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The Rules of Distributing Content in a Boring Industry (Part 2)

By: Leslie Pinkerton, 1/25/18, Marketing Content Manager 

So, you work in a “boring” industry – one where the rules are so tightly regulated that it’s difficult to get things done quickly, or create content that’s creative and risky. The challenges facing marketers in highly-regulated industries like financial services are not easy to overcome.

This is part two in a series focused on those challenges. Part one explored the issues related to creating content in a boring industry such as insurance or any financial services brand. Read it here.

Distribution

Once you’ve cleared the hurdles that come with crafting relevant, brand compliant, and approved content assets for your “boring” company, you’re faced with the seminal question; how do you best distribute those assets without creating a bottleneck?

Because you’re used to rules, here are a few to remember related to brand compliance when distributing content in a highly-regulated AKA “boring” industry:

  1. Content must be easy to find and self-service

Where do you store your marketing content today? Ask yourself, how difficult is it for members of your distributed team to find the most relevant, pre-approved content whether they’re sending an email, giving a presentation, or looking to print a banner or flyer?

Pre-approved, compelling content should be stored in a secure cloud-based marketing portal where it can be tracked and controlled. Otherwise, if employees, partners, and brokers can’t find the right marketing piece they need, they often decide to “go rogue” and create their own. In one study, ¼ of sales teams say they always or often creates content without waiting for marketing to do it, unknowingly contributing to content fragmentation in the process.

There is a real and dangerous cost to content that doesn’t meet regulatory or brand compliance standards. Though 90% of marketers report content measurably influences revenue, almost one-fourth say their content is fragmented. To mitigate this cost and potential risk, streamline the distribution of content using a centralized Marketing Asset Management technology.

The larger a team of brokers or other field agents, the more customized asset requests that need to be managed by a small, centralized marketing team (often an individual employee.) When field sales teams or brokers need to request specific pieces of content and collateral, marketing teams can quickly become overwhelmed. This report found that 55% of B2B organizations leave all content marketing responsibilities to a small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing team who serves the entire organization. 24% of companies in this study defer to a centralized content marketing group that works with multiple brands/product lines throughout the organization.

The key for these centralized content management teams is to provide searchable, well-organized content hubs for their teams to use, rather than send the dreaded “could you forward me this asset” email request to marketing. (Marketers should be focused on compelling asset creation and promotion, not fielding requests.) This kind of efficiency can be achieved with a centralized marketing asset management portal to allow pre-approved content to be self-accessible from the field, even from a mobile device.

  1. Content must be locked down in some areas, but flexible in others

Personalization is key to content success, in any industry, for any company type. Our study found that those that are personalizing content finds it does a much better job of supporting customers on their buying journeys.

Within insurance companies, brokers need the ability to localize corporate marketing materials, tailoring them to meet the unique needs of the customer segments they serve. Personalized content greatly outperforms “unpersonalized” content, as buyers engage more with relevant materials.

But teams often inundate marketing teams with requests for customized content, and backlogs can quickly become a major problem, especially when each new asset must wait for regulatory approval before it goes live into the field.

How can a firm enable personalization across the business, at scale, without adding more staff? For companies in financial services concerned with regulatory and brand compliance, a MAM portal gives agents, wealth managers, advisors, and branch offices permission-based access to regulatory compliant marketing pieces that can be edited any time with client information.

Content can be personalized in appropriate areas such as the “name” field, while locked down in other areas of the asset (where risk of legal review is the greatest.) This kind of system makes pre-approved assets easily customizable by those in the field, and bring agility to an otherwise cumbersome process.

Agility itself has a major impact on brand compliance. A more responsive process of managing content helps to not only gain control over your brand, but ensure only regulatory-approved assets are used. Teams are better equipped to be faster and more efficient – and 77% of companies who demonstrate agility in responding to new or modified content requests report that their content is consistent with brand standards (compared to 37% of companies who are slow to respond.)

“Making sure we can control our brand, but yet give reps the feeling that they’re in control. That’s what makes the tool the best of both worlds.”

– Modern Woodmen Manager of Marketing Technologies, Lisa Hamerlinck. Read more about their distribution of compliant marketing materials using MarcomCentral.

  1. Content must be compliant across all channels

The term “content” can mean many different things to many different organizations. Today’s consumer uses a multitude of channels to discover information, and every company (even those in “boring” industries) must be prepared with relevant and approved messaging for each channel. The fact is, brand compliance extends to every content format.

Our study found the most request content assets from sales teams include:

  • Product flyers (74%)
  • Presentations (56%)
  • Case studies (47%)
  • Videos (39%)
  • Blog/social media posts (34%)
  • White papers and ebooks (24%)
  • Press releases (23%)
  • Invitations (18%)

Additional formats to consider include online ads, training materials, direct mail pieces, email messaging, catalogs, web content, product photography, bid submission support, podcasts, and display banners.

Managing brand compliance across multiple channels and formats may be more complex, but doing so helps you to meet the needs of the modern buyer, who expects a consistent experience both online and offline.

Summary

While the challenges of distributing content are complicated, new technology has made it easier to streamline the process. Just remember, to be successful:

  1. Introduce brand and regulatory-compliant content for all channels
  2. Have an agile approach to content customization
  3. Make approved content assets easy-to-find from anywhere

These rules will help you to empower your team without overwhelming your limited marketing resources, and make the task of content distributed in regulated industries a little less chaotic.

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