CMOs are in a race to transform their sales and marketing organizations to meet the 24X7 buying cycle of the modern consumer. To be successful they must overcome the challenges of and embrace the opportunity available to them in today’s increasingly digital communications environment. The key to successful transformation – enabling an enterprise-wide integrated marketing automation program fueled by a great content marketing strategy – begins with these three critical steps:

1. Break down the silos within and between sales and marketing teams and invest in a cross-organizational, systems-based marketing approach to reduce the inefficiency of working independently and relying on competing databases and having to produce unique content for each. The systems-based approach employs a single customer database to more effectively communicate with their customers in a consistent way using a common pool of shared content, assets and information.

2. Building stronger content marketing competencies is key for any brand owner to meeting the 24X7 buying cycle of the modern consumer. While it’s about contextually relevant brand story telling that both inspires and informs your audience – there must be a business reason for it…and must be integrated with the rest of your plan with a clear call to action and path to conversion. And above and beyond everything else – it must be shareable.

3. One of my favorite sayings is “without a map, any road will take you there” and that is why a well-designed and properly executed 12-18 month plan against which you can employ data analytics to measure and course correct, is critical to the success of any marketing automation program.

With CMO technology budgets set to exceed those of the CIO by 2017, the stage is set for software giants to offer even more innovative marketing automation tools that will no doubt be more effective and easy to implement over time – but until then marketers must continue to be digital evangelists in order for their organizations to adapt and ultimately transform to a well-oiled content marketing machine that can keep pace with today’s consumer.