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Do You Really Need Content Marketing Software?

May 30, 2014 | By Jacques Begin

The amount of money that many organizations invest in content creation creates a sense of urgency around solving the content problem.

In my last post, I defined content marketing software and identified some of the visible players. Now we tackle the more difficult question: Is content marketing software something that your organization should consider adding to its ever-growing portfolio of marketing technologies?

These technologies arose from a market need to streamline internal content processes to deliver the high-quality content that audiences need, and to measure content assets’ abilities to meet buyers’ needs and help achieve lead generation objectives. SiriusDecisions estimates that up to 70 percent of the content that b-to-b organizations produce goes unused. The amount of money that many organizations invest in content creation creates a sense of urgency around solving the content problem. But is the answer to invest yet more money in content by purchasing content marketing software?

When considering buying a solution within this new technology category, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How high-quality is our content today? Best-in-class b-to-b organizations have a shared, operationalized approach to creating high-quality, high-impact, buyer-centric content.
  • Would our current technology stack support an improved, best-in-class content process? In other words, do you think you have a process problem or an actual gap in technological functionality? Process problems could include an undefined or poorly defined content workflow, content that is not mapped to the buyer’s journey, or an emphasis on the volume of content rather than its quality. Technological gaps could include a need for manual assignments and handoffs; an inability to tag, find, retire or measure content effectiveness; or a lack of dynamic content delivery capabilities.
  • Do I have a Web content management (WCM) system? How old is it? For companies that either lack a WCM system or have an old version, content marketing solutions can address current technology gaps and provide a testbed to prove the value of the additional capabilities and build the case for a more robust or advanced technology stack. However, marketers should ensure that they have the capability on their team or have a partnership with IT to manage new technology and to ensure technology purchases do not exceed marketing’s ability to leverage these solutions.
  • What are the potential benefits and challenges of a new content marketing software implementation? Benefits may include a simplified or streamlined content process workflow, increased collaboration, higher-quality content and increased functionality. Challenges may include the need to increase the size of the marketing technology portfolio; dealing with cost, resource and time constraints; and managing technology integrations and change.

As IT leaders know, even the best technology cannot replace a poor strategy or fix a broken process. For improving the content process, we recommend implementing the SiriusDecisions Content Model, which depicts a best-in-class, enterprise-wide integrated workflow process supporting high quality content creation.

However, even many organizations with an advanced approach to the content process take what we call a “Frankentecture” approach, deploying technology tools piecemeal to support the process. In fact, this is the most common approach.

For example, tools supporting content ideation can include marketing automation platforms (MAPs), sales force automation systems, wikis, file servers, marketing resource management (MRM) systems, asset management systems and collaboration tools. Similarly, downstream content processes (activation and curation) are often supported by an oddball medley of 10 to 12 different technologies, each with a different ownership and administrative/user structure.

Content marketing software providers seek to provide an alternative approach by aggregating this functionality and providing a fluid workflow through one or more phases of the content process with a single access point. The functionality these solutions provide will increase in importance as the buyer's control over their own marketing experience continues to grow in prominence – the self-serve buyer drives content demand.

SiriusDecisions expects to see more cross-pollination of content functionality into other, more mature categories, like MAP, MRM and WCM, with continued acquisition of content marketing software vendors by larger marketing technology suites to support this trend.

It is possible to execute a successful content strategy using either the “Frankentecture” approach or content marketing software. Ultimately, every technology decision must take into account what is the best fit for the organization and its goals. It’s important to remember that having the right people and the right processes is necessary to maximize the benefit of any technology.

Jacques Begin

Jacques is a Research Director in the Technology and Services practice at SiriusDecisions. He brings 12 years of IT research industry expertise and insight to SiriusDecisions' technology practice. He has proven success in account management, research and analysis, content development and delivery and communications and collaboration. Follow Jacques on Twitter @JacquesBegin22.

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