Introducing Content Intelligence

Ryan Skinner

A riddle: What's the difference between your content and mashed potatoes?

Answer?

Nothing.

To the technologies that host and deliver your content, the stuff they deliver may just as well be mashed potatoes as text strings or image files.
Even marketers who spend lots of time tagging content know the process is very fallible, often out of date, and only applicable to a handful of pre-selected contexts.

The technology simply doesn't know what the content's actually about, or how it works. It's just content.
Mashed potatoes.

The same applies to marketers across the business.
That great video explainer that got made two years ago during another CMO's tenure?
It may as well be a little portion of mashed potatoes buried under a mountain of other mashed potatoes.

Enough of the metaphor. You get it.

Content intelligence changes all that.
It is technology that helps content understand itself - what it's about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.

That may sound funny. It is. But it's not necessarily stranger than spellcheck in your word processor.
Thanks to a built-in dictionary, the processor knows that 'recieve' may not be right, and puts a little red line under it.

Content intelligence goes a bit further, in that it's continuously updating itself.
Iimagine a very smart dictionary that automatically absorbed neologisms and understood word choice given context ("you might want to say 'car' here instead of 'automobile'").
But the principle's the same.

And because content's the coin of the digital realm for all things marketing these days, content intelligence delivers a real kick:

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Empathy Is Key To Engaging B2B Buyers

Laura Ramos

It’s no secret, company websites are a key implement in the B2B marketer’s toolbox.  B2B marketers rate websites as the second most effective demand management tactic for building awareness (behind events) in our 2016 Business Technographics marketing survey. B2B companies also expect more than half of their customers to buy online within three years.[i] These trends show just how important it is for marketers to get the website experience right – and to produce Web content that builds empathy to engage buyers.

So, is anyone doing this well today?  And, if so, what are they doing to make their content more engaging? In “Empathetic Content: The Key To Engaging B2B Buyers” we looked at 60 corporate websites across 12 different industries to figure this out. Sadly, we found most fail to deliver engaging, customer-focused content. Sadder still, not much has improved since we first undertook this exercise in 2014.

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The Data Digest: Cinema's Lesson To Marketers

Anjali Lai

I love watching the annual Academy Awards — not only for the fashion show and blunders exposed on live TV but also to learn about how content resonates with audiences today and how cinema is evolving. In a world where people frequently face information overload and crave smaller bites (and bytes) of content, I’ve often wondered, what is the fate of the full-length film?

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals a curious story: Rather than reaching any type of saturation point, US consumers’ media appetite is growing rapidly: 93% of online adults frequently watch video today, more than 10 percentage points higher than two years ago. And their often-criticized waning attention span is not deterring consumers from sitting through full-length films; in fact, movie viewership is on the rise. However, our data shows that the viewing experience is changing: Movie watching is getting more personal as consumers increasingly turn to their home devices instead of going to the movie theater. 

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Your 7 content mega- giga- uber- supra- monster trends for 2017

Ryan Skinner

It’s Groundhog’s Day, when a sleepy landpig emerges from his little mancave and entertains questions from the press about astronomical phenomena!
As good a day as any to share a few content trends where we at Forrester expect to see considerable acceleration this year.

Here are your 6 content trends and one wannabe-trend that won’t trend in 2017.

The first megatrend
Direct-to-consumer pushes CPG out of the brand advertising comfort zone

Direct-to-consumer plays by the CPG giants, and even more so the CPG small guys, will put substantial pressure on brand marketers to invest in content and experiences that drive action. That means more content for richer websites, email programs, product documentation, and paid and unpaid executions. Mondelez’s made a $10 billion bet on this, and Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club signals their interest in more direct subscription-driven sales.

What does it mean?
Digital agencies with strong content chops and some ecommerce nous will be the winners, as brand teams ramp up their direct marketing capabilities.

The second gigatrend
Stunts and experiential executions set higher bars for hero and community content

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The AT&T Merger With Time Warner Opens A New Chapter For The Telco Industry

Dan Bieler

With Laura Koetzle

On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced its intention to acquire Time Warner for an equity value of $85.4 billion. The deal is essentially about the combination of quality content and content distribution, as it transforms AT&T into a content producer and owner — rather than just a distributor of content. Many telecom regulators restrict revenue growth opportunities for telcos in highly regulated telco markets. As a result, telcos are increasingly looking outside their markets for growth opportunities. This deal is evidence of this trend.

Telco CIOs Must Become More Strategic To Prepare For The Content Opportunity

The AT&T-Time Warner deal deserves special attention by telco CIOs. The deal needs to be seen against a challenging backdrop for the telco industry, where revenue growth from traditional revenue sources is hard to come by. Yes, AT&T already operates the largest US pay-TV business through its ownership of DirecTV. The Time Warner deal — should it materialize — would enable AT&T to offer its own premium entertainment programming to its pay-TV, mobile phone, and internet customers. AT&T’s intention to acquire Time Warner opens a new chapter for telcos, because the combination of quality content and content distribution potentially helps telcos to:

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Here Are Your Native Advertising Options Mapped Out

Ryan Skinner

Native advertising corresponds to many types of advertising, from paid search and social ads to the sponsored editorial offerings from media companies. Put simply, it’s confusing as hell to understand.

Success at native means both the user of a media site or app and the advertiser explicitly get value out of the experience. To understand if a particular kind of native advertising is going to be successful, marketers should assess four criteria: Format, reach, context, and identification.

The seven core types of native advertising** all function to varying degrees against these criteria.

For example, the paid search ad is a proven format that generates a reasonably predictable response rate; an in-feed ‘click to play’ cinematograph will be less predictable, and probably less reliable. Pinterest’s promoted pins provide considerable reach for some populations; a native ad appearing programmatically in apps and targeted for a specific behavior may have far lower reach. Likewise, there’s wide variety for context and identification.

To help marketers make smart decisions, we broke down all seven native advertising types against these four criteria, and explored compelling examples of each. For Forrester clients, have a look at the analysis – our Vendor Landscape: Native Advertising Technologies, Q3 2016. Not a client? This’ll have to do as a teaser. 

*** those seven types: paid search, paid social, in-feed exchanges, native ad vendors, publisher networks, publisher-specific custom native, and influencer activation.

Introducing the Forrester Wave for Content Marketing Platforms

Ryan Skinner

Once you scale beyond a couple contributors and teams, it gets messy.”
– Content marketing leader at Intel

That’s as succinct a summary as you’ll get for the pains of contemporary content marketing. Even as marketers flock to it, experienced practitioners know of content marketing’s side effect:  An unmitigated mess, with lots of people producing piles of content all at the same time, all over the world.

Cue the Content Marketing Platform, or CMP. CMPs emerged to bring order to this cross-channel, cross-organizational, cross-brand, cross-geography, cross-everything content mess, by putting all the people working on content in to a common and shared space.

It’s against this relatively nascent CMP category that we just published a Forrester Wave report.

[Editorial note: Forrester publishes approx. 50-60 wave reports per year, or about one per week on average. Of those, only about a dozen each year are entirely new. This is one of the latter.]

The CMPs assessed in this report – Contently, DivvyHQ, Kapost, NewsCred, Oracle, Percolate, PublishThis, RebelMouse, and Skyword – can cite content marketing giants as part of their client list like: GE, Pepsi, Marriott, BlackRock, IBM, Dell, Diageo, Unilever, MasterCard, and Colgate-Palmolive. And they are picking up new ones relentlessly; as a group, they’re doubling software revenue year after year.

To pin down exactly what CMPs do, here is Forrester’s definition:

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The convergence of commerce and content platforms gathers momentum

Peter Sheldon

Many brands and corporations today suffer from “two site” syndrome. The ‘.com’ site (often owned by brand/corporate marketing) serves to offer up a glossy magazine experience — designed to romance the customer with brand and product stories, while the ‘store.’ is owned by the eBusiness team and is designed around structured product content to optimize conversion and revenue goals. The result is often fragmented and poorly integrated digital experiences that confuse the customer, introduce unnecessary complexity, and ultimately fail to deliver on the broader digital strategy of the brand.

In the age of the customer, brands today seek a unified experience between the four stages of the customer life cycle (discover, explore, buy, and engage). For eBusiness professionals, this means tighter collaboration with their corporate marketing and brand counterparts to find ways to embed commerce (the buy phase) into the heart of the .com experience rather than building segregated eCommerce sites. However, this is easier said than done. The problem is that many brand and manufacturing organizations leverage web content management (WCM) platforms to create, manage, and measure targeted, personalized, and interactive brand experiences. However, these WCM platforms lack the robust commerce capabilities that organizations need to manage large, complex product catalogs and develop sophisticated merchandising strategies to sell online.

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