Uberflip, Aprimo and Forrester make the case for content experiences that go beyond demand generation

Uberflip Aprimo Forrester Conex 2018
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Uberflip is not only hosting a conference whose name refers to ‘the content experience” this week — it has also recently hired new talent in a department with the same name that’s focused on an area far beyond demand generation.

A panel discussion at CONEX, which is taking place in Toronto, included Paige Gerber, Uberflilp’s director of content experience. Though she’s only spent about six months at the company in the newly-created role, she said her work is addressing an area in which more marketing organizations need to examine their skill sets.

“We’re looking at every place that someone is being touched with content — from awareness all the way to becoming a customer and beyond,” Gerber told the audience, stressing the importance of the latter. “There’s a lot of attention paid to pre-sale in content marketing, but ‘post-sale’ tells a very different story than pre-sale. We’re trying to get the organization to understand that both are critical.”

If a vendor tells a compelling story about what it will be like to become a customer, for instance, and then goes largely silent afterwards, there’s going to be an obvious impact on retention and loyalty, Gerber added.

Ed Breault, vice-president of marketing at digital asset management and through-channel marketing automation provider Aprimo, said he has needed to make a similar hire on his own team. Two years ago, Aprimo went through a rebrand that included a move away from its old name, Revenew TCMA. That spurred a lot of content marketing effort, though Breault admitted the journey hasn’t always been easy.

“We call it the brand experience, and content is certainly part of it,” he said. “The brand experience goes across that whole thing, from an initial look at who are we and the personality of the brand all the way through to customer success, renewal and advocacy.”

Unfortunately, however, most organizations are so focused on generating leads and revenue that content marketing for those post-sale stages might be even less attractive to an executive team, Breault said. 

Even when buy-in happens, the results aren’t always very good, said Laura Ramos, a principal analyst at Forrester. She said the market research firm conducted a review of 60 web sites across 12 industries last year and graded them on a 15-point scale in how compelling and engaging their content would be to buyers. The result? Not one of the 60 firms ranked. 

“We had to lower the score to get just six to pass,” she said. “In terms of content marketing for B2B marketing and sellers, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Y’all are not very good at it.”

If it’s difficult to measure something as subjective as content quality, Gerber suggested looking at other signs of success. This doesn’t have to be limited to sales but things like product adoption, or increased adoption of a specific feature, she said. It’s also important to ensure “content experience” doesn’t become yet another marketing silo.

“I’m fitting into the department’s goals. They’re not ‘my’ projects,” she said.

Aprimo’s Breault said this is leading to the hiring and development of a much different kind of content marketer than we might have seen a few years ago.

“To get the right talent . . . it comes down to mission, metrics and mindset,” he said.

CONEX runs through Wednesday.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.