The Business Case For Content Marketing Innovation

Is there a business case for content innovation? It seems like a silly question — and maybe in your business it’s unrelated to building the business case for content marketing.

But it’s often not.

Building the business case for innovation is a huge piece of starting to introduce an innovative process like content marketing into an organization.

Why? Because it’s quite simply getting permission to fail. There’s no way to prove return on investment (ROI) before you innovate, because by definition it hasn’t been proven before.

In order to build more innovative and disruptive successes in your marketing, you have to have the capability to tolerate more failure. Here are some ideas you can put into place to start to introduce these concepts into your organization:-

Build Adaptive Content Marketing Experiments Separate from the Core

Allow a small experimental team or effort that can operate outside the bounds of your traditional measurement schemes. A skunk-works? Yes, but by whatever name, dedicate a small percentage of your budget to fund these efforts — and make it a point to NOT measure it against traditional factors. EVERY single thing done in this area should have permission to fail. Maybe it’s just one or two things — but let it be innovative, and truly new.

This puts a little more pressure on your budget (we know). But try this out. Make a promise to your boss/CEO/CFO. For every $1 you save through marketing efficiency (and we’re about to show you exactly that), tell them you want to put half into an innovation fund. Point out that 20% of every Google employee’s time goes into just this kind of innovation, and all you are looking for is to spend what you save.

Generate New Types of Networking Groups for Innovation

There’s a wonderful book called Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm by Henry Chesbrough. In it, he and his editors discuss the idea of designing innovation through both internal AND external sources. Consider setting up a group of people you don’t otherwise communicate with and generating new marketing ideas. The IT guy in the corner might just have a good idea.

This is an incredible way to also generate new content marketing ideas. Using technology, or just good old-fashioned footwork, to turn your entire company into a band of roving reporters who can not only spot content, but create it, can be an innovative way to turn a large number of employees into content marketing machines.

Build an Actual Content Marketing Innovation Business Plan and Share It

This one seems a bit counterintuitive, but building a structured process for innovation is more than gathering a new group in a conference room and throwing sticky notes up on a wall (although that’s fun). Consider building a structure and plan for your innovation. The contents of this plan should be:

The Challenge? — What challenges are you trying to solve?

What Shall We Stop DoingWhat will we stop doing in order to accomplish this?

The Ultimate Outcome — What is your dream outcome of this process?

The Risk — What’s the risk if you fail?

Who’s Involved — Whose unique perspective do you want here?  If internal, what permission do you need from their managers to participate?

The Budget — How much will you spend on this endeavor?

Deliverables — What are you shooting for? One new idea per month? One experiment per week? (Yes, we know this is hard to determine, but setting goals is the only way to measure any progress).

The Big Red “Oh Shit” Button — If life or business issues get in the way, how can you push a big red button without disbanding the whole idea of the innovation business plan? How can you mitigate the damage that a missed quarter, an unexpected client departure, or a cut in marketing might cause?

Action Plans — How will you execute each experimental idea and how long will you give it to work or not? (Develop a template for this so you don’t have to format each plan.)

Do Or Do Not – There Is No Try

In the end, the reality is that you may or may not get “permission” to do this in your organization. But, here’s the thing. If you try — and succeed — you will start crafting a job that is about so much more than just incrementally decreasing costs in marketing spend and managing a budget. And if you try — and you fail — well … guess what? You will have innovated.

That leads us into creating a culture that’s ripe for implementing an innovative process like content marketing. And, here, at some point — regardless of your culture — you will need to build a business case for how content marketing will work in your organization. As part of your innovation plan, it might be just one small test. Or, you might really believe your content strategy will work and you need a case to move a great percentage of next year’s budget into it. Maybe you’re looking for internal rationalization for the business you own — or maybe you need to convince a stonewalling CFO in the giant corporation you work for. Whatever the case, you have some work on your hands.

Is your organization looking for help developing a business case for content innovation. Learn more about our corporate education and advisory services.

Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS.

Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
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Author: Robert Rose
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS. Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.