Content Marketing – All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

There is A LOT to consider when it comes to content marketing – strategy, goals, tactics, technologies, vendors, budget. SHEESH. The days of posting a quick blog post and calling it a day are so over.

At ion, we are ALL about industry research and market perspective.  The same energy that swarms a bunch of teenage girls at a One Direction concert is the same energy that swirls around ion when we get our hands on some really good research. It makes us giddy.

Recently, Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb (with Jessica Groopman and Charlene Li) turned out a report chock-full of Content Marketing gold, The Content Marketing Software Landscape: Marketer Needs & Vendor Solutions.

Content Marketing is so hot right now (am I right, Zoolander fans?), and Rebecca et al took a deep look at the vendor landscape in terms of marketers needs and the solutions to address them. Plus…she talked about the idea of the Content Marketing Stack.  

By 2016, there will be “content stack” offerings in the marketplace — end-to-end solutions akin to ad stacks. Currently, no single vendor has an end-to-end solution. Eventually, a few will partner, merge, acquire, and/or collaborate to create a total solution.

The graphic depicting the hierarchy of the stack struck a chord with us. Like any vendor, your first instinct is to find your spot on the totem pole, er, Content Marketing Stack – to put it in perspective in regard to the rest of the market so you can begin to see the big picture.  We loved that we found multiple layers in the stack that has specific application to us – most notably “Curation” and “Optimization”.

It’s not only important to know where you fall as a vendor, but where your customers are.  In our case, we know that an overwhelming majority are in the Refine & Govern phases. Rebecca states that the Refinement phase is “about getting smarter, optimizing processes, insights, targeting, and program deployment”. The Govern phase is where our customers really shine. In this phase “focus shifts towards…its ability to creation experiential, engaging, multimedia content rather than simpler stories and informational pieces”.

Yep…just like our most successful customers. They are looking for ways to scale their content and make it more impactful to engage and grow their audiences.  They use our platform to build marketing app experiences that create interactivity and experiences – experiential, multimedia, engaging content. Content created with a view towards reusability and repurposing across paid, earned and owned.

They’re like the gutsy schoolgirl who takes her traditional tartan plaid school uniform, cuts it, redesigns it, accessorizes and creates something every other student wants – to show their personality and originality.  Just replace tartan plaid with a boring white paper, catch my drift?

The report also touched on integration. All vendors should know their integration capabilities as well as those of their peers/competitors.  

Integration considerations are essential because of the pending consolidation driven by converged media, as well as the evolution of content stacks.

Every customer’s marketing technology ecosystem is different, a big playground if you will with kids running in a million different directions.  Some want the slides, some want monkey bars, and some want the swings.  But they ALL need to play nice together in order for it to be a good experience or the teacher will lose her marbles and throw everyone in timeout.

We would fall in the Marketing Cloud grouping, as a publishing & embedding tool. And looking at the table above, we have played nice on the playground with many vendors in the other groups for the majority of our customers.

This research gave incredible perspective on the content marketing landscape.  The only thing that would have made it better for us would have been inclusion in the vendor list (insert humble self-promotion here), but because the marketing game is constantly changing rules and players, many of us aren’t always on the radar – in the right place at the right time.  Regardless, it provides a great overarching view of the industry.  It’s one that we are stoked to be a part of and look forward to seeing how the stack continues to evolve layer by layer.

Our summary points are just the tip of the iceberg – and it’s a pretty massive and impressive iceberg.  There’s no way to do this report justice in a single blog post. You really need to check it out firsthand. The bottom line is that Content Marketing is crucial, no matter how you stack it!

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