Thank you for joining today's chat. We're joined with Josh Machiz, Matt Heinz, Amanda Clarke, Marie Alonso & Shelly Bowen. Welcome to our chat on content marketing lessons learned.
Has content marketing come a long way? Or has it stayed the same?
The biggest change with content marketing over the last few years that I've seen is that more and more people understand what it is, so they are able to leverage it better.
I believe we have seen incredible growth in content marketing since the advent of Web 2.0. Ninety-three percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing—this is a statistic from The Content Marketing Institute; and 44 percent of companies have a documented strategy in place.
The whole experience - and it is an experience - of content creativity and content development has greatly expanded. It's an exciting time.
How does B2B or B2C content marketing differ -- are they also evolving too? Or are content marketers of both types still trying to figure this out?
Content marketing has come a long way, i'm happy to say that I see a lot less bad content marketing than I used to, but brands still need to hone their understanding of what content they should be generating and which they shouldn't.
Think in terms of what content means today, a broad term to cover - brand publishing, inbound marketing, social media campaigns, blogging, social engagement, video marketing, corporate storytelling, and let's not forget to include layers of public relations and corporate communications. It's now this vast ocean - we need to navigate it correctly to benefit from it.
B2B and B2C have some similarities and differences, but again those are semantics based on the audience itself. The delivery method is seemingly the same--it's just about what the focus of a campaign may ultimately be and what's going to catch the attention of the audience.
Great content speaks directly to the people involved, whether it's a B2B or B2C sales context. People make rational and irrational decisions, and are impacted by a variety of logical and emotional factors. The more your content strategy plans into that, the better it will perform.
The key in either case -- B2B or B2C -- is to add value for the audience, rather than think of it as a selling or advertising platform. The interesting thing is, I've seen more consumers (B2C audiences) accept content marketing lately, rather than be skeptical of it and dismiss it.
A CMO Council report found that "customer centricity has become an all-encompassing theme in 2014” and that chief marketers are trying to change their companies "internal cultural mindsets" and help their organizations become more adaptive to customer needs. — What are your thoughts? Is this something you find as well in your experience?
If great companies aren't customer-centric, then what are they?
Yes, I would agree that there is a greater focus on what the customer wants, and this is a theme that is really becoming present in companies large and small as it relates to content marketing. Many of my clients are looking to make a connection with their customers and prospective customers--before selling a product or service, and that is one of their main goals when they start considering what they want their content campaign to be shaped around.
Customer centricity needs to be baked into the DNA and core values of a company. You literally need to hire for it, so that the people throughout your organization have a natural and strong inclination to do what's right for the customer.
Agreed! What better way to build brand ambassadors and a socially engaged team, one that can carry a company's messaging and philosophy into other key areas of client outreach and communications.
I totally agree with that study, all marketers need to put on a new hat and look back at the plethora of information they have generated in house and how they can transform that into content that they can use to educate their customers in an editorialized digestible form.
Are content marketers getting better and measurement and reaching business goals?
Unfortunately, too many content marketers still focus on "superficial" metrics such as impressions, site stickiness, etc. These are great, but not nearly tied enough to revenue. One of the biggest challenges in front of content marketers today is to tie their important work directly to business objectives, such that the c-suite sees and believe in that direct line.
Yes, excellent point Matt!
It's a hard question, because I think the measurement tools are still improving, but I agree with Matt.
Content marketers need to ask themselves the question, "How will we know if we are succeeding?" I can tell you it probably doesn't relate to how many "likes" a post received.
I think companies are becoming more and more interested in measuring content strategy and content marketing success. Creating, curating, maintaining content can get expensive! ROI is more and more important.
Matt, you said measurement is not nearly tied enough to revenue. What do content marketers need to do to improve that?
A recent report said B2B marketers have no idea what they're doing
because a study found 85 percent fail to connect content activity to
business value. What are your thoughts on this — is there expertise to be had?
I think there are a lot of companies out there who don't know what they are doing with content strategy and connecting it to business value, but I think this is also why there is going to be a focus on filling a "Director of Content" role. Right now, it's the smaller companies (under 100 employees) who do this more frequently as compared to large companies (over 1000 employees). This Chief Content Officer of sorts is going to be in charge of making sure business goals and content strategy are combined.
Content value, we're talking ROI, lead generation, corporate elevation via thought leadership, inbound marketing success, it's a loaded bag! The thing is, the personality of the CMO, the B2B marketer, for example. I have seen some very analytical minds approach content strategy and success with a focus on lead generation, business mandates - making content perform. Others take a more content strategy approach, brand publishing, social storytelling, content curation. It's really a combination of these approaches - these personalities - that creates the best opportunities.
I think largely B2B marketers know what they are doing. One of the obstacles (opportunities, ha!) is getting everyone else to understand and support what they are doing.