Sales and marketing

Are You Using a Content Marketing Platform?

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Author: Peter O’Neill
Author: Peter O'Neill

At last October’s B2B Marketing Forum,Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester, delivered one of the more resounding messages — and gave us a serious wake-up call on our content marketing work to date. He told us, “Too much, not enough quality.” And our greatest quality issue is in our content distribution strategies.

This is indeed a serious challenge for B2B marketing organizations, which spend an average of 12% of their budgets on content marketing. We dedicate three times as much headcount to this as our cousins in consumer marketing. But Forrester’s recent survey of technology buyers revealed that 60% of these buyers believe that content that vendors provide is “useless.”

That’s a wastage of$4.3 million for a business with, say, $1 billion in revenues!

Now when they say “useless,” they don’t mean badly written. The content’s useless because it is usually the wrong information that gets delivered at the wrong time and probably to the wrong person.

What do you do if you have so many resources and so much waste? Well, consider a process improvement program such as outsourcing or even automation. No, not automatically generated content (though we do talk about the emergence of content intelligence and intelligent agent tools in the recent Forrester report “The Top Emerging Technologies For B2B Marketers”), I am thinking here of how to improve your content management and dissemination.

Enter the concept of content marketing platforms

Ryan just published “The Forrester Wave™: Content Marketing Platforms, Q2 2017.” The report targets B2C marketers, but it includes many useful guidelines for B2B marketing. And four of the nine vendors covered in the analysis have a significant B2B customer base (50% or more). These are Contently, Kapost, NewsCred, and ScribbleLive.

Forrester defines content marketing platforms (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.

CMPs are growing in popularity; between 2014 and 2016, the leading CMPs' annual recurring revenue roughly tripled, and our research shows that the true business outcomes of deploying a CMP include:

  • Maintenance of the brand's DNA as disparate teams bring it to life.
  • Visibility, order, and insight into the countless streams of activity.
  • Insertion of structure via metadata and templates into content marketing processes.

Three Types of Content Marketing Platforms

Ryan has defined three types of CMPs (see below) and scored the vendors using our Forrester Wave methodology. The report also provides interesting background on each vendor. If you have not yet done so, you should consider deploying a CMP to improve your creation processes and content distribution. With a CMP, you can also leverage more external content sources that fit your messaging strategy (content curation) and place your content more often on external sites.

By the way, my content marketing mantra has always been, “Aim for two times 50%” — have outsiders write half your content, and place 50% of it outside of your own website.  As well as reading the report and downloading the Forrester Wave spreadsheet, Forrester clients can schedule inquiries with Ryan; with Laura Ramos, principal analyst, who covers content management on our team; or even with myself.

Always keeping you informed! Peter.

Peter O'Neill is a VP and research director at Forrester Research, where he serves B2B marketing professionals.