Why the Future of Content Marketing Isn’t Content Marketing

4 minute read

Upland Admin

When global analyst firm Gartner named Kapost a leader in its inaugural evaluation of content marketing platforms, the Magic QuadrantTM for Content Marketing Platforms, we were understandably excited. Naturally, we’re confident that we’re the best in the business, but validation from a respected third party proved we weren’t the only ones.

But what really struck us about the report wasn’t Gartner’s rundown of how Kapost’s features stacked up against those of its competitors—it was the report’s “strategic planning assumption” for the future of our very industry:

“By 2021, the term ‘content marketing’ will be defunct as all marketing content rises to the high-quality expectations of attention-limited audiences.”

That’s quite a statement from Gartner. It’s also something we at Kapost have believed for years.

Content Marketing Might Be Dead—But Content Isn’t

But what we mean when we call for the retirement of the term “content marketing” isn’t that content is no longer important. Quite the contrary: we believe that doing content right is more important—and more complicated—than ever.

“Over the years, we’ve seen marketing innovators applying the principles that have made content marketing successful—relevant, customer-centric messaging that creates a cohesive experience across channels—to every team and activity under the CMO’s purview. These leaders are not looking to invest just in software tools; they’re investing in a new operating model: a content operation.” —Kapost CEO Toby Murdock

So what does that mean, exactly? Organizations are transforming their content efforts from simple one-off creation and plugging holes to a system that enables creating a seamless customer experience across channels.

The Rise of the Content Operation

What makes a content operation different from content marketing? We’ve devoted entire blog posts and webinars to the topic, but the short answer is this: a content operation is the set of processes, people, and technology for strategically planning, producing, distributing, and analyzing content. In a sense, a content operation is how we apply the audience-centric principles of content marketing to everything marketers do. It’s an approach that prioritizes strategy over quantity to make less matter more.

The need to reduce operational inefficiencies and improve the impact marketing content has on business objectives drives this evolution. The Gartner report notes, “As the volume of customer data and the tools available to support more sophisticated content marketing campaigns also increase, operational inefficiencies lead to missed opportunities and lackluster program results.”

From the Perspective of Industry Leaders

This is the norm for marketers. But what do organizational leaders think of it? We went straight to our very own Toby Murdock to find out.

“We’ve seen tools and data explode for marketers,” he agreed. “Sales, IT, and others might think that should make marketers’ work easier. But actually, it makes it harder. And not just harder day-to-day, but harder to align everything marketers invest into a common strategy.”

That’s why software alone isn’t the solution to the challenges marketers face. In fact, frantically adding more and more tools to a team’s MarTech stack often does little more than further complicate an already complicated situation. “Leaders have to think about the people-process context in which their tools operate,” he explained.

That’s why, several years ago, we began investing in capabilities that would allow us to be more than a content marketing platform, including sales enablement, advanced content analytics, ideation, and planning tools. The driving goal? To not just align activities across teams, but also to align all those activities to a common strategy.

The Future of Marketing Technology

The secret to successful marketing the simple fact that effective planning—planning that aligns content strategies to buyer personas, customer journey maps, and resource constraints—reduces waste and missed opportunities.

Our team has worked closely with many B2B marketing teams, and we’ve seen plans created in spreadsheets and decks consistently fail to deliver internal alignment around integrated marketing initiatives. The result is often a duplication of work, the need for constant status updates, and ultimately, the delivery of a disjointed message.

Genuine impact—marketing content that builds trust and influences buyer decisions—requires a cohesive cross-channel, customer-relevant experience.

A positive customer experience is built on a foundation of operational agility that delivers results on time and on budget, with an added ability to constantly adapt to changing market demands. This requires bringing together key stakeholders with two clear goals: first, to honestly assess where we are today, and second, to agree where we’re going in the future and the roadmap we’re going to take to get there.

We’re proud to be identified as a content marketing platform leader by Gartner. But we’re even more excited to help marketers tackle what’s coming next.

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