Apr 30, 2019
Hey, it’s Stiles from Brand Content Studios and here’s your Content Marketing Quickie for the week of April 30, 2019. I took a vacation last week, sue me. Let’s see what’s going on.
-Step right up my friends and behold a marketing technology elixir that’s so powerful it’s guaranteed to put a song in your heart and a spring in your step. Yes this amazing marvel of modern technology has what’s good for what ails you, no matter what that might be. Sure it’s a little expensive but can you really put a price on dreams coming true and complete peace of mind? In the old days what you just heard was called a snake oil sales pitch. Today, some think a lot of the marketing technology that’s rolling through town is also, a lot of snake oil. It’s a $100B-plus business. And if you’ve ever seen one of those infographics that shows every platform and player in it, your eyes are now probably glazed over like a Krispy Kreme. Mike Doyle at retailer City Beach is calling it out. He says these tools are complex, you get bit with implementation costs, and these platforms require staff expertise and the learning curve that comes with it. He thinks there’s a shakeout coming…or there should be. Gartner says Martech is now the biggest budget allocation in marketing budgets at 29%. The tech tools are being bought, but are they really helping anybody? Andy Lark’s the former CMO of Commonwealth Bank and Foxtel and he says marketers in big companies are “really struggling”. Is it because they’re stupid? Nope. It’s the tech products. He analyzed 50 martech systems over two years and found very few could actually deliver on their claims. They automate spam and call it marketing automation. Even if these tech platforms did work as promised, the buyers can’t get the maximum value out of them because they aren’t set up to do so. They don’t have a data flow system up and running, and, here’s the hammer I keep banging, the ability to create good content to run through these systems is nowhere to be found. There’s a lot of content stuff, it’s just lousy and doesn’t inspire anyone to do anything. So why are all these marketing tech platforms still out there and still selling? Because nobody who bought into one wants to admit they made a mistake, and the platforms know it. Lark says, “Marketers are being asked to do more with less, so they buy into digital hallucinations.”
So to follow up on that first story, let’s take a look at CMI’s 2019 Content Management and Strategy Survey on how marketers are using tech tools. The verdict of that survey agrees…marketers are awash in tech tool options, too awash. Well here’s the good news, businesses are getting a little more serious about taking a strategic approach to content as opposed to just putting on the lame show and hoping for the best. 76% take a strategic approach and 59% have a documented content management strategy. Well, I say that’s good news but 59% is still a crazy low number for people that actually have a plan. Most say their content strategy includes business goals, roles and responsibilities, measurements, desired outcomes, workflows, timeframes, and governance. The bad news is most businesses are struggling, there’s that word struggle again, to use tech tools that actually help them activate content at scale. The CMI survey shows 42% have “not yet acquired” the right tech to manage content. Another 42% got the tech but aren’t using it to its potential. The numbers show a lot of marketing technology was bought in 2018, kind of a boom year for that sort of thing, but marketers don’t seem to be getting better at using what they have. 78% said “we have some systems in place, but there’s a lot of manual work.” Meaning scalability ain’t happenin’. Now what’s the underlying gremlin that’s driving this latent dissatisfaction? It’s the digital hallucination we mentioned earlier. There was, and is, a belief out there that if you spend enough, you can flip a switch and the robots will do all your marketing and qualified leads will rain down on you forever. Need proof? In 2019, marketers are spending 29% of their budget on tech and 28% on humans. Half even said their business had “too much technology.” The reality that’s settling in is, if you don’t have humans that know how to make other humans care enough to take desired calls to action…all your shiny, top dollar marketing technology is a ghost town.
LinkedIn took a step toward looking less serious and getting more like Facebook, rolling out its own versions of Reaction Buttons so people can express themselves beyond a simple Like. They said it’s because LinkedIn users were asking for more ways to express themselves and make themselves understood. Were they really? Apparently, just saying you like something is wholesale unclear and confusing. Does a like mean you like like it or love like it or like that you posted it or like it cause it changed my like life? Who knows? So here they are, the new expression list is the obviously inadequate Like, then there’s Celebrate to praise a promotion or achievement – you can’t like that, you need to celebrate it. There’s Love, which is way more than like but don’t love too much because that’s inappropriate in a business setting. There’s Insightful which means you think there were some really deep thoughts. Lastly there’s Curious, which signals you’d like to learn more about the topic and start getting spammed on it. So how did LinkedIn arrive at these particular expressions? They analyzed the top words people used in comments, and apparently you used the word “curious” a lot. LinkedIn has not responded to my suggestions for additional reaction buttons including “Hire Me Dammit”, “Inflated Resume Available on Request,” and “Yeah I Get it, You Want to Be a Speaker/Author for a Living.”
Want to know the future? Your usual palm reader is on vacation? Well don’t worry because some members of the Ad Age Collective have predicted what’s going to impact content marketing most in the next couple of years. Maggie O’Neill at Peppercomm says brands will increasingly have to take a stand on divisive social matters. Sounds like a reckless unnecessary risk to me but that’s what Maggie sees coming. Hootsuite’s Greg Perotto says social media will go beyond marketing and become an integral part of how businesses deliver customer experiences. Troy Osinoff at JUICE says look out, data’s going to get scarcer and that’ll make it harder to target and retarget. Why? Because the tech giants will have to adapt to growing oversight about how they get and use data and because we’re all getting queasier about where and how our data is used. Kurt Kaufer at Ad Results Media predicts podcasting will rapidly expand, an easy prediction since that’s already happening. But he adds better measurement and attribution will have advertisers jumping in at an unprecedented rate. Fuze’s Brian Kardon thinks AI will play a greater role in campaign decisions. Again, not really a prediction but somebody had to stick the AI buzzword in there somewhere. It’s a law now. And my new hero Michael Lisovetsky at JUICE says all this tech will only make human creativity more important. The platforms and tech will grow commoditized but brilliant people with great ideas will always be rare and have tremendous value. The prediction is our industry will finally wake up to that.
That’s the Content Marketing Quickie for this week. It’s always like this, it’s short, you’ll get something to talk about at networking events, and it’ll get at least half a grin out of you. So hopefully it’s worthy of you subscribing. And we’ll see what happens next week.