By Joe Dysart
Content Marketing Dashboards
The Top Four Solutions
Facebook’s data centers are kept humming with a torrent of creative that is pushed by content marketers.
Marketers looking for a single software dashboard to create, manage, distribute and analyze all the content they use for their marketing will want to seriously consider Percolate (www.percolate.com), according to market researcher Forrester. The solution was ranked number one in Forrester’s in-depth evaluation of such tools, which Forrester dubbed “content marketing platforms.”
The solution also has “sky-high user satisfaction scores,” according to Ryan Skinner, a Forrester analyst and author of the Forrester report, “Content Marketing Platforms, Q2 2015.” Other solutions winning high marks from Forrester were Kapost (www.kapost.com), NewsCred (www.newscred.com) and Skyword (www.skyword.com).
Definitions of content marketing vary, but the core feature of such marketing is a focus on creative content that goes beyond the traditional “please buy our stuff” mantra and offers the target audience something inherently informative and/or entertaining that is associated with the product or service. For example, a brochure website simply singing a company’s praises is basic marketing. A website featuring a study done by a third party and concluding that the company’s new product or service is an industry leader is an example of content marketing.
Percolate’s dashboard, as well as others evaluated by Forrester, popped up on the market researcher’s radar at an opportune time for marketers whose interest in content marketing in the age of social media is especially keen. Currently, 77% of businesses surveyed are using content marketing, and 45% of businesses surveyed have established a dedicated content marketing group in their organizations, according to a study titled “B2C Content Marketing 2015,” released by the Content Marketing Institute (www.contentmarketinginstitute.com).
On average, content marketers are active on seven social networks, up from six the prior year, and are publishing either daily or at least multiple times each week, according to the study. Not surprisingly, social media was the most popular content tool used by these marketers, with 93% saying that they were using some sort of social media, according to the survey.
Pretty much everyone (94%) is posting to Facebook. Twitter is also very popular (84%), as are YouTube (76%), LinkedIn (71%) and Google+ (68%). Other popular social-media networks where marketing content is regularly posted are Pinterest (59%) and Instagram (49%).
But marketers also relied heavily on more-traditional media tools to distribute content. For example, 80% used e-newsletters, and 78% turned to articles on their company websites to attract and retain customer interest. Photos were also popular (75%), as were videos (74%), in-person events (695) and blogs (67%). Also employed, but less popular, were branded content tools (47%), infographics (45%), microsites (44%) and mobile apps (42%).
Interestingly, when marketers were asked which tools they thought were more effective, e-newsletters ranked number one, with 66% of marketers saying e-newsletters best accomplished their content marketing goals. In-person events ranked second in efficacy (63%), followed by photos and illustrations (59%), social-media content other than blogs (58%), blogs (54%), videos (54%) and website articles (53%). Tools considered somewhat less effective were mobile apps (49%), webinars (46%) and online presentations (45%).
The content marketing dashboards Forrester cherry-picked essentially enable everyone at a company working in marketing to work from the same virtual desktop and share ideas on how to best implement a marketing idea across all channels, including print, radio, TV, video, web, social media and the like.
A content marketing dashboard allows everyone on a project to share the same screen and see what everyone else is doing. Company white papers, case studies, mobile apps, marketing e-mails, YouTube videos and more can all be dreamed up, created, distributed and analyzed using the dashboards. And many solutions also offer users one-click access to video production companies, infographics creators, case-study writers, stock photographers and the like to help them quickly and efficiently implement a campaign.
Most of the tools also come with their own analytics, which allow everyone involved in marketing at the company to see how such marketing content is faring and, hopefully, make more effective marketing content the next time around. For example, such tools are perfect to implement and distribute a single marketing theme across all marketing channels—social, web, TV, print, etc.
Specifically, here’s how Forrester rated the industry players:
Forrester considers Percolate to be the number-one solution in the industry and without peer.
“Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which Percolate has the lead in both current offering and strategy,” Skinner said.
The system bills itself as the “system of record” for marketers—a tool that, for the first time, formalizes every aspect of content marketing into an understandable system that chronicles, documents, monitors and tracks for all users what the company is doing when it comes to content marketing, what its goals are, how it’s getting there and how it’s faring at any given moment.
“It would be easy to characterize Percolate’s grand vision of being the system of record for marketing as chest-puffery—except that it’s actually delivering on it,” Skinner said.
Second-tier offerings are Kapost, NewsCred and Skyword. The three “are strong and highly differentiated alternatives,” Skinner said.
Kapost is the strongest cost per thousand (CMP) for the B2B marketer, Skinner said, and it has great analytics. Skyword and NewsCred come equipped with quick links and already-established business relationships with content creators, including writers, artists, photographers, videographers and the like.
Third-tier offerings from Oracle, Contently and PublishThis were described by Skinner as “contenders with clear limitations.” Oracle, for example, does basic CMP and then encourages users to buy additional Oracle products, including BlueKai and Eloqua, to do deeper CMP.
“Contently has a huge asset in its network of premium content creators and offers rich workflow and collaboration capabilities,” Skinner said. But insights and content delivery are available only as a service. And while PublishThis can also be considered a contender product, it scored low marks on workflow and collaboration, according to Skinner.
Bringing up the rear are RebelMouse and DivvyHQ, which had some strengths but did not offer comprehensive CMP overall, according to Skinner.
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.