Four Reasons Why Companies Don’t Adopt Content Marketing

Here are four reasons why companies don’t adopt content marketing. Most articles and blogs about content marketing focus on the steps that you need to take in order to transform your business. In fact I’ve written several in that vein myself.  Well I thought it might be quite fun to turn this around and look at the reasons why, in the face of all the compelling evidence, companies don’t adopt content marketing.

I’ve spent several years working with businesses on their digital marketing strategy in the UK, Europe and the US, where content marketing has been an important element. For some it has been a great success, for others less so and for some it’s a non-starter.

I’d like to explore the 4 major reasons that I think some business just don’t get content marketing.

Reason Number One – Don’t Understand

They just don’t get content marketing.  I’m not being facetious here but I’ve sat in many meetings where I can see that the person just doesn’t understand the concept of content marketing no matter how simple an explanation.  Now I do have to qualify this by saying that that type of person has typically come from a traditional marketing background rather than having been brought up in digital.  I might further qualify that by saying that if they are in the B2C space, some see content marketing as a less relevant approach compared to more conventional above the line marketing.

My conclusion is that if the person doesn’t get content marketing, move on.  It will be a long and hard journey to take them on and I suspect not a very enjoyable one.

Reason Number Two – Won’t Let Go

As you might expect, it relates to reason number one.  Those that have come from a traditional marketing background and can see how content marketing might work, don’t like it.  They have spent their careers working their way up the marketing ladder and now have their team that is responsible for the control and marketing of the brand, product, service etc.

And then along comes content marketing which advocates gathering content from a diverse range of sources and even worse, greater integration with sales.  Typically you will hear arguments that suggest that a person in customer service can’t possibly understand the nuances of the brand language that the company has invested so heavily in.  Of course from a content marketing point of view I would argue that someone in customer service is far closer to the day to day concerns of customers more than marketing will ever be, and are more likely to use the language that their customers understand and believe.

So for me, the issue is about marketing letting go.  They need to free up their control of marketing the brand and focus on the needs and issues that their customers face and are interested in.  Yes they still need to manage the strategy and monitor and measure the results but they’ve got allow for far greater input from other parts of the business.

Content marketing should also allow greater alignment between sales and marketing.  Thanks to the lead scoring feature found in most marketing automation platforms, then it is possible to set thresholds where a prospect moves from being a Marketing Qualified Lead to becoming a Sales Qualified Lead.  When a business can do this then you can seriously start to measure the Return on the Marketing Investment. And there’s a bonus reason.  For years marketing departments have been largely unaccountable for their not insignificant budgets.  Content marketing puts budgets under far greater scrutiny.

Reason Number Three – Results Aren’t Instant

In nearly all cases, a content marketing strategy takes time to work.  Customers need to move through the funnel from prospect to advocate and typically this will take time. Using Hubspot’s graphic the process might look like:



Again marketers who look for instant gratification through a great ad, or high click through rate dislike the fact there is a delay in being able to measure results especially as there is often a significant investment cost in starting the process.

And to this point I do have sympathy with.  Despite all the hype surrounding content marketing, it is still relatively new and therefore to some extent the jury is still out with regard to how effective content marketing is.  The facts, figures and stats don’t yet match the hype.

Despite this, content marketing is here to stay because the way people buy has changed forever and responding to this change needs a different approach.

Reason Number Four – Company Doesn’t Buy In

The final reason is that the business doesn’t buy into the concept of content marketing.  So you’ve done all the hard work, got the marketing director on board, the budget and the strategy have been identified but the board doesn’t buy in.

The reasons that they typically use to reject content marketing is that they are sceptical/fearful of the social media aspect of the strategy and that they worry that getting the involvement of other parts of the business is a distraction for them. Sales in particular can present the biggest obstacle to content marketing if they don’t welcome greater alignment with marketing.

If any of these are in play then it is unlikely that content marketing will work.  As previously mentioned, content marketing takes time and it therefore all too easy to present arguments against during that journey.

So in conclusion, just as it’s important to recognise all the benefits that content marketing will bring, it’s equally important to understand the barriers that might prevent a successful implementation.


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