Five-fold increase in throughput! Cycle time cut by 300%! Pieces per approver per month skyrocketed! If your company still uses paper or what I affectionately like to refer to as a misfit system1 for your promotional review, these metrics might make you envious. Here’s the problem: optimizing your promotional material review (“PMR”) system does indeed speed things up but it also contributes to a much larger and more expensive problem.

We’ve analyzed our customers’ data and we discovered a startling pattern. Simply focusing on process efficiency metrics in a pure LEAN and 6-sigma way hides a dark reality: the content still stinks, there’s just more of it. If 60% of content created by marketing organizations in B2B selling environments goes unused, and the throughput of that content explodes by way of a digital PMR system, the sheer quantity of “content zombies” lurking about in the basements of commercial teams often hits five-figures for typical companies.

If we believe what the research indicates – that content is the largest budget item for marketing – this content zombie apocalypse is costing companies literally tens of millions of dollars per year.  Here’s another interesting revelation gleaned by analyzing our aggregated customers’ data: if we know your revenue, we can approximate how many content items your company churns out.

Revenue × Total Marketing Budget 3% of revenue × 10% of Marketing Budget Spent on Content = $ Spent on Content

We’ve also seen that companies produce somewhere between 1 and 15 pieces of content per $1M in revenue.

Taken together, our hypothetical little theorem projects that for a $1B company (annual revenue), the marketing organization will spend $3M on content producing an average of 8,000 assets per year across global websites, collateral, trade show materials, etc.

Luckily for this $1B company, they have a digital PMR system so the velocity, “return to sender”, and performer metrics are all best-in-class. Before we go throwing out our shoulders from all the back-patting, let’s keep the maths going:

If 60% of this content won’t be used, we’ve just wasted $2.7M producing me-too brochures, uninspiring sell sheets, vanilla websites. Or perhaps we created wonderful award-winning materials but the sales rep, service rep, and the customer can’t find it or will never know it existed. We’re moving fast and we’ve optimized the transaction costs of collateral but we’re not moving the needle.

Let’s all commit to a little cleanup. Let’s take a hard look at the zombies we’re caring for and purge the content that’s crap. Let’s fix our real content problem by putting our customers and commercial teams at the center of everything we do.  Let’s treat collateral development like a publishing business and find ways to test the book’s story before seeking the advance from the publisher.  Let’s recognize that writing the book is only half the puzzle and that the other half depends on thoughtful promotion and distribution of the content.  Finally, let’s not forget that it’s the commercial win that matters (lead generation, awareness, closed sale), not simply the completion of our annual goals.

If you’d like to learn how Pepper Flow can provide metrics on the effectiveness of your content, contact us at hello@vodori.com.


1Misfits look like generalist software masquerading as PMR systems. Could be Sharepoint or another content management system but it lacks the purposeful architecture and features to adequately support a global PMR business process.