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Content Marketing News & Analysis

What it Takes to Provide a Seamless Customer Experience

At the heart of creating a unified conversation across all digital channels are three core technology areas: web content management, e-commerce and mobile platforms. Each of these areas has its own nuances, but it’s the aggregate -- the integration of all three -- that will determine a brand’s ability to prosper in the age of the customer.

CMOs and CTOs are being asked to work together like never before to solve the technology integration riddle in order to achieve high levels of engagement, personalization and loyalty.

Marketers Like Oracle Cloud's Summer Releases #interact14

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It's one thing to spend a couple of billion dollars acquiring digital marketing technologies and another to make them truly useful to today's marketers.

Nobody knows this better than companies like Oracle or Adobe, who went on multiyear shopping sprees to beef-up their capabilities in email management, social listening, customer analytics, email management, omnichannel messaging and other areas. The big question was could these companies quickly integrate these products in a meaningful way amid a fast-changing marketing industry.

Oracle, a newer player in the "marketing cloud" arena, showed off a series of its summer releases today at its Interact 2014 show in San Francisco, drawing boffo reviews from many of the 1,000-plus marketers in attendance. Clearly, the unofficial theme of the conference is "we are very, very good at integrating," as marketing cloud General Manager Kevin Akeroyd told us last evening.

Social and Digital Channel Diversity Drives Engagement

2014-02-July-Mr-Softie.jpgMultichannel marketing -- interacting with customers through many channels at once -- is the flavor of the month in marketing. In theory, by communicating across social and digital (and perhaps physical and broadcast) channels, better engagement is possible. Like so many marketing buzzwords, one has to wonder if this is a lot of hype or if it is an important concept that everyone should integrate into their best practices.

From Data Driven Marketing to Collaborative Marketing

2014-27-June-Push.jpgAlthough there are many chronological views of the history of marketing, there are really only three core conceptual views of marketing that have been dominant in our lifetimes: Push, Pull and Collaborative.

In the beginning, there was push marketing. Historically, almost all of us have been taught a push method of marketing. We provided a value proposition, pitch or sample in one of a limited set of channels for consumption.

Marketing was mainly differentiated by the creative quality or educational value of the marketing approach, but it was notoriously difficult to calculate the value of marketing efforts. In effect, it was a Mad Men shotgun approach: shoot a bunch of pellets vaguely in the direction of a target and hope that your creative efforts hit a target.

Feed the Marketing Automation Machine with Interactive Content

2014-26-June-Hungry-Gator.jpgMarketing automation is a powerful technology. But to extract the most value out of it, you need two things: 1. content that magnetically attracts your audience -- both initially and throughout your nurturing program -- and 2. data that reveals the specific interests and characteristics of each prospect.

Without that, marketing automation is a blender with nothing to blend.

Content Marketing Fuels Pipeline Growth

Marketing automation has changed business as we know it. In the last decade, it has elevated the role of the CMO, helping marketing to be more productive and measurable through email and nurturing programs, scoring and reporting. Your marketing team more effectively manages all of your company’s contacts so they turn into customers more efficiently.

But how do you more efficiently engage new buyers? Turns out marketing automation has improved marketing, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of marketing optimization. There’s still a massive group of potential buyers who are not addressed by marketing automation alone -- those who have no idea your company or product exists.

ChannelAdvisor Helps Drive E-Commerce

ChannelAdvisor claims it "empowers retailers to sell more." Founded in 2001, the company is a provider of cloud-based solutions deployed by retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across various online channels. 

In early May, ChannelAdvisor delivered strong results for the first quarter, with revenue up nearly 30 percent — including core revenue growth of 32 percent, the fastest organic growth in seven years — and record bookings. But investors weren’t impressed: the stock fell as much as 25 percent over the three sessions following the report.

Organizations use the ChannelAdvisor platform to do everything from manage their product listings and check inventory availability to optimize price changes and select the best search terms across multiple comparison-shopping sites, e-commerce marketplaces and search engines.

The company supports roughly 150 shopping engines, 35 marketplaces worldwide and all of the major search engines.

According to CEO and cofounder Scot Wingo, customers usually come to ChannelAdvisor with an acute need to solve a specific pain point across their e-commerce businesses. They almost always want to automate and expand online, then optimize return on investment across the various channels. 

E-commerce is growing. Is ChannelAdvisor poised to capitalize on it?

Lessons From Military Intelligence For Content Marketers

2014-13-June-Military-Intelligence.jpgAs Father’s Day approaches, I’d like to tell you the story of how my father influenced my communication style. He was an Air Force officer from 1951-1978 -- when the Cold War was in full fever pitch. Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, KGB -- Dad had a front row seat to the whole thing and yes, that means he was pretty steeped in the world of military intelligence.

Now, before the oxymoron digs start flying, let me tell you, these people have impressive communication skills. Which, to my eye, is evidence of impressive intelligence.

Here’s what my father’s communication style taught me. 

Ways to Win - and Lose Prospects - with Content Marketing

Don't try to trick your readers. Just produce solid, honest content that can be corroborated.

When you're producing content for your company's blog or website, these are the pillars for success, according to Kentico Software CEO Petr Palas.

"Content emanating from all parts of a business must be consistent and honest in order to maintain the delicate trust of customers, especially in the age of the Internet where everything can be fact checked at the click of a button," Palas told CMSWire. "This just goes to show that content marketing and transparent marketing go hand in hand."

Some of the findings in Kentico's new Content Marketing Survey, the latest installment of Kentico’s ongoing Digital Experience research series, speak to these points about content marketing.

Does Google's Panda Pounce Have Any Bite?

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Just a few weeks ago, Google rolled out its latest Panda search-algorithm update -- otherwise known as the search update that could destroy your business.

Ever since, experts in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world have been struggling to understand the potential impact.

But it turns out that few analysts can quantify the effects of the Panda update. In reality, Panda 4.0 may just be another overhyped move by the powerful Google.

If E-Commerce is Your Engine, Content is the Driver

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Remember when e-commerce was all we talked about?

Ten years ago, it seemed as if every company in the world was trying to figure out its "e-commerce strategy”. Analysts were touting the newest 3D catalogs, where shoppers could twirl images around to check out sizes and colors from all angles.

And it seemed like every day there was a new startup offering e-commerce related solutions. Then, the talk turned to social and content, and the search for e-commerce optimization declined.

5 Types of Influencers B2B Marketers Need to Engage Now

2014-29-May-Horse-Race.jpgYou've seen the stats: 60 to 80 percent of the buying process is done before anyone wants to chat with your chomping-at-the-bit sales reps. To make matters worse, more people than ever are now involved in the process of buying complex products. So where does that leave you?

Most likely trying to craft a never-ending stream of content marketing to influence this very process. And that helps, for sure.

But let’s be honest. You need to do more than turn your brand into a publisher … especially as most publishers are having their own issues these days. With that in mind, there’s another approach to influencing the buying process while also supporting your could-be-better content marketing efforts.

Start engaging the influencers.

Buyers Want Technical, Accurate Content

The good news: 88 percent of business buyers believe that online content has played a major to moderate role in vendor selection. The bad news: Only 9 percent of buyers trust vendor websites. 

Pinterest Boosts Offerings for Marketing Tech Firms

Continuing its effort to turn its platform into a revenue generating service, Pinterest is enhancing its API platform to give marketing companies more insight. 

TechCrunch reported today that Pinterest is preparing to announce a new initiative that will allow businesses to gain a better understanding of Pinterest trends, along with the improved API platform. The new service is currently offered to a limited number of marketing technology firms, including Salesforce, HootSuite, Spredfast, Percolate, Piqora, Curalate and Tailwind.

The API is Pinterest's first effort to allow third parties to build over its services. The company will continue to offer its free analytics service.

By giving companies a more comprehensive understanding of Pinterest trends -- which images are most popular, which are driving the most traffic and which have been shared, or "repinned," the most -- Pinterest thinks companies could design more effective marketing campaigns and facilitate greater customer engagement.

Want Subscribers? Recognize Who Owns the Channel

2014-23-May-Social-Channels.jpgAccording to a recent study from EdgeRank Checker that analyzed 50,000 posts from 1,000 brand Facebook pages, Facebook’s organic reach has been on the steady decline over the past two years. Marketers should realize that this decline is not only natural, but unavoidable. While user growth -- the goal of every social network -- will increase the amount of social status updates, the total amount of time people have to view this content will not.

To remain successful, marketers have to understand the implications of social media data ownership and monetization. Brands have spent a lot of money building their "likes" so they could harness Facebook as a channel within an overall marketing efforts.

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