Let's talk content marketing

"What's at the heart of content marketing?"
"Why does content marketing make sense for me?"
"How do I do it well?"

Chances are, you're asking yourself one or, indeed, all of the above questions. And that is why I have decided to join Forrester's Marketing Leadership research team as a senior analyst.

I've been working with content marketing since 1998, well before it was called content marketing, and most recently at an agency that specialized in it, Velocity Partners. Before that, I helped major Scandinavian brands like Kongsberg and ABB understand how to weave content marketing in their marketing strategy and mix.

Every time I discuss content marketing with practitioners, two observations regularly surface:

1. It's very powerful. The idea of doing marketing that customers want, that they even seek out, is enticing. It can create a virtuous cycle that makes everything else (social media, email marketing, events and campaigns) much more effective. Red Bull is the consumer brand poster boy for this, but companies as diverse as GE, Hubspot, American Express, Ford and IBM are also doing it well.

2. It's very difficult. Most brands have very little experience making content that customers want and seek out. Producing great content-driven experiences, repeatedly, over time and with a limited budget, that deliver visible value for customers and prospects, and that drive business outcomes for the brand, is hard. It's particularly hard for marketers accustomed to a product-benefit or brand benefit frame of thinking, and the big bang ad campaigns that go with it.

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Google Glass: What Marketers Should Know

A longer version of this post originally appeared on AllThingsD. Forrester clients can access the full report and the data it’s based on here.

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Facebook recognizes need for social, simplicity in social advertising

Today, Facebook announced a new road map for its social advertising solutions. Over the coming months, Facebook will evolve its ad offerings to:

Focus on business objectives. “Do Facebook advertising” is not a business object unto itself. Social advertising broadly, and Facebook advertising specifically, is just one piece of a broader mix of options to reach new audiences. Facebook plans to help marketers align their spending to their business objectives by offering solutions specifically for brand marketers, online retailers, and other types of advertisers.

Make social ads more social. Facebook’s data shows that ads on its site work better when they contain a social component (e.g., ‘your friend Nate likes this brand’) — so soon, all Facebook ads will contain social elements by default. This is part of a larger trend to make social advertising more personal than traditional display advertising.

Simplify its advertising options. As Fidji Simo, Facebook Ads Product Manager, said today, "it should be simpler." Today, Facebook offers a veritable Chinese menu of ad units that frankly confuse most marketers. To simplify ad buying, Facebook plans to slash its existing number of ad units in half to create a simpler ad-buying experience.

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The App Wars Come To Wearables -- Consumers Will Be The Winners

Ever since Apple launched its App Store in 2008, platforms have waged war on each other to attract the most app developers. In smartphones, iPhone and Android have pulled far ahead while competing platforms like Windows Phone and BlackBerry have lagged behind. On tablets, iPad beats any other competitor by hundreds of thousands of apps. But now, the app wars are battling on a new front: Wearables.

Wearables were one of the hottest topics at last week’s D:11 conference -- but as The Wall Street Journal noted in its coverage of the event, attendees’ enthusiasm for wearables’ potential seemed out of sync with the limited use of the devices today. I agree with that assessment: Wearables do have enormous potential, but they are niche products today, mostly single-purpose devices focused on health and fitness.

Wearables Have Potential, But Limited Penetration

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SalesForce/ExactTarget Deal Means More Complexity For Marketers

This morning, salesforce.com announced plans to acquire marketing technology ExactTarget for $2.5 billion, a 53% premium over ExactTarget's (ET) closing price on Monday, June 3, 2016. My colleague Rob Brosnan and I put our heads together to think about the ramifications of this deal for the marketer clients we work with.

We think the deal is a win for salesforce.com (SFDC). It brings SFDC market-leading campaign execution capabilities to round out SFDC access to customers (and their data) across the decision cycle. For B2B marketers, especially those already using ET’s Pardot, the deal brings good integration and development possibilities. But the deal goes much further than B2B, and it isn't so rosy for ET’s B2C customers. We expect:

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