Because the best marketers deserve great content.
The Business Case for Centralized Marketing Technology
Today, 50% of enterprise technology investment outside of IT is estimated to come from marketing. And as marketing executives and agencies continue to adopt a “campaign plus sustain” model, marketing’s role as a technology buyer and integrator has become more important than ever. Channels are faster and more diverse, teams need to manage and respond to greater volumes of data, dialogue and documents, and customers are demanding more value for their attention. In this environment, software is no longer just the business infrastructure that stores leads or triggers emails; technology has become a driving force behind strategy, content creation, brand identity and creativity. Implementing the wrong software can compound existing problems for workflow-challenged teams, forcing economic and technical buyers to evaluate not only features, but also a vendors’s flexibility, stability, capacity to scale, and API openness.
This week’s new Forrester Research report by Ryan Skinner, “Build The Case For Content Marketing On Efficiency, Differentiation, And Granular Metrics,” makes an even stronger case for why CMOs and Digital VPs need to consolidate social, email and other channels into a “single system story” to capture operating efficiencies, brand differentiation and a better multi-touch customer experience. With a centralized marketing technology stack, executives can build roadmaps and processes that connect ideas, communications and customer experience data so each informs the other.
Overall, Forrester highlights three key business benefits from moving to a more centralized marketing architecture:
1. Better resource efficiency and team alignment
By centralizing scattered content marketing activities across different teams, marketing leaders can enforce more consistency and data integrity around a shared strategic vision and brand voice. The social media team should store their artwork and resources in the same system as the blog editorial team, just as it makes sense for creative and media agencies to collaborate in one tool with a shared calendar, asset library and analytics. This reduces duplicate work, improves knowledge and content transfer across different groups and regions, and reduces unnecessary budget spend on narrow point solutions. By transforming marketing organization from producers and project managers of many ad hoc projects to a single content marketing unit, marketing leaders can generate major cost savings, as our global work with Unilever has proven.
2. Systematic content marketers make customers happier
People look for content that appeals to them and fulfills a need. Whether that need is entertainment or education, research shows consumers evaluate content based on objective quality far more than whether or not it was created by a brand. When marketing can build a consolidated and highly personalized view of how a customer experiences its offerings across mobile, web, retail, email and social, it allows the brand to deliver that customer more relevant, helpful content, day-to-day and throughout their buying journey. However, this level of unified customer insight isn’t possible without a central marketing system of record, where your analytics sync with your CRM, and your creatives can act on the same data as your SEO manager.
The benefits of centralized technology extend to paid media as well. As Forrester notes, “marketers who move with the trend toward pull-based experiences [also] achieve better results from their media spending.” A standardized, streamlined system for producing and planning exceptional creative is the foundation of effective advertising.
3. Content marketing scale generates ROI
Content marketing is an economies of scale game where brands don’t have the luxury of short-changing quantity or quality. Whether you measure the success of your content marketing in terms of social following, shopping cart conversions, leads, app installs or another metric, a key long-term priority should be developing an audience that provides consistent distribution and commercial benefit relative to the marginal cost of supplying them new content. According to Hubspot, companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 500% more website traffic than companies that don’t blog, while best-in-class content marketing organizations save over $14 dollars on every new customer acquired. Get your audience to scale, fine tune the conversion engine and the ROI will come.
Scale is, again, a place where technology and process standardization play a key role. Centralized technology provides automation, efficiency and consistency, exactly what marketing leaders need to see their efforts become more global, multi-channel and systematic. With the right technology in place, marketers and agencies can focus on their art while the system supports the science.
Recently, Julie Fleischer, Kraft’s Head of Content, Data, and Media noted her brand sees four times better return on investment from content marketing than targeted advertising at a scale of 1.1 billion annual impressions. In another example, General Electric’s social video sendup of a classic TV infomercial starring Jeff Goldblum earned over 700,000 views in its first 48 hours on YouTube, while the light bulb the video was promoting sold out on Home Depot’s site in three days. Rather than spending money on paid distribution, GE just produced a genuinely entertaining video and let viewers do the rest.
A traditional marketing organization might hope to hit that type of marketing home run once or twice. An organization like GE that systematizes its marketing efforts with centralized technology considers that level of performance the new standard.