Edward Boches of Creativity Unbound asked some influential folks who went to SxSW what was their one big takeaway from the conference.

Kristina Halverson, CEO of Brain Traffic spoke to the readiness on the client side to make process changes that will enable content marketing strategies.

“My takeaway? Clients are ready to coordinate their currently siloed interactive marketing initiatives–social media, SEO, web and email communications, and so on—by creating a content strategy that defines and drives their content and its lifecycle processes. The larger implication is that organizations will need to reinvent themselves as publishers, creating new infrastructures to support the ongoing creation and care of relevant, quality content.”

Embedded in this well-crafted quote is a broad range of new skills and processes that are going to take a lot of work to establish within all kinds of organizations.

I was struck by this late last week as I met with one of our social media teams. This group is focused on implementing the social media applications platform that we’ve developed with our DigitalSherpa line of products.

My focus was to dig in on results: The actual results that were being delivered, the results that clients were able to define they wanted and the degree to which our dialogue with the clients was aligned.

As we spoke, it was clear that most of our clients had very little understanding of the broad impact that creating consistent, relevant digital content would have on their digital footprint and web activity. As a result, the client service focus was on activities that, in the grand scheme of things, were tangential to the ultimate benefits they would receive from the service.

This is a manageable disconnect, requiring us to focus more closely on education, training and innovative measurements. But it is a disconnect nonetheless.

Across all of our markets, I am seeing a increased focus on driving web-based business activity. But within that emphasis, I see very little understanding of how to create web footprints that are designed to convert activity in leads; of how to use social media tools to increase your content presence on the web; and to what degree social networking can be used to enhance your connection with those prospect, clients and business peers who are interested in being part of your social community.

The transition that Halverson sees coming is more than the addition of functional roles. To fully leverage a digital content strategy requires a seemless alignment of content focus across all parts of the marketing spectrum, and highly coordinated execution — including information sharing — between all of the different constituents who are managing the content, including the traditional advertising functions.

The marketers who do that the best will have creative and literate marketing leaders who are able to tell a story, let it acquire dimension and let it loose from the defined constraints of a brand. This is the stuff of folklore meshed into marketing, and the thought of that evolution is unsettling, no matter how oriented you are to the potential of social media tools