Sparks from a sparkler

Five Key Themes From Content Marketing World 2014

We recently attended the annual Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. This is a top notch event attended by 2,500 marketing and content professionals from 50 countries. Most of the attendees are marketers who understand the role of how content itself, content management, and content technologies are critical to the evolution of today’s business.

At Experis Global Content Solutions, we have been on the forefront of pushing our industry to think broader across the global content value chain and to start breaking down those barriers between marketing, communications, and technology groups. It has been rewarding to see these barriers start to slowly crumble, but we definitely have a way to go! Two key quotes and five key themes stood out for us at this year’s event.

The keynote speakers started the conference with two great quotes that are important for us all to keep at the forefront of what we do. I am paraphrasing a bit, but here goes:

“If the change on the inside of your organization is slower than the change on the outside, you will fail.” This perfectly set the tone of the conference. We are facing an important time. With all of the various digital channels, technologies, and content being created, we have to embrace change and innovate.

“Done is better than perfect.” This doesn’t mean we don’t shoot for quality, but that we must be agile. We won’t hit perfect. Things are moving too fast. We need to make progress, accept our progress, and continue to evolve.

Whenever I attend a conference, I also focus on what are the big takeaways and themes that I am hearing across my peers (if I am presenting) , vendors, or participants. At CM World, we heard five key themes to remember as we evolve our space.

1. The Importance of Storytelling: We need to break the mold that we are delivering a message. We need to think bigger and tell a broader story that might consist of individual messages. We’re selling experiences, not products or services.

2. The 7th Era of Marketing – The Customer Experience: Rob Rose spoke about how organizations will need to think holistically about their complete brand experience and will need help navigating these waters.

3. Talent Gap: To deliver great customer experiences, the right talent is required. A talent gap currently exists in content strategists, user experiences, and creative resources to create and deliver broader holistic experiences. We’ve seen this trend, too, with a growing demand for these roles.

4. Significant technology evolution has created confusion. Everyone has heard me reference Scott Brinker’s marketing technology infographic that depicts over 900 technologies. The range of technologies were on full display at the conference: segmentation tools, marketing management systems, marketing automation tools, globalization tools, WCMS platforms, and others. A lot of these products are really powerful. But when I was talking to vendors and clients, I heard a disconnect on when to use the right tool and on how these tools should work together to optimize the content value chain. This is a big opportunity for us as content professionals.

5. Analytics, Analytics, Analytics: Measurement has always been a critical for marketing activities. It was very clear that the good marketing organizations have a well-defined marketing analytics approach and discipline. The reliance on good marketing data will increase. The number one axiom that we all need to be preaching to our clients is to make sure you are collecting your audience data correctly.

Change is upon us. We need to embrace the change and evolve our craft.