By Scott Abel published February 25, 2016

Why (and How) Marketers Need to Become Content-Efficiency Experts


B2B firms in the United States alone spent more than $5.2 billion last year on content creation efforts, according to a 2015 survey by Gleanster Research and Kapost. The same study found that the average mid-to-large B2B firm wastes 25 cents of every dollar spent on content marketing on inefficient content operations.

B2B firms in the US spent $5.2B+ last year on #content creation efforts says @Gleanster Click To Tweet

That’s a lot of wasted quarters.

Even if these numbers aren’t exact, one thing is clear: Marketers have a tremendous opportunity to save money by improving their efficiency.

Consider these additional Gleanster findings. You’ve probably experienced these frustrations yourself.

  • For firms investing in content marketing tactics, content marketing consumes almost two-thirds of their internal resources’ day-to-day commitments.
  • Despite the large commitment in time and money, B2B content marketers say their biggest challenges include their inability to meet deadlines (92%), redundant content creation efforts (90%), difficulties coordinating content creators (81%), and challenges repurposing content (64%).
  • Size plays a role in inefficiency. The bigger the organization, the more likely it is to waste time and money performing unnecessary and redundant tasks.

The news is not all doom, gloom, and frustration. On the other side, Gleanster found that organizations that invest in streamlining and optimizing content marketing production create twice as much content as their less-efficient competitors, and they do so 163% faster.

Companies that invest in streamlining #contentmarketing production create 2x more content & 163% faster. Click To Tweet

In short, making your content operations more efficient isn’t something to do someday. It’s something that you – and forward-thinking marketers – need to act on today. Not only will you save time and money, but the steps you take also can improve the experience your customers have with your brand.

Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Identify detrimental inconsistencies in your customer-facing content.
  1. Collaborate more fully with other content-creating departments.
  1. Move toward a unified content experience.


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1. Identify detrimental inconsistencies in customer-facing content

Content marketers must determine how to provide an exceptional content experience for two distinct but related groups – prospective customers and existing customers. When I say “customer-facing” content, I’m referring to both groups.

Unfortunately, the customer journey is riddled with inconsistent, frustrating, and confusing content experiences.

Once a prospect buys a product or service and becomes a customer, the content experience typically shifts. Content is no longer familiar, and the instructions don’t look, feel, or sound anything like the marketing and sales materials. Neither does the service contract, the warranty, the customer support website, the product documentation, or the training materials. For no good reason, the content experience changes drastically – and not in a good way.

That’s why organizations that recognize the importance of a unified customer experience are rethinking what it means for content to be customer-centric.

Ask yourself: What detrimental inconsistencies in my organization’s customer-facing content represent the biggest opportunities for improvement? What could I do today to improve the consistency in that area?

2. Collaborate more fully with other content-creating departments

Most organizations aren’t organized around the customer. Instead, they’re organized as companies always have been – around the corporate hierarchy, each department nestled comfortably into a walled garden. Protected. Separate. Different. Siloed. Cut off from the people who produce content in other departments.

Silos lead to content inconsistency and make it impossible for an organization to speak with one voice. Marketers working in isolation from customer support have no idea why customers call the help hotline. The training department creates content without any involvement from the documentation team. And the technical support staff has no idea what the folks in sales are telling prospects.

Recognizing that the content your organization creates has a direct impact on the customer experience – regardless of who created that content or for what purposes – is the first step to bridging silos. People start thinking strategically and discard old models. Collaboration becomes the norm. Customers notice.

Ask yourself: What department in my organization has the most potential to collaborate more fully with my department on customer-facing content? What could I do today to strengthen the connection between our departments?

3. Move toward a unified content experience

Customers don’t care what department the content comes from. Organizations need to deliver content that gives prospects and existing customers a consistent – unified – experience with their brand, regardless of which department creates that content.

Here’s today’s reality: Content that we viewed as post-sale (how-to videos, product documentation, and training materials) influences buying decisions. Savvy brands encourage all departments that create customer-facing content – sales, marketing, PR, technical documentation, support, and training – to work together to meet customers’ needs.

A unified content experience is not easy to create. It requires enterprise-wide strategy – and the technology to support the efficient production and management of content.

There’s momentum toward marketers prioritizing the efficiency of their content operations while focusing on the overall experience of the customer. In 2014, the Content Marketing Institute bought the Intelligent Content Conference from The Rockley Group. CMI did so because its leaders understand that content marketing must mature to thrive. And they know that, without guidance, marketers will make the same unnecessary and avoidable mistakes that other content professionals have made.

Ask yourself: Within my organization, who has begun to embrace the principles of intelligent content and the unified content experience? What could I do today to better understand and support those efforts?


These three suggestions are just a beginning. There are many steps in the journey toward an intelligent content approach, and the efficiencies and benefits it can lead to. For many teams, the journey has proven worthwhile in terms of both scalable processes and better customer experiences. For many marketers, that journey is still in its early stages. How about it, marketers? Pick a step, any step, and take it.

To learn more from Scott on intelligent content and multichannel publishing, attend his sessions at the Intelligent Content Conference March 7-9. Use code BLOG100 to save $100 off of the main event and all-access passes.

Want to expand your content strategy skills? Subscribe to Content Strategy for Marketers, our weekly email newsletter for forward-thinking marketers.

Cover image by Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo, via

Author: Scott Abel

Known as The Content Wrangler, Scott Abel is an internationally recognized global content strategist and intelligent content evangelist who specializes in helping organizations deliver the right content to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, on any device. Scott is the founder, CEO, and chief strategist at The Content Wrangler, Inc., a global digital media company that exists to help content-heavy organizations adopt the tools, technologies, and techniques they need to connect content to customers. Its flagship web property,, is an online magazine covering the people, methods, standards, ideas and trends that matter in the content industry today.

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  • Greg Strandberg

    $5.2 billion spent on content last year, 90% of which is no longer needed or useful.

    That’s pathetic. Who are these bigshots getting paid the big bucks, and for what?

    I feel sorry for firms that have idiots like that on their payroll. Look around you right now – chances are you can see one.

    What are they doing there? Why are they still around?

    Maybe as an industry its time to cut out the dead wood.

    Look around you right now – chances are you can see someone with twice the ideas willing to work at half the price.

    But that wouldn’t be redundant, now would it.

    My how pathetic we are.

  • UnveiltheWeb

    Hi Scott,

    This is a fascinating report when combined with an IBM study that came out back in October 2015. In it they stated that 90 percent of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success.

    Despite this widespread agreement, nearly 80 percent of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual.

    The biggest reason companies are experiencing this in my opinion and experience is because they have no foundation whatsoever. They likely jumped straight into creating content without a proper framework; and then the focus tends to be on themselves instead of a highly targeted audience where you create one piece of content, for one person, with one problem/need/desire.

    For example, I take my clients through the following questions in either a one-day intensive bootcamp or spread out over time so that they arrive at clarity:

    1. What are the “specific” problems you are passionate about solving?
    2. What are the tangible values your customers experience and how do they feel about the experience?
    3. What are the “specific” problems you solve for each tangible value?
    4. Who are you “specifically” solve each problem for (in detail)?
    5. How are your products or services are “a” part of “a” solution?

    This creates the foundation at efficiency. Without clarity this complexity and complexity creates inefficiency.

    Clarity creates simplicity and structure.

    I immediately have hundreds of highly specific, targeted pieces of content when I have the clarity created through these questions.

    There is no more guessing or wasting time; and the audience who is able, willing and ready to buy now shows up.

    Thanks so much for sharing this report. It’s extremely valuable!

    ~ Don Purdum

  • NenadSenic

    “Once a prospect buys a product or service and becomes a customer, the content experience typically shifts. Content is no longer familiar, and the instructions don’t look, feel, or sound anything like the marketing and sales materials. Neither does the service contract, the warranty, the customer support website, the product documentation, or the training materials. For no good reason, the content experience changes drastically – and not in a good way.” This is so true. We’ve been trying for years to instil consistency into organisations, I’ve been preaching that in the end just making great, even effective content won’t help you if other parts of your operations don’t acknowledge their existence, it leads to disappointment big time.