12 Quick Observations On The Content Marketing Vendors In That Supergraphic

Ryan Skinner

Two days ago, Scott Brinker published his annual marketing technology supergraphic. It's now grown to some 3,800 vendors.*

There are, by my count, 159 vendors categorized in the content marketing part of his uberstack.

Some quick analysis of this collection:

  • First of all, a blob of logos is hard to relate to (but it looks intriguing, so I know why Scott does it). To see the 'content marketing' vendors in a more usable way, I made a list in this spreadsheet (three relevant colums: all 159 vendors, the 89 new ones he added this year, and the 21 that departed, for varying reasons).
  • Only a small handful of these vendors would ever be considered as an enterprise content marketing platform. Nine of these vendors made that cut last year.
  • The longer and harder you look at any space, the more vendors you will find. Vendors that were new this year, but which have been around for several years, include DivvyHQ, Inpowered, Livefyre, Oracle Content Marketing, Nativo, Outbrain, Pressly, Sprinklr, Taboola, TechValidate, TrackMaven, and Uberflip. It's possible many other of the 89 'new' entrants are not new, but I don't know them as well.
  • Only three of the 21 departed from the space are 'presumed dead'. The remainder were recategorized, pivoted or acquired (Storify by Livefyre, and Docalytics by Contently). Some pivots are likely equivalent to 'presumed dead' (in the content marketing space).
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Sales Enablement Automation – A View Of The Landscape

Steven Wright

In the days before Waze, Google Maps, or even Mapquest, when I needed to figure out how to get somewhere in Southern California, I relied on the Thomas Guide. Still available for many areas, the thick, spiral-bound tome was the location bible. It was not the easiest thing to use. Everyone’s copy was dog-eared through constant flipping back and forth to compare the street name index at the back with the coordinates on the correct map-page at the front. It was time-consuming, and sometimes confusing if you didn’t know the exact version of the street – court versus place versus avenue – or what section of the street you were looking for.

The market landscape for sales enablement automation solutions has been in the Thomas Guide phase of finding solutions.  There are a wide range of vendors, with a correspondingly wide range of offerings and capabilities. That leads to the web-based equivalent of flipping back and forth trying to map what it is they really do to where you want to go.

The latest Forrester Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation Solutions and the related toolkit, which includes detailed profiles, looks at 18 vendors and calls out key functions and considerations when starting a search for a sales enablement solution. It discusses why B2B marketers should focus on content, understand how to present and recommend from the seller’s point of view, leverage engagement analytics for multiple audiences, and more.

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The State Of Mobile Marketer Tactics: 2016

Thomas Husson

I quite like this provocative sausage dog picture because it forces marketers to think differently about responsive web design (RWD). More often than not, marketers scale content down to fit a smaller screen; because they then claim that they use RWD and have some mobile apps, they think they have checked the mobile box. In fact, RWD was by far the most common tactic that marketers were using or planning to use in 2015: Only 9% of marketers we surveyed are not planning to use it. When fully implemented, RWD can improve the user experience, but more often than not, it’s implemented as a quick fix to the problem of multiple screen sizes. It often prevents marketers from thinking about the need to contextualize offerings for different devices. Customers do not necessarily want the same content across all their screens. However, a scarily high percentage of marketers we surveyed — 47% — admit their mobile services are primarily a scaled-down version of their PC services. In short: 

  • Marketers misuse mobile marketing tactics. B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny objects and, unfortunately, do not invest enough in adapting to mobile experiences’ core touchpoints -- like email or search -- that most consumers use to engage with brands.
  • Use mobile to transform brand experiences. Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To really differentiate themselves, they should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to-offline tactics.
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The “Quantent” Quandary

Brandon Purcell

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a teleconference highlighting IBM Watson’s success stories over the past year.  Most of them are under NDA, so I can’t go into the details, but I will say they covered an incredibly broad range of use cases.  One use case that I was hoping they would cover and didn’t was content analytics for marketing, aka “quantent.”

In the customer analytics arena, we often talk about “getting the right message to the right customer at the right time.”  This is only partly true.  Well-built and rigorously tested propensity models will deliver you the right customer and the right time.  Behavioral segmentation models may even specify the best channel to use to deliver the message.  But that still leaves the message itself.  Whatis the right message?

Content analytics begins with entirely different data than customer analytics, and the two analytical streams merge just prior to the point of action.  Whereas customer data contains information about customer profiles, transactions, and behaviors, data about content characterizes tone, length, wording, dates, products mentioned, type of offer (if applicable), and other key themes within the content itself.  Most importantly, content that has been subject to A/B testing also creates data about the success of the message on an individual customer basis.

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Don’t bet on your video subscribers

Ryan Skinner

Here’s an interesting discrepancy: Marketers and agencies fuss over how many people subscribe to a brand’s YouTube channel. Yet, the ease of subscribing suggests little commitment, and YouTube buries notifications of new videos from subscribed channels.*

Thus, in the context of a report I’m writing, I hypothesized that YouTube subscribers were worthless; brands that had collected thousands of subscribers had only a number. Nothing more.

And I tested the hypothesis.

  1. Take 60 brands with at least 1K YouTube channel subscribers (the average was 350K).
  2. Count views for a dozen videos, each between two weeks and 12 months old.
  3. Establish an average view count, and divide by the subscriber total.
  4. Graph it.
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The Age of the Customer Hits The Media World

Ryan Skinner

Do you hear something?

Is someone banging on the door?

Yes, I think someone’s banging on the door. Pretty hard actually.

In fact, it’s deafening.

The knocking is empowered digital media buyers. The slowness to answer is the media ecosystem of publishers, media agencies, and broadcasters.

I shared the video below a week ago on LinkedIn and people clearly like it. It’s the parable I just stated, but acted out. Listen to Gabe Leydon of Machine Zone (big digital media buyer) slam the media ecosystem. It’s painful. Cathartic. Iconoclastic. Focus on two segments: 11:00 -> 11:45 and 12:55 -> 13:55.

This is the advertising ecosystem’s reckoning with the age of the customer. The customers want to cut through all of the layers of BS that advertising has traditionally wrapped itself up in.

I had a few takeaways given Leydon’s analysis:

  • Media businesses are trying to be technology platforms, but are mostly houses on fire.
  • Analytics agencies are the new media agencies.
  • Media agencies are just houses on fire.

If you’re a marketer, pull your media-buying capabilities close to your chest. Invest in better analytics. And do everything in your power to get a measurable, direct-to-consumer sales channel on its feet, if only to provide insights to the marketing that feeds your indirect channels. 

Boomerang: More Than Just a Weapon

Melissa Parrish

Forrester has a long tradition of boomerangs— former employees who re-join the company—and I joined their ranks back in January. It’s been an incredibly busy first few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The quick re-immersion has meant that I’ve started to solidify my coverage area (social marketing primarily with a bit of overall marketing strategy sprinkled in), had some great collaborations with the rest of the social team (Erna, Jessie and Sam), and already have an updated piece of research to share.

We’ve just published our updated Vision report for the Social Marketing Playbook, Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR. With the near-ubiquity of social—both in consumers’ lives and marketers’ plans—it’s more important than ever to ensure that you have a strategic, measurable approach to social marketing. This updated report has new data and examples to help you make the most of social across the entire customer lifecycle, making the just-checking-the-box style of social planning as unnecessary as it is obsolete.

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Instagram Loses Its 'Insta.'

Jessica Liu
Instagram announced this week that it is joining Facebook and Twitter and ditching its clean chronological feed in favor of an algorithm-based personalized feed. No one is surprised given Instagram has inched closer and closer to Facebook since its 2012 acquisition. 
 
What does this mean for users? Instagram's initial appeal was its simplicity: mobile only, pictures only, square size only, chronological order, and one-way friendship. In the last year, Instagram has abandoned those simple principles by introducing an inordinate number of ads, varying visual sizes, and auto-play video, seemingly resulting in a 40% drop in interaction rate in 2015. The big social networks seem committed to complicating their feeds as their companies mature and financial expectations grow. For purists, replacing an elegant user experience with a bogged down interaction is a turnoff. My own Facebook and Twitter usage nosedived once their feeds became messy; Instagram, currently my #1 social app for time spent, is facing a similar fate. 
 
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Hot Off The Press: Mobile Marketing TechRadar -- Master Your Mobile Technology Decisions

Jennifer Wise

I’m not going to bore you by reiterating how “mobile” everyone is these days, how the vast majority of online adults in markets like the US, UK, South Korea, and more own mobile phones, or how mobile is so pervasive with 30 billion mobile moments happening every day in the US alone.

But I will say that mobile moments are the new battleground to win, serve, and retain customers. With mobile in play, consumers move from brand discovery to exploration to purchase in seconds. And they expect this experience to not only be possible – but positive. To deliver, mobile demands that brands adopt a new engagement model and new technologies. 

But finding a solution isn’t as clear as knowing you need one. The landscape is constantly changing. There is an overwhelming number of vendors. And wading through the industry jargon to understand what vendor solutions will actually do can be trying.  

We have heard these pain points loud and clear. And to help, Julie Ask and I have investigated the 12 most important mobile marketing technologies that you need on your radar this year in our latest report: TechRadar™: Mobile Marketing, Q1 2016 (subscription required). These technologies span your mobile needs from creating websites and apps, to grabbing consumer attention with ads, to engaging your customer with messaging, to the analytics to track success and optimize. Focused more on eBusiness than marketing? We have a report with 11 of the most important categories tailored to your needs: TechRadar™: Mobile Commerce, Q1 2016.   

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Millennials Arrive In Force!

Mary Shea
We’ve been hearing so much lately about the changing dynamics between B2B buyers and sellers. Not only are buyers engaging more and more online as part of their evaluation and purchase process, but sellers have the ability to track prospects’ behaviors and interests in order to contextualize their outreach as well. There is another exciting transformation underway...the arrival of the Millennials in force!
 
Today, Millennials make up a third of the workforce; by 2020, they will be half. This generation of employees may work more to your advantage than you think. Born in the digital age to tech-savvy parents, Millennials have experienced everything from the pseudo Y2K crisis to the 2008 downturn to the social media explosion in the mid-2000s. They don’t quite function or react in the workplace like Boomers and Gen Xers, and they have different needs. But, there’s an upside and a divergent side to be considered with them.
 
Not having the right tools or enforcing restrictive schedules can work against sales and marketing leaders…and don’t forget to give and take feedback at each step of the way. And what about the rest of your sales team? Is it possible for Millennials and more tenured reps to work synergistically? You bet! Make sure you encourage collaboration through reverse mentorship and in-tune management approaches, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The right tools and technologies are only the tip of the iceberg in thinking about how you can support your sales force both today and in the future. 
 
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