One of the biggest opportunities that CMW provided was the chance to just walk over and lob words with the brightest and shiniest stars in the content marketing universe. We are happy to share that we were able to interview Peter Loibl, President and Chief Strategy officer of Concured, the award winning AI-powered Content Marketing Strategy platform (CSP). For those who came in late, Mr. Loibl was earlier the Vice President of Sales and also the publisher of Chief Content Officer magazine at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) where he played a pivotal role in their success story as well as their buy-out for more than $18 million in 2016 by United Business Media (UBM).
Content marketing started out as a great leveler. Smaller brands that could tell a compelling story could stand out in an increasingly commoditized market. But with increasing commoditization of ‘content,’ there is a corresponding need for investment in analytics/tools like Concured, and to quote you, “So much time and money is wasted in the name of ‘content marketing’ without any real understanding of what content actually works and the data needed to make better, more profitable decisions.” With the business of content marketing becoming so complex, is it set to be just a big boy’s game?
Peter: I think content marketing success, regardless of company size, is contingent on consistency of approach. Whether it is an Enterprise Brand, a small business, or even an agency, what defines success is a commitment to delivering educational, valuable, interesting content in lieu of a fragmented, campaign-based mindset. Do larger companies have an inherent advantage based on larger budgets and wider bandwidths? Perhaps, but without a complete company buy-in, any content marketing success will quickly shatter (but fortunately there are emerging tools, like CONCURED, that help shape and support content strategy and direction).
Smaller companies clearly do not have the bandwidth to invest in both content as well as the much missed “strategy/measurement/audit” efforts. So, what would be your biggest advice to them as regards their approach to integrating content marketing/AI/alternatives to content marketing?
Peter: There is no shame in smaller companies starting small, and building toward bigger things. Set your goals, write down a mission statement and your content strategy, and stick to it! Adhere to a firm editorial calendar, stay consistent, and use data to help shape your choices in an educated way. As long as you continue to help your audience (supportive data and analytics help ensure that you do so by matching highly-resonating content to an appropriately-interested audience), you are already on the right track.
You mentioned that “the term ‘Modern Marketer’ has been thrown around for years, but the term ‘Modern Prospect’ has evolved at an equally rapid pace”. Could you please elaborate on that and explain how it ties specifically into content marketing/use of AI?
Peter: Marketers have become smarter, and know much faster if their strategies and approaches are working. But it is important to remember that customers and prospects are much smarter as well, and are much more likely to migrate away from your content (and brand) if marketers aren’t providing true value and help. Content marketing is designed for marketers to entice and interest prospects, but how can this be done without fully grasping the pulse of their respective markets? AI has quickly leveled this playing field, using data to prove relevance and digestion of content by media channels and continuing to lessen the guessing games many content marketers continue to struggle with.
At the B2B Content 2 Conversion Conference, you were quoted as having said “With so many B2B marketers unsatisfied with the results of their content marketing focus, technology platforms have come out of the woodwork to offer real solutions to these challenges. But as functionality-out of necessity-continues to morph, it is certainly eye-opening to see so many acquisitions, mergers, and rebranding of these platforms in such a short time window.” Given your rather unique perspective in this industry from its very inception (while managing roles that encompassed sales, publishing, and technology), do you see as this increasing complexity as inherently manageable even within the context of larger/enterprise level organizations? Is not the very business of marketing overshadowing (or at least distracting from) its real purpose?
Peter: With so much noise in the Martech space, I do recognize struggles when it comes to jostling for position, and articulating the value proposition of each solution. But, I do think marketers will begin to see a smaller pool of potential tech suitors, as consolidations and acquisitions are creating a “shaking out” of redundancies (with recent examples of Adobe’s acquisition of Marketo and Sitecore’s purchase of Stylelabs making headlines). I feel tech solution providers may have missed a golden opportunity to really rise above the clutter and clearly articulate how they can help marketers, and I am hopeful – and confident – that CONCURED is on the right track in telling the right story to this bevy of bright storytellers.
In one of your articles, you wrote “AI powers the vision to combine social engagement data with topical understanding and semantic analysis to provide content marketers with insights on what topics are actually resonating with consumers, and why.” Is there any way you could break this down for our readers using a small example of prospect x and service y and the role that Concured plays in any representative transaction? Something they can orchestrate in their heads from A to Z.
To answer this question, Peter roped in Tom Wilson, the CTO at Concured, who has more than two decades of experience in roles as diverse as entrepreneur, business developer, strategist, project manager, product manager and algorithm/system/software engineer!
Tom: One of our clients is the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Using the Concured platform, ICAEW was able to see that the best-performing content in their industry over the previous 6 months was coming from PWC, with, on an average, 516 Social Engagements per article.
Semantic analysis of PWC’s content involved automatically extracting the most relevant concepts from each article. Aggregating the concepts and correlating these against the resulting Social Engagements revealed that the most-engaged content was on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Innovation, and Automation.
Concured’s platform was then able to identify a topical Content Gap between what the industry best-performer, PWC, was doing, and their own content. The platform then recommended that the ICAEW create content on the topic of AI in the context of Workforce and Productivity, in order to fill this Content Gap and produce content that resonated better with their readers, leading to more shares, likes, views, and Tweets.