Commentary

Content Marketing Vendors Aid B2B Marketing Agility

According to an analysis of Content Marketing Platform vendors from Forrester, by Ryan Skinner and staff, B2B marketers are producing more content and assets today than ever before, and investing in or considering a content marketing platform (CMP) to stay on top of all of their activity. The ongoing analysis of CMP vendors has identified unique differences between the offerings that B2B marketers should consider when choosing a platform. This report helps B2B marketing leaders determine when a CMP is right for them, which to consider, and why, writes Skinner.

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Key Takeaways

  • CMPs Power B2B Marketing Collaboration: One in two B2B marketing organizations are either using, expanding, or planning to get a content marketing platform to help marketing leaders and their teams stay focused and on top of marketing content efforts, says the report.
  • Authoring And Analytics Top B2B Needs: What B2B marketers need from a CMP differs from their consumer marketer cousins. Content authoring, asset management, content analytics and attribution, and personal management all take higher priority in B2B. 
  • NewsCred And Contently Emerge As Top Choices For B2B Content Marketers: Forrester's research team weighted an analysis of CMPs for a B2B marketing scenario. NewsCred and Contently topped the list, with Kapost close behind, and Sprinklr showing up as an unconventional but intriguing option. To assess a vendor, Forrester recommends B2B marketers weigh CMP capabilities against their needs. 

The Content Marketing Platform vendors’ aim is to unite and focus buyer engagement through valuable content, says the report, delivered across thousands of assets and channels where it expresses itself. Content-focused employees make up a large proportion of employees in B2B marketing organizations, supporting growing budgets for websites, email programs, advocacy, social channels, sales teams, channel portals, and eCommerce sites. CMPs aim to keep the teams that prepare and produce content in a splintered media landscape aligned with strategic marketing objectives.

Forrester defines CMPs as “Solutions that help marketing teams collaborate on a content strategy; orchestrate the numerous, concurrent streams of activity by content creators, curators, and distributors inside and outside of the company; and optimize downstream cross-channel distribution to key audiences.” 

And CMPs are growing in popularity, says the report. Between 2014 and 2016, leading CMPs' annually recurring revenue has roughly tripled. One in two global B2B marketing leaders surveyed by Forrester in 2017 said that they either planned to implement a CMP, already had one, or were expanding it.  Forrester sees CMPs as the collaboration engine of B2B marketing because: 

  • They help B2B marketing teams maintain strategic focus. As B2B marketing organizations mature in their efforts to engage buyers, there is an inevitable uptick in the strategic importance of content. Colin Day, vice president of global demand generation at FIS Global, describes a common B2B journey as “…focus gone from events and product silos to a content and customer engagement focus via digital channels. Our content spend grew five-times."
  • B2B marketers use a CMP to keep their teams aligned on buyer engagement strategies that bring visibility, order, and insight into countless streams of activity. The CMP users Forrester interviewed repeated one word most often: visibility. From the leader who said they have more than 17 workflow steps to get one article published to the leader who documented saving 100,000 hours of marketing time using a CMP, says the report. They embed structure via metadata and templates into marketing processes.
  • Sekar Puly, senior program manager for IT at Microsoft, told us, "Our challenge is bringing different marketing brands and field teams to a common taxonomy and common best practices."
  • CMP's are the ideal channel-agnostic environment to tag and apply structure to content, creating a de facto unified back-end to fragmented channel experiences. This extends right through to reporting, as many B2B marketers integrate their CMP with a marketing automation platform or CRM system to link content consumption with specific buyer profiles or target accounts.

For reprints of the Forrester study, please visit here.

 

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