement through content management, implemented through system platform and software solutions.  However, none of this can be achieved without understanding your ‘mess’ – a stepwise process that begins with defining the mess will create a pattern of thinking for yielding the ultimate Omnichannel solution we are all trying to achieve.  Think back in your career.  We have all engaged in projects lead by well-meaning consultants where we participate in a discovery process which is quickly turned into the project plan.  A project plan without willing participants and shared values is like a smartphone without an OS.  It makes a good drink coaster…

I knew people who worked at the company known as Bear Stearns, there were some very smart people working at that firm which was in business since 1923.  In November of 2006 Kyle Bass met with Bear Stearn’s entire risk management committee and walked them through a 90 minute presentation related to the risks of their completely over-leveraged holdings.  Check out this interview: I did not want to see Bear Stearns go down

The leadership of very smart professionals listened and really hoped he was wrong.  We all know what happened to Bear Stearns in a matter of days beginning in March of 2008.  There are many other examples in business history where leadership refused to understand the need for change or ignore risks in the face of adversity. It was always understood at BP that you could get fired if you raised safety concerns that might delay drilling: Rig warning signs

The point I’m trying to make is if you don’t think there is a mess, you won’t evaluate how to find a solution and failure is inevitable.  Some good places to start in your new journey:  What are the drivers of your current system?  How are key interactions behaving and where?  Finally, make certain you are not afraid to ask the tough question – Is the architecture of your company department and/or your system, operating optimally for your team to achieve sales and marketing goals?  Ask yourself and your team – How well have we defined our ‘mess’?

7 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week — BGR

That’s right, movie fans, one more week has gone by, and that means we’ve got a few trailers to watch including a new Bruce Willis movie, a fun Netflix exclusive, and a few new horror titles. In addition to the seven new trailers below, we also have a brand new Batman vs. Superman trailer that teases the…

via 7 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week — BGR

MCM Disruption Fueled by the Burst of New FDA Approvals

We all know that the new Multi-Channel Marketing (MCM) can bring a stronger and more efficient focus for your integrated marketing efforts – regardless of your industry vertical.   In the past 5 years, I have launched several new products in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and there has been a shift or ‘disruption’ with more focus on how to reach the HCP in every form more efficiently. Also digital has manifested itself more into the drug industry and I believe these factors have unveiled some of the MCM secrets to a successful drug launch

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A burst of new drug approvals at the FDA just before Christmas in 2014 which pushed the total to 41 for the year, the fastest pace in the past 18 years and a fresh sign that at least a few of the lead players have learned how to efficiently target new therapies for development and utilize MCM for a more targeted launch effort. Basically doing more with less and hyper-targeting in MCM…Well I hope so! Some recent data to shows this:

Added together, 2014 marked the second highest year on record for the approval of new chemical entities, with 1996 topping last year with 53 recorded FDA approvals.

According to research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), biopharma companies that have adopted a disciplined approach to customer excellence have seen productivity gains of 10 to 25 percent. The gains can be taken as cost savings or reinvested for growth: some companies have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in costs, while others have achieved revenue growth of more than 7 percent annually.

Effective MCM can boost top-line growth by more than 10 percent, reduce costs by 10 to 25 percent—or both. Only those drug companies who realize the benefits of utilizing a MCM strategy in launch while managing to invest and allocate budgets properly will succeed. This goes for the small start-ups and large pharma companies. In a way, this new upturn in innovation and reality of the hard work required to revamp the current model has put the spotlight on real returns. It also embraces the notion that customer excellence provides a competitive edge, and thus is worth investing in, and recognizes that pursuing customer excellence is a continuous effort that delivers high impact both in the short term and in the long run.

Too often in our industry MCM is poorly implemented or put aside as ‘too complex’ to work in the field. One key is to keep things simple: employ practical approaches that are based on deep customer discovery and capitalize on this new upturn in innovation to ‘build-through’ a commercial MCM capability for long-term growth!

 

 

On the Edge of Failed Leadership: Start-up Mentality and Desire

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I recently watched a profile on 60 Minutes that profiled the author Alison Levine which motivated me to blog on some important insights into leadership. In case you don’t know her, Alison is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “On The Edge”. The Edge reflects on the lessons learned from her various expeditions, making the case that the leadership principles apply in extreme adventure sport also apply in today’s extreme business environments.
Her accomplishments are impressive. She has skied to both the North and South Poles—a feat known as the Adventure Grand Slam, which fewer than forty people in the world have achieved. In January 2008, she made history as the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole following the route of legendary explorer Reinhold Messner. Levine completed this arduous journey on skis while hauling 150 pounds of her gear and supplies in a sled harnessed to her waist. Her success in extreme environments is noteworthy given she has had three heart surgeries and suffers from Raynaud’s disease, which causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather—leaving her at extreme risk for frostbite.
Now let me take you from leadership to desire. Chen Lizra defines Desire – knowing what you want and then going after it. It seems like an obvious definition but sometimes we all need to be reminded of the simple concepts and seeing these in plain English helps the brain to process these concepts. It’s my contention that Leadership and Desire are the two most important elements that make up a successful start-up. Those in leadership have to have desire plugged into company success metrics not their own selfish desires. I’ve been part of several start-ups over the past years and like Alison I learned that once you make a decision you can’t second guess yourself. This is the feeling she described when she reach safety after turning around before reaching the peak on one of her journeys. She did not consider this a failure but a learning experience.
The success or failure of your company will ultimately be based on your decision making and how the leadership team cultivates everyone to participate and everyone needs to feel part of the team, motivating by inclusion. The most glaring sign of impending failure is when what I call a ‘cult of personality’ is created. This develops when one person in leadership acts without governance and dictates decision making for the company unilaterally. Ultimately, these decisions will be based on his or her benefit not the company’s. One of Alison Levine’s rules of Leadership is simply, “Everybody needs to have skin in the game”, what I call the ‘skin factor’. This means that everyone needs to have shared risk in the company, which builds confidence and leadership. If you don’t feel that your leader/CEO shares similar risks as you, your company will most likely fail – think disparate pay. How can you follow someone up the mountain if they’re not shoulder to shoulder with you in some way?
I have many friends and former colleagues in the VC business and they all have said the #1 reason for company failure is executives who are usually legally paying themselves way too much for an unprofitable company burning cash. These are individuals who will not feel any pain if the company fails but gain as the company is failing, defying the primary rule of the skin factor in Leadership. They take what they can and if they company fails…so what. This doesn’t mean that everyone has the same compensation but relative ‘skin’ is required. So-called ‘Leaders’ focus of desire is financial not company success. We have seen throughout collective failed companies, once investors find out there are quarterly bonus checks being written to the CEO. I had a CEO tell me once when discussing funding options, “Companies don’t go public until profitable.” I didn’t know if I should laugh, refer him to the WSJ or begin a lecture. Then it dawned on me that there would be no public offering – that would require disclosure.
In summary, bad companies are led by the desires of poor leadership for financial gain. So, be mindful of the following seemingly obvious signs of failed leadership:
• Lack of financial transparency and overall corporate governance
• No budgets allocated to any key functions or departments, which allows for 1 person to control all functions (warning: Can be masked as, “I want to be involved with everything”)
• Important company decisions are made by President/CEO without conferring with anyone (see above: ‘unilateral decisions’) BTW – telling everyone how great a move is after the decision is made doesn’t count.
• CEO/President compensation beyond reason (see above: ‘quarterly bonuses’)