In the digital world we live in, content and its marketing ride on the back of technology. So, it is imperative for businesses to ask themselves this question periodically — how mature is my marketing tech stack? More pertinently, how ready is it for 2020 and beyond?
A MarTech stack refers to a cluster of technologies used by marketers to execute and analyze marketing campaigns. MarTech plays a vital role in B2B marketing because of the complex buying patterns and customer journey involved.
As compared to B2C marketing, a business selling to another business has to tackle:
1+ people who participate in the buy process
The length of the decision-making cycle
Such complexities may push digital marketers, including content marketers, to look to leveraging new technologies in B2B marketing. While that may be a good thing, digital marketers need to simultaneously audit their existing MarTech stack in order to understand:
(a) if some of the technology has got outdated
(b) if some of the tools need refining
(c) if all the tools still “connect” with each other
If these two events — taking stock of your MarTech and introducing new tech — are not done together, there’s a high chance that your content marketing will end up with siloed tools, or even redundant ones.
Content marketing is a valuable part of the overall B2B marketing strategy. If done right, it can prove to be the most effective one for lead generation.
The implementation of this strategy has at least 4 stages requiring different technology to make it effective:
Marketing Research: You need to understand the profile of the audience you will be addressing. Get it wrong, and you’ll find yourself publishing content targeting the wrong audience. The tech required here is your customer relationship management (CRM) system, keyword research tools, search engines, etc.
Content Creation: The forms and formats of content need to be decided at this stage: whether it will be an email, a newsletter, a blog post, or a podcast, a short video, and so on. The tech here ranges from a content management system for your website or blog to a CRM, infographic software, visual content creation tools, editorial calendar templates, SEO software, and so on.
Content Promotion Software: Once you’ve created content that’s optimized, you need to put it in front of your target audience. The tech here is again your CRM, your website, your blog, social networks, videos, SEM, email marketing, and e-books.
Analysis: You need to analyze whether your content is hitting the right chord. For this, you need to rely on analytics tools offered by search engines or 3rd parties, marketing automation platforms, social media platforms, CRMs, and so on.
All the 4 steps are inter-linked, and so are the respective technologies, and all of this constitutes your MarTech stack.
Periodically, maybe every 6 months or so, your content, marketing and tech teams need to collaborate and examine the validity of the tech, its efficacy, its deliverables, its updation. Obviously, obsolete tech will have to be replaced to ensure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts.
Is Your Content MarTech Smart?
Which brings us to the question: is your B2B content marketing stack ready for 2020 and beyond?
Is your entire MarTech stack relevant and ready for your B2B content marketing? Also, are you aware of the new channels and content formats that are available in the market today?
One recent trend I uncovered after speaking to digital marketers, content developers, and following online conversation is that all-in-one solutions are getting more traction with content marketers today. Work smart, not hard is the guiding motto even where technology is concerned. This has been understood by CRMs, and they are now trying to offer everything under one banner, so to speak.
Of course, new content creation tools are top of every marketer’s list. Videos and infographics are old hat. “Live” video, which today does not require too many tools, and is easily scalable, is the new flavor, and is used to conduct interviews of industry leaders or influencers.
Immersive content is another development being slowly embraced by content developers and marketers. As I had mentioned in an earlier newsletter, the word “immersive web” covers an entire spectrum of “experiences” starting from VR, AR, MR and 360° videos. All of it sitting right in your web browser, with the “connect” being VR enabled headsets like Google's Daydream, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and AR-enabled mobile devices.
There’s little doubt that in the coming days, “smart” will be the operative word for B2B content marketers. So, get ready.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay