The Opportunity Cost of Product Marketing Content Gaps

After writing an article on the ROI of outsourcing demand generation content, I was asked if the same numbers and reasoning held true for product marketing content. I definitely write a lot of white papers, core website messaging and even sales enablement content so there must be value there too. But what are the actual numbers?

Read on for the hard numbers on more than doubling the output of product marketing with ⅙ of the cost of a product marketer.

Where are the Product Marketing Gaps?

To answer this, let’s first start by referencing Pragmatic Marketing’s Annual Survey where they break down how product marketers spend their time.

How an In-House Product Marketing Resource Spends Their Time

According to Pragmatic Marketing, on average product marketers work 46 hours per week. Their time spent breaks down into the following categories:

  • 30% of time spent in meetings
  • 23% of time is managing email
  • 20% of time supporting development efforts
  • 10% of time helping on sales deals or talking with customers
  • 9% of time creating and reviewing marketing materials
  • 5% of time talking to non-customers in non-sales situations

The Result of Rushed Content Creation

Product marketers are hired to do much more than just create content, but I’d bet money in Vegas that marketing teams are expecting much more than 9% of their time would be spent on content creation! Product marketers are pulled in many different directions and that helps give them expertise, but if they are rushing to meet content deadlines, that expertise goes out the window and the results are missed deadlines or sloppy assets.

When I’ve audited assets for companies, I’ve seen lots of whitepapers where information is copied and pasted in from various sources and the result is unreadable, let alone of value to the target buyer. I also see lots of assets that are focused so heavily on feature/function that they don’t engage the target buyer on the value they can realize from the product or service.

But the real result of the busy schedule of product marketers is missed opportunity. All the content they could have created had they had more time in their day is what could move the needle for companies. They just need someone to help take the expertise from their brains, organize the thoughts and create killer content.

How Can a Contractor Help Fill the Gaps?

First, you indeed need a “contractor”. Hiring a copywriter to write a single asset is never a good result. To make this work, a long term relationship should be developed with a contractor who understands your product and your target audience. While this may sound like a difficult ask, more and more marketers are leaving corporate america to participate in the gig economy. And that means there is more high level, experienced talent available.

How a Content Contractor Spends Their Time

  • <5% of billable time communicating – this is typically brainstorm meetings on assets and emails as content is reviewed. Many companies also will assign a single person to meet for 5-10 minutes weekly with the contractor to discuss deliverables and deadlines.
  • 20% of billable time learning your business – this is done by reading your content and talking with your experts as needed in order to create each asset.
  • 75% of billable time is spent creating your content – that’s uninterrupted writing time. Yowza!

The Result of Contractor Content Creation

Contractors only work when they are fresh and focused on your project. They don’t have coworkers interrupting them mid thought. This means they can create excellent content at a very fast rate.

How fast? A knowledgeable contractor can draft a 10 page whitepaper in 8 hours. Yup, that’s one day.

The ROI Calculation for Product Marketing Content

Let’s put some real numbers into the equation and calculate your costs.

The Real Cost of In-House Content Creation

According to Pragmatic Marketing, the average earnings of a product marketer in the US is $123,000. If you look just at the hotbeds for software companies, the average goes up to $150,000, but we’ll stick with the US average for the sake of this calculation. If we consider a typical benefits multiplier of 1.5, the typical product marketing resource costs $184,500 annually.

The Pragmatic Marketing survey says the average work week for a product marketer is 46 hours. Assuming 49 weeks worked a year and 9% of their time is spent creating or reviewing marketing content, this equates to 203 hours/year spent on content. That isn’t a lot of time when you consider that a whitepaper or webinar will take a product marketer around 20 hours of work to create thanks to all of the interruptions in their day. That means, you get just 10 assets a year from a product marketer (if you’re lucky).

Unlike the demand gen marketer example, a product marketer is adding value outside of the time spent on content creation, so you can’t assign their salary to that effort. The cost argument here is more about content production expectations.

Content What Demand Gen & Sales Needs What Product Marketing Produces
Whitepapers 8 (4 TOFU and 4 MOFU) 4 (1 TOFU and 3 MOFU)
Webinars 12 6
Sales Enablement Documents, scripts and email templates for every asset 2 meetings to verbally explain what’s what
Special Groups Content for channel marketing and customer marketing Nothing

Assuming a major asset brings in 400 leads, 10% of leads become opportunities and 10% of opportunities close, this means that for each missed asset your missing out on 4 new customers. Calculate for yourself how much revenue an asset generates so you can quantify your own opportunity cost.

The Real Cost of Contractor Content Creation

To handle product marketing content like thought leadership assets, you’ll need to look at a higher end content marketer. Let’s take the example of a $150/hour contractor. This resource will likely take around 10 hours total to create a whitepaper. Product marketing will still need to be involved for 2-4 hours to help brainstorm an outline, provide references and edit the final result.This means you could add another whitepaper to your demand generation efforts for $1750 total (including contractor and internal product marketing costs).

If you hired a contractor to increase the output of product marketing by spending the same 203 hours that product marketing currently does on content over a year, this would cost you $30,450 annually. So for just ⅙ the cost of another product marketer, you are more than doubling content production! Because remember, a whitepaper via a contractor takes 13 total hours versus 20 when done in-house.

Contracting Amplifies Revenue Output from Product Marketing

Of course many readers will look to find error in my assumptions, they are assumptions after all. Each company and resource is different. However, it is hard to ignore the potential to double revenue from content with an annual spend of $30,450. Who wouldn’t make that investment?

This is why the gig economy is growing so rapidly. It’s time that companies recognize this and figure out how to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to get more high quality content for less cost.

 

About the Author Trisha Winter

SaaS marketing executive turned consultant with Focused B2B. Helps B2B companies identify target buyers and create focused content to drive traffic and conversions. Expertise in B2B content marketing, account based marketing and product marketing.