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Content Marketing News & Analysis

See the Whole Customer to Guide the Decision Journey

2014-02-September-Watermelons.jpgThe basis of the customer decision journey is that the customer follows a decision path that leads to a purchase. Vendors provide small pokes, prods and nudges along the way, often in the form of engaging content that keeps the customer moving toward buying something. The content needs to be highly personalized and based on demographics, individual buying patterns and other aspects of the buying experience.

While “the journey” is a better metaphor than many previous ones used by marketers, especially the militaristic “campaign” or industrial “funnel,” it tends to belie the complexity of the process of turning interest into purchase.

Digital Marketing's Easy, Until You Try It

2014-28-August-Rubiks-Cube.jpgDoes this sound familiar?

"Marketing is no longer an art; it has become a big data analytics engineering discipline where every marketing dollar can be optimized for maximum impact. All you need to do is give away a free version of your product and crank up the ______ <select one: ‘digital,’ ‘content,’ ‘social,’ or ‘automated’> marketing engine and you are good to go. Display ads to free users or offer a premium paid version of your product and you too will soon be able to sell your company to ______ <select one: ‘Google,’ ‘IBM,’ ‘Microsoft,’ or other company> and retire. Hire Millenials to feed this amazing new automated marketing. These folks totally ‘get’ the social stuff because they already spend all their waking moments on _______ <select one: ‘Facebook,’ ‘WhatsApp,’ ‘Instagram,’ ‘SnapChat’>.”

Unless you're completely off the grid you have surely seen some variation of this theme. Sounds great … if only it were this easy.

Is It the Right Time for HubSpot's $100M IPO?

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Digital marketing technology is all the rage in the CRM space and HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah must believe Wall St. knows that.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation provider filed for an IPO late today hoping to raise as much as $100 million. It will trade as HUBS on the New York Stock Exchange.

The IPO market for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors is lukewarm at the moment. But investors like General Catalyst, which owns 27.1 percent of the company, and Matrix Partners, which owns 17.1 percent, must think that now is the time.

Get Better Content Marketing Insights, FREE

Yes, the headline reads like link bait. And it may or may not work. Will it put you off so much that you’ll scroll past it without reading this article at all? Or will the word “free” be just enough to win a few seconds of your attention?

And if so, how do we know that it’s “Free” and not “Marketing Insight” that’s causing you to read on? Have our competitors tried tactics like this? How did they fare?

What if we knew the answers to questions like this before we even started writing?

The Key to Measuring Content Marketing ROI

Content Marketing, 2014-06-August-REVS-COST.jpg"How do we measure the return on our content investment?

This question made a lot of sense 4-5 years ago. What we today call “big data” was in its infantile stages. Data collection was robust, but costs were high and usability was poor. Expenditures related to content were roughly 3 to 4 percent of marketing budgets and users weren’t used to the idea of companies producing content. Simply put, most of us didn’t really want or care to measure the results. The ability, desire and necessity of measuring content value just wasn’t there.

With content marketing expenditures increasing to approximately 30 to 40 percent of corporate marketing budgets, content marketing initiatives need to be grounded in repeatable and informative data structures. In short, as the budgets grow, so does the need for attribution and accountability.

Understanding how to assign attribution and accountability is where things get tricky. However, it doesn’t get tricky in the way most might think.

Content: Say Something New

2014-04-August-Yawn.jpgI have a confession to make: I’m bored.

I’m bored of seeing the same regurgitated articles every week. I’m bored of our disciplines debating if we should be called content strategy, content marketing or inbound marketing. I’m tired of us fighting about how important content strategists are or should be, or need to be. I’m bored because instead of showing me the work, you talk about how you would approach the work, or should approach the work. Why don’t you just show me how you approached it and what you learned?

Shift Your Thinking About Content Marketing

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For B2B marketers, there’s no question that content marketing is a key initiative. And these days, it seems everyone is sharing his or her content marketing best practices, promising marketers that if they could simply do X, Y and Z, then success is all but assured.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can never win at content marketing using best practices alone. 

Survey Finds Gap in Targeting for Marketing Content

Thumbnail image for 2014-30-July-Target.jpgContent marketing is so perplexing to today's marketers that we've published 140 stories on the subject in the last year and a half. Yet a lot of marketers seem frustrated by lackluster results.

A new study (registration required) by the 614 Group and OneSpot may help explain why content often misses the target. Marketers aren't aiming for the target, or at least not very well.

Overall, 54 percent expressed dismay with their content marketing efforts. About two in three respondents said their content marketing efforts aren't driving business as well expected, and 56 percent were unhappy with the way results were measured. 

6 Ways to Derail Your Content Marketing Program

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Almost every business claims to have a content marketing program. But modern content marketing is not simply a matter of slapping up content as a part of your marketing program. Real content marketing is a modern thing, catalyzed by a combination of social technology, business analytics and the changing needs of customers.

A real content marketing program is developed in concert with the needs of both sales and marketing. It acts both as education and to generate leads. It should be interactive. And smart content marketers figure out ways to solicit ideas for content from the customers and from outside the business.

Stay on Track: Avoid Valueless B2B Content Marketing

digital marketing, Stay on Track: Avoid Value-Less B2B Content Marketing

Forrester's report on B2B content marketing concludes that B2B marketers don't focus enough on a buyer's lifetime cycle and need to establish a formal editorial board to advance content marketing programs.

So let's get to work.

CMSWire caught up with Laura Ramos, the author of the Forrester report, "Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity," for a Q&A on the topic.

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.

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