Five Reasons Your Content is Underperforming and How to Get Back on Track

Lauren Moss

Marketing Program Manager

Quartet performing on stage in theater

As B2B marketers, we know that creating content requires a significant investment of time, energy and money. For that reason, it can be frustrating when the return falls short of expectations and even more so when you are unable to pinpoint why exactly the asset didn’t land with your audience.

In this blog, we’re going to take a high-level view of the marketing content supply chain from ideation all the way to distribution to uncover five common roadblocks many marketers face on the path to maximum ROI. We’ll also break down how to overcome these challenges so you can drive more and deeper engagement.

#1 – You lack real data and insight about your audience.

You might have heard the term “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” and never has it rang truer than when you start to develop a content program. If you are creating a message that you think users should want rather than what they truly value, your solution is not going to resonate.

The fix? Do your research. Find out what users are looking for in a product and emphasize those features. A dominant internal culture that favors product-first messaging is difficult to overturn, but it’s important to stand your ground. By creating a foundation of objective facts from which to guide your messaging, you’ll more quickly (and effectively) engage your target buyers.

#2 – You haven’t been educating potential customers along their research journey.

According to TechTarget research, 91% of buyers are more likely to engage and shortlist vendors who educate them. So, if your content isn’t readily available well before buyers have a project underway, you are already behind.

The fix? Assemble a library of digital content that potential buyers can easily find and consume. Understanding the maturity of your product in the market is important here. If you’re a legacy leader, you’ll need to reinforce the proven success you’ve had to counteract new entry efforts. Alternatively, if you’re a new innovator, you’ll need to connect new ideas to the buyer’s legacy understanding of existing problems.

#3 – You aren’t targeting all members of the buying team.

Day-to-day users of your product will look a lot different than the individuals involved in purchase decisions – and your content must reflect that. While having content for users, like IT Ops and IT Admins for example, is important, so, too, is having content meant for IT Leadership, Business Leadership and Business Ops who often become involved during the evaluation and decision phases.

The fix? Develop a diverse portfolio of content types that speak to all members of the buying team. Backing up your claims with third-party validation can be helpful here, both from a technical and an economic perspective, because it helps buyers of different roles understand the benefits to their business, all from a trusted outside resource.

#4 – You skip critical distribution channels because they are difficult for you.

With so many available channels to reach buyers, it’s easy to stick to ones that are familiar and comfortable for you. But by doing that, you could be missing a critical channel – one where your desired customers congregate when they are trying to solve business problems.

The fix? Look beyond your own website. Learn where your buyers are and meet them there with content in formats that they prefer to absorb information in. This might necessitate an evolution within your organization or partnering approach to fill gaps in places like video production, for example.

#5 – Your content doesn’t meet internal user requirements.

You’ve done all this work making sure that your content is backed by factual insight, aligns with your buyers at every stage and is delivered in a consumable format. But it’s all for naught if you aren’t meeting the needs of internal users! Most organizations consist of numerous teams, each with specialized functions, who will leverage your solution, so different messaging and content is needed to articulate the benefits for these users.

The fix? Ensure all teams involved – from Customer Success to Campaign Marketing to Sales – are aligned on your targeting, positioning and key messaging. An internal message framework is useful here to map out the variety of assets available for use with different teams at different buying stages.

There’s certainly a lot to do to build out a robust and effective content library, and as overwhelming as it may seem, getting it right once will lay the groundwork for a repeatable content program. There are also many ways to outsource pieces of the supply chain based on what your organization is capable of. Market research, analyst content and intent data are all types of services that require an initial investment but are well-positioned to help with the breakpoints we’ve discussed.


To learn more about how to create content that resonates with your target buyers, watch From Origination to Proliferation: How to Maximize Content ROI, a webinar featuring expert insights from Enterprise Strategy Group™ analysts Christophe Bertrand and Melinda Marks.

B2B content, content marketing, demand gen

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