For B2B Content, Sometimes Less Can Be More

Content CreationB2B marketers talk a lot about content creation. A lot of that talk centers around how hard it is to get enough content; we throw around phrases like “feeding the beast” and point to surveys that consistently show how a lack of content is a major headache for marketers.

At the SiriusDecisions Summit this morning, we got a case study that took a different, and refreshing, point of view on this topic. Joe Levin, Head of Sales Enablement at CDW, said the company had colossal content challenge on its hands: four content portals, more than 20,000 pieces of content and no unified search tools.

The company’s sales force desperately needed timely, relevant content to stay knowledgeable about the company’s offerings. Instead, they found themselves in a situation where looking for relevant content was like wading into a swamp in the middle of the night.

I won’t run through CDW’s entire journey solving this problem — that’s a much bigger topic that we’ll probably explore on Demand Gen Report next week. Instead, I’ll focus on one data point: As part of CDW’s new approach to using content for effective sales enablement, it eliminated 93% of those 20,000 unique content items.

Think about that. If your organization had to dump that much existing content, no matter how worthless it happened to be, what would the discussion sound like?

As Levin put it, those were some “really tough discussions” when CDE went through this process. But a less-is-more approach wasn’t just helpful for them, it was absolutely necessary.

“Less is more” is not something you hear very often when it comes to B2B content. But I suspect that many more companies will start thinking in these terms over the next year or two, both for their internal sales enablement content and their customer-facing content.

It’s still true that marketing organizations will struggle to produce enough relevant, high-quality, targeted content to feed their demand engines and their sales teams. At the same time, however, I think more organizations also need to have these difficult conversations about weeding out the massive quantities of sub-standard content that often burden their marketing and sales enablement efforts.

-Matthew McKenzie

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