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Content Marketing News & Analysis

5 Ways Pitch Perfect Should Inform Your Content Strategy

After nine months spent writing a book about content, content marketing and content strategy, I felt brain dead. My husband lovingly suggested we take our family away to the beach so I could “recover” for a few days.

While buying the usual sunscreen and other beach necessities, I noticed the DVD of the movie Pitch Perfect. I had watched the movie on a girls’ movie night, and thought it was super cute. Having two girls, ages 10 and 7, I thought it would be the perfect movie to while away the time we spent driving to the beach.

Content Targeting: It's the I's and O's, Not the 1's and 0's

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There’s no mistake that personalization and delivering contextual content to consumers across digital content platforms is a hot topic with marketers. As content and delivery of it in an omnichannel universe becomes an imperative that no brand can ignore, the need to target it to a specific audience (or even an individual) is becoming a business must-do.

The challenge, of course, is that consumers have learned about this as well. And their ability to filter out the noise and focus on the signal makes it increasingly hard for marketers to reach them.

Wait Before You Invest in Hubspot

Yes, it's fun to see a technology startup make it to an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The Hubspot team deserves credit for making it to last week's IPO, with its stock now trading under the symbol HUBS on the NYSE. 

But for investors, it's a totally different story. It's time to take a wait and see approach.

Do You Really Want To Do Content Fake Marketing?

The poster children of the latest content marketing craze are Coke and Red Bull. That should be a warning signal in itself.

Have Retail Analytics Crossed the Line from Cool to Creepy?

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A body of new solutions for retail businesses promises to both excite and upset consumers. These solutions deliver in-store (or near store) content to consumers that a vendor has decided might want to buy a product in the store.

The drivers are analytics software solutions that crunch data from a plethora of sources -- social, digital, point-of-sale and customer service -- in close to real time.

Consumers are organized into profiles or personas that can be scored by their propensity to buy a particular product at a point in time. Using these profiles, marketing professionals create and distribute personalized content that engages and, in theory, excites consumers enough to prompt a purchase. 

But could the technology just as easily agitate or annoy potential customers?

The Real Secrets About Content Marketing

Remember the good old days when a CMO could build a roster for his digital marketing team and fill it with search gurus and social media ninjas?

It wasn’t that long ago, but back then marketing was obsessed with channels, and more specifically, how ads could best be inserted into each of those channels.

Today, we operate in a converged media space. What we once thought of as a series of separate channels (paid, earned and owned) are really one big channel, and consumers, who see thousands of brand impressions a day, can’t remember where those impressions occurred.

While that might be troubling for an advertising model, the truth is that we live in a world dominated by content marketing. That means consumers don’t care where they find their content, and you shouldn't either, because what really matters is quality of your content operation — not the channel.

The Trick to Content Marketing? Keep It Simple #OOW14

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Content marketing isn't that complicated. Just create content, attract customers, close sales. Right?

Not really. Most marketers either miss some of the basics or put too much effort into creating the content itself, according to a pair of Oracle customer success consultants who spoke at Oracle OpenWorld yesterday.

In two presentations, Clayton Stobbs explained the fundamental of content marketing and his colleague, Lee Jorgenson, told how to get better results with less effort.

How to Build a Content Marketing Program from Scratch

2014-30-September-Start-Up.jpgA lot can change in a year. One year ago, I was the lone attendee from SAP at Content Marketing World 2013. We were looking for a way to create content that would resonate with our target audience and a strategy that would align with our goals.

Starting a successful content marketing initiative is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming undertaking. There are different ways to go about creating a program and the key is finding what will work best for your business.

No More Messaging in the Dark: Get Sales + Marketing on the Same Page

2014-26-September-Flashlight-Reading.jpgGiven the rise of marketing automation software over the past five years, today's B2B sales funnel is half illuminated and half in the dark. Sales and marketing teams have near-perfect visibility into how leads interact in the top half of the funnel and the insights needed to improve the marketing process, yet they remain blind to how content is supporting sales reps in the bottom half.

Storytelling in the Mobile Millisecond

2014-25-September-Next-Stop.jpg“Wrong number,” says a familiar voice.

Lost my wallet, found my desires.

Sounded much better in my head.

I should have brought a GPS.

What do these sentences have in common? They’re all six words long. And they all tell a story. With forums and Tumblrs devoted to it, and anthologies published each year, you’ve likely heard of the six word story phenomenon. It’s a deceptively simple exercise: tell a story in just six words or less. And it’s captured a huge following of writers and readers who love seeing just how much punch can be packed in one brief sentence.

B2B Buyers Need Great Content, Not Fireworks

2014-24-September-M-Mouse-Razzle-Dazzle.jpgFrom a host of breathless blog posts and enraptured articles, we all know what a B2C customer experience is supposed to look like: the customer enters a store and is immediately whisked away to a world of personalized activities that enhance the buyer’s connection to the seller. We often hear how this customer should be “delighted” or “enchanted.” It sounds a lot more like a Disneyland attraction than a shopping experience.

The B2B customer has a customer experience, too -- but it’s based on other considerations. B2B buyers don’t need immersion or enchantment: they have something they need to buy to keep their businesses running and profitable. They want to sustain their business, not be immersed in someone else’s.

Just the same, they have a customer experience. And if you’re paying attention to the way buyers are buying, it should be clear that the experience starts long before they make contact with your sales staff.

Personalized Content: Nice in Theory, Challenging in Practice

2014-23-September-Cookie-Cutter.jpgAmid the intense focus on vehicles for marketing -- social media, omnichannel merchandising and what have you -- heightened interest in content and its role in marketing is a welcome development. Perhaps content marketing hasn’t taken center stage before because everyone does it, and always has. If what you tell or show prospective customers has always been part of your marketing efforts, what has changed to justify the increased interest?

While the goals and concepts of content marketing have remained the same, the evolution of technology and the internet have largely taken over media and delivery channels, changing the execution of those concepts in ways that are forcing a radical rethinking of how best to engage rapidly changing target audiences.

What's the Real Deal with Marketing Content?

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Talk to any marketer today about her demand generation strategy and she’ll regale you with stories of the magical properties of content.

It’s consuming increasing amounts of money, according to a recent study by Starfleet Media. Specifically, marketers now spend 20 to 50 percent of their budgets on content creation — and 25 percent plan to spend even more in 2015. Already, about 7 percent of the survey’s respondents spend more than 75 percent of their marketing budgets on content.

Content is designed to engage buyers. It informs, inspires and illuminates while building brand credibility and preference. Done correctly, it can influence buyers to act in ways that favor the brand.

The aspiration is correct, but the reality doesn’t measure up: content has become a panacea. It’s the new elixir of customer engagement, applied in peanut butter fashion across every possible channel, in every imaginable form.

Wrapping Up Hubspot's #INBOUND14

HubSpot's INBOUND 2014 conference wrapped up yesterday in Boston, ending a week of events punctuated by higher-than-anticipated attendance and the company’s announcement that it would be launching a new sales platform. It includes a free CRM and what the company calls a “sales acceleration product” called Sidekick.

It's Time for Sales to Embrace Content Marketing

2014-19-September-Hugs.jpgEffective content marketing can revolutionize the way we sell. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) reported that 53 percent of organizations select and stay with a vendor based on sales experience over factors such as product features or price. Customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience, yet sales leaders continue to arm sales teams with the same content portals and tools as they have for years. Buying has evolved, but selling has not. It’s time for a change and content marketing can help sales get there.

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