The Content Marketing Institute’s VP of marketing helps set the stage for CMWorld 2019’s B2B highlights

CMWorld 2019
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In just a few weeks thousands of marketers will be touching down in Cleveland for the annual Content Marketing World conference.

B2BNN is a media sponsor for the second year in a row (use the code “B2BNN” at checkout to get $100 off your pass!), and to help set the stage we asked the Content Marketing Institute’s VP of marketing, Cathy McPhillips, to talk about what’s new this year and how the vision for the show has evolved.

In the past a big part of CMWorld was focusing on how to develop content. More recently there seems to have been a big focus on measuring the results of content. What’s your sense of the CMWorld’s audiences needs and wants in these areas in 2019? What kind of feedback have you been hearing about what people want to see more of or learn more about?

In 2011, it was about “What is Content Marketing,” who is doing content marketing well, how to create great content, build your marketing department and more. Now, we’re to the point where there is so much content out there. Content marketers have gotten savvier, and now want to actually reduce the amount of content they’re producing, increase the quality, and share with their leadership teams how the content is performing. How to measure content, how to move from conversations to conversions, and how to do content marketing (as opposed to how to create content). We still have the beginner sessions, but we need to evolve with the industry. So advanced sessions with Andy Crestodina on Google Analytics or Christopher S. Penn on AI are on the agenda for those who are ready for that level of education.

For attendees that come from B2B firms and who are coming to CMWorld for the first time, are there any sessions/tracks you’d suggest or highlight to make sure they get the most of their experience?

We have many sessions appealing to B2B brands or agencies working with B2B companies and firms. Speakers include leaders from brands such as 3M, Emerson, Electrolux, Eaton, Rockwell Automation, McKesson, SAP, Aon, CDW, Eigen Technologies will be sharing their stories with our attendees.

Kathy Button Bell from Emerson will deliver a keynote on how Emerson, a focused engineering powerhouse, has developed a content strategy to craft stories that influence cultural behavior and help accelerate positive corporate transformation in this hyper-competitive world.

Zari Venhaus from Eaton will help you learn how to build a business case from the bottom up to secure the tech you need by mapping your process, identifying your challenges, and quantifying the value of technology and building the financial business case.

Chris Luecke from Rockwell Automation will discuss how you and your individual team members can leverage a combination of content creation tools, social media, and live events to build deeper relationships with your clients, all while creating a strong pipeline of fresh leads.

Many brands seem to have struggled to determine how much of their content marketing assets to develop in-house versus using a third party like an agency. To what extent, if at all, did this influence the kinds of speakers you recruited, case studies you’re showcasing and so on? 

This is something we invested a lot of time and resources in this year. We want to appeal to agencies so they’ll come to CMWorld to not only learn about content marketing so they can improve their skills for their clients, but to also attend sessions to hear the challenges that brands are up against, the questions they’re asking and more. We have an agency strategies track, a branded content track and more, geared toward agencies. We also have other sessions in other tracks where a brand and agency will co-present so attendees can see partners working together to achieve aggressive content marketing objectives.

In the old days the success of content marketing might have been evaluated based on everything from unique visits to likes and shares.  What have you been hearing from speakers or attendees about the content marketing metrics that matter most today?

Engagement metrics are still great from a comparison standpoint, even just comparing against your company year over year, month over month. It helps watch for anomalies. But, would you rather have high likes and shares, or would you rather have profitable customer action? Of course, the brands want to have the sale. But content marketing goes beyond the transaction and is all about the relationship, so by having a holistic view of engagement and conversions together, companies can make smarter decisions.

Many folks we’ve spoken to are looking at subscription numbers as well as subscription retention, lead scoring, increasing customer data, and the like. So now it’s about not only getting more customers, but it’s learning more about the customers you have so you can create stronger profiles, personas and target audiences.

There have been a number of stories lately about organizations not replacing CMOs or doing away with the title. What kind of impact, if any, do you think that will have on organizations’ content marketing strategies and plans? 

The good news is that marketing isn’t going away. By changing titles to Chief Brand Officer, Chief Experience Officer and such (and adding in new team members to fill those roles), it’s putting more focus on the disciplines within marketing. Customer experience, outbound marketing and advertising, analytics and strategy, content marketing and relationships…marketing touches just about everything in a brand in one way or another. So by getting more people involved, it allows for marketing to really be a force for a company. My hope, however, is that all these leaders in all the new marketing leadership roles stay in communication. Because none of these positions work in a silo and can succeed without creating a holistic experience for the customer. Systems, processes and communication plans are all necessary for this approach to work. At Content Marketing World, our executive track will touch on ways that executives can successfully run their teams as company execs continue to push more responsibility to the marketing functions.

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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.