Content Marketing News & Analysis
| Monday Sep 15, 2014
While pointless debate continues in organizations as to who “owns” the customer experience (the customer, of course!), the responsibility for nurturing and shepherding the continuous customer experience belongs to all teams that impact customers. At the core, much of the work should be accomplished by strong, continuously evolving collaborations between marketing and sales. Unfortunately in many companies there are still ridiculous and harmful walls between sales and marketing -- and a lot of political nonsense, mainly tied to the "blame game" when forecasts aren’t met and deals aren’t closed.
In reality marketing and sales have intertwined roles for engendering positive outcomes from customer journeys, whether they realize it or not.
| Friday Sep 12, 2014
Content marketing, when done right, should guide consumers based on their specific needs, buying preferences and online behavior. Much has been said about the quality of today’s content, but not enough has been said about how well you understand the consumer compass -- a specific interest combined with level of intent. Only then can you determine what content to serve, how to serve it and when.
| Wednesday Sep 10, 2014
Getting the right content to the right person at the right time was first evangelized by the programmatic ad buying platforms. It was a vision that stemmed directly from a doe-eyed interpretation of their capabilities.
Now content marketers have latched on to the same philosophy, without fully appreciating an important distinction: Content marketing, unlike ad buying, generally assumes an active and intelligent customer who wants to educate him or herself (not simply a target for the right sales reminder at the right time).
| Tuesday Sep 9, 2014
It’s no secret that the information pools that buyers can tap are overflowing. It’s time, however, that we start looking at the customer buying process with a different perspective and begin focusing on purpose-driven content that creates distinguishing experiences for audiences.
| Friday Sep 5, 2014
What do your customers think about your brand? How is your brand different to them than your competitors? What is the first thing they think of when they hear your brand's name? Or do they not even recognize it?
| Thursday Sep 4, 2014
Most companies don’t really understand their customers. “Big data” is not the answer. Even if organizations collect piles of data from every customer interaction, they still aren’t getting a full picture of what’s going on.
What’s the path to deep customer insight? Customer Journey Thinking. Organizations must stop looking at customers through their internal lens of interactions and focus their attention on customers’ overall journey.
| Wednesday Sep 3, 2014
Marketers spend a lot of time and energy on content marketing initiatives -- understanding our customers, developing content that speaks to their needs, establishes our credibility, and distributing it through multiple channels. Our goals in doing all of this are to drive demand for our products, traffic to our site and leads into our funnel. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, success (or failure) to engage and convert web visitors with content all comes down to relevance and timeliness.
| Tuesday Sep 2, 2014
The 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.
| Thursday Aug 28, 2014
Does 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.
| Monday Aug 25, 2014
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.
| Thursday Aug 21, 2014
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?
| Wednesday Aug 6, 2014
"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.
| Monday Aug 4, 2014
I 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?
| Thursday Jul 31, 2014
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.
| Wednesday Jul 30, 2014
Content 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.