Content is messy. Despite being a critical piece of secondary research for product marketing managers, it can create problems in its own right.
- It’s overwhelming – there are thousands and thousands of pieces published every day.
- It’s time-consuming – finding the right content to develop insights from is like finding a needle in a haystack.
- It seems like a luxury – unless you’re looking for something specific, it can feel like content mining is taking the place of more important tasks.
- It requires a process – once you find the right content, you need to be able to remember the context, where it came from, and the document what you got from it.
That’s just the start of the list. When you combine how important it is content research is with the complications in getting it done, it’s no surprise that mistakes can be made.
Not fixing mistakes is only the second biggest issue, though. The biggest is not even knowing they exist so that you can correct them. Here, we discuss six of the most common mistakes that product marketing managers make when mining content for information, insights, and intelligence.
5 most common mistakes in product marketing content research
Relying on a narrow band of trusted sources
One of the many ways that we try to minimize overwhelm is by embracing processes and activities that are battle-worn and tested. Unfortunately, some of these activities can seem like time savers and shortcuts, but pale when held up against our goals.
Using a narrow band of trusted sources for secondary information – especially well-known, major media sources – can appear to be a straightforward path to the information you need. But saying a source is trusted is the equivalent of declaring that you agree with the premise and perspective espoused by the publication. Worse, it removes the opportunity to be challenged and to form stronger hypotheses and viewpoints of your own.
As strategists, product marketing managers need to look at information from every angle to form insights, and then pull their experience, knowledge, and the specific perspective of their organization together to develop intelligence. If you’re simply gathering information from a small set of known sources, you are by default, adopting the perspective of the media outlet or journalist who produced the piece. It’s crucial to adopt a broader perspective with your secondary sources to ensure you’re not missing information or living in an echo chamber.
Failure to note provenance
Another challenge that faces product marketing managers is being able to tie back the research and insights they develop to the original source. While mining content, PMMs may uncover and record key insights or important stakeholder perspectives. But when the time comes to leverage that information, it can be difficult to find the originating information. This leads to three problems:
- Wasted time: PMMs must repeat the research already done to identify the source
- Ruined credibility: Without being able to identify the provenance of the information, a PMMs credibility may be questioned
- Legal or financial implications: Tying back an assertion to a third party may shield your organization from liability from erroneous claims, but only if you can prove where they came from
Only performing targeted research
Another method of minimizing the list of things needing to be done is to limit secondary research to the projects and problems immediately in front of us. When a major piece of communication is due, sit down and dive into content mining to understand the landscape. When that’s not the situation, set research aside until another big project appears.
It’s self-preservation. The problem is that when you’re not continuously monitoring content about your market, adjacent markets, and competitors, you have the potential to miss important indicators of shifts or movement in your industry. Missing these indicators can lead to stakeholder misalignment, value proposition changes, and indicators that can lay the groundwork for future directions.
Using outdated tools, high maintenance tools, or not using a tool at all
Because PMMs are under a constant barrage of work and responsibilities, it can be easy to take an “any port in a storm” approach to content mining. However, that frequently leads to using outdated or underpowered tools, or tools that aren’t getting the support and updates that they need to bring in current and relevant content.
Other tools in the space can have features that are important upstream and downstream in the go-to-market groups but aren’t a good fit for content research. These tools are usually easy to spot as ones that are manually configured and complicated to keep updated.
Of course, the biggest mistake is not using a tool to help with content mining at all. Without some kind of tooling, PMMs can quickly become overwhelmed with the daily influx of information or lose track of information within an arcane filing system that involves text documents, folder structures, and homegrown insight databases.
Failing to document content mining process and strategy
The modern business world is frequently in a state of flux, but the events of the last few years combined with the Great Reshuffle have made a few things bubble to the top of a company’s priority list. One of those items is continuity.
Whether experiencing the slow down of work by an employee being suddenly out on sick leave for weeks or scrambling to do knowledge transfer from an employee that’s leaving or been promoted, documentation of processes is crucial. This includes research.
What search terms do you use? How do you exclude unnecessary information? Where do you look for stakeholder discussions or competitor news? Where is all of that stored? How do you access it? How do you collaborate on it? There are important questions that need to be recorded so that another team member can get quickly up to speed when needed.
Skip the mistakes and get better product marketing insights
Frequently these mistakes are coping mechanisms or workarounds to put out the many fires in a PMMs day. Lack of time, information overload, and a driving need to be able to answer questions coming from product managers, salespeople, and even their own team can result in any one or a combination of these mistakes – we say they are common for good reason.
Yet, there is a way to focus your research, store and document the information you find, and collaborate and share the insights you find quickly and easily, all while saving hours a week and keeping ahead of market information. That way is Cronycle. Cronycle’s industry-leading AI finds the content that is most relevant to you and allows you to filter it for the context that you need, simplifying and accelerating regular content monitoring.
From there, the information you uncover can be saved to Boards, giving you the ability to annotate, comment, and collaborate on information for insight discovery and intelligence development. Finally, use the platform’s powerful tools and integrations to share your insights with stakeholders through newsletters, by publishing to websites, or even within other collaboration tools, like Slack and Teams. All for less than you thought possible. Contact us today to schedule a demo and see the flexibility and power Cronycle can bring to your product marketing team.