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What is a content marketing platform (CMP)? Until a month ago, I didn’t quite know the answer — or the number of ways a CMP could impact a marketing team. 

Content marketing revenue is projected to exceed $300 billion this year — showing that content has become a requirement for brands, and it’s not going away any time soon. That’s because content marketing allows brands to build trust with audiences through relevant communication and thought leadership. More importantly, content enables brands to engage with audiences in different, non-traditional ways. 

Thanks to technology, we’ve seen massive transformations in the types of content customers demand and the way they consume that content. Yet marketers are still planning, creating, publishing, and measuring their content with a hodgepodge of individual, one-off tools. Marketers are craving a transformation of their own, and it wasn’t until I joined NewsCred as Product Marketing Manager that I realized a content marketing platform is the solution. 

Content Marketing Platform, defined 

To understand all the ways a content marketing platform impacts marketing teams, let’s start with a definition. 

At NewsCred, we define CMPs as a software solution that drives content marketing efficiencies and results by centralizing and streamlining the end-to-end process of creating content — from ideation and planning through to distribution and ROI measurement. And analysts agree! That’s why Gartner positioned NewsCred highest and furthest to the right in the Magic Quadrant for CMPs two consecutive years in a row.

Ultimately, a content marketing platform allows marketers to spend more time creating exceptional content (driving marketing-attributed revenue) and less time reinventing workflows, gathering approvals, and wasting money through operational inefficiencies. 

While all of that sounds great, you’re probably still wondering how a content marketing platform can help your team. In only a month at NewsCred, I’ve uncovered the simple answer to that question: Create more consistent and higher quality content — faster — and tie it directly to business results. 

I’ve learned a lot about the content marketing space since joining NewsCred, as our team uses our CMP to plan our marketing campaigns and create the content that supports them. Here are the top four benefits I’ve experienced using a CMP (and the necessary capabilities to get there).

Benefits of using a Content Marketing Platform 1. Data-driven ideation

As both marketers and consumers, we understand the importance of knowing our audience and delivering the content they want, with the value they need. That’s why it’s critical to turn to data when identifying topics that will resonate with your audience to rank high in search engines and drive overall traffic.

Content marketing platforms make it easy (SEO background or not) to identify which topics, formats, and channels your audience engages with — and searches for — most. Your content marketing platform should provide search and social trend data to understand the holistic SEO landscape, while also offering keyword recommendations and surfacing commonly asked questions around the web to help expand and refine the topics you’ve chosen to write about. 

One last critical SEO capability is competitive comparisons and share of voice data. Your content marketing platform should have the ability to provide the complete set of competitors for keyword rankings, so you can plan (and win) the battle for organic traffic.

2. Streamlined collaboration & content operations

The sad truth is that spreadsheets and emails only cause more manual work. And when content planning and content creation happen in different tools, you’re not only wasting time (and money), but you’re also risking misalignment and inconsistent messaging. 

Content marketing platforms provide visibility into the global content strategy and editorial calendar, ensuring alignment and enabling your team to create quality content. Your CMP should offer a centralized content workspace — including rich-text editors and SEO content optimization — to streamline content creation and allow for reviewing and editing all in one place, while maintaining version control and accelerating time-to-publish.  

Creating the content, however, is only one piece of the content marketing process. Your CMP should provide your team with custom workflows to standardize the entire process at each stage (from production to approval to publishing) while maintaining brand governance and ensuring all tasks are on track. Additionally, your content marketing platform should offer a native digital asset manager, so you can easily repurpose existing assets within a workflow. 

3. Seamless martech integrations

A successful content marketing campaign means delivering consistent experiences across every consumer touchpoint, from your website to your social channels and beyond. But these responsibilities often fall under different teams — and therefore, different technologies — reinforcing silos and creating inconsistent messaging. 

To provide an omnichannel experience for your audience, your CMP should provide robust integrations with your marketing stack. Those integrations should begin with your content management system to allow quick and seamless publishing to your website or content hub. From there, your CMP should enable your team to share content directly across all native social media apps or any social media management platforms you use. 

A truly integrated CMP will also provide bi-directional integrations with your marketing automation and customer relationship management tools to streamline your team’s access to content and enhance demand generation campaigns. Your CMP should also be able to ingest data from such tools, so you can measure the impact of content from first-touch attribution to closed-won revenue. Which leads us to…

4. Actionable insights & ROI data

In today’s marketing world, data-driven learnings are key to getting an edge on the competition. And if your organization is like most these days, you probably don’t have a streamlined way of pulling your data or the necessary insights to measure ROI and optimize future programs.

Content marketing platforms provide a holistic view into operational efficiencies and the impact of your content so your team can enhance what’s working, optimize what isn’t, and demonstrate the ROI. Content-centric tracking is critical to identifying which topics, formats, and channels drive the most traffic and engagement. You’ll also want the ability to discover the actions your audience takes after consuming content and the resulting number of conversions. And if your content marketing platform has the proper integrations, you should have the ability to map content initiatives directly to revenue and ROI.

What’s next: how to choose the right content marketing platform

A content marketing platform should enable your team to create a high volume of quality content, distribute it across multiple channels, and measure the impact to optimize content and demonstrate ROI — all from one single platform. In Part 2 of this post, we’ll share a detailed guide on how to evaluate and choose the right content marketing platform. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how some of the biggest brands benefit from content marketing platforms, check out our customer spotlights or request a demo here.

 

Katie Takacs is NewsCred’s Product Marketing Manager. 

The post What is a Content Marketing Platform? appeared first on Insights.

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Gucci, as you may have heard, is crushing it with millennials. In 2018, 62% of Gucci’s more than $8 billion in sales came from the under-35 set, a demographic that is generally harder for luxury brands to capture, given the high price points of their products.

But what you might not know is that Gucci’s fastest-growing segment is now Generation Z, the oldest of whom are only 24. This bodes well for Gucci’s future. By 2025, millennials and Gen Z are expected to account for 45% of total luxury good spending. Many of these young people will already be familiar with Gucci and perhaps already own one of the brand’s handbags or shoes.

How did the century-old luxury house accomplish this feat? Marco Bizzarri, who became Gucci’s CEO in 2015 and has been responsible for the brand’s explosive growth, shared some of his secrets at the company’s headquarters in Milan as part of the Fast Company European Innovation Festival, which is powered by Gucci.

Bizzarri says that the brand’s success—particularly with young consumers—comes down to finding a delicate balance between creativity and technology, or art and science. For one thing, Bizzarri has a downright optimistic outlook on technology, while many CEOs of luxury companies have show skepticism about technology and have been slow to create e-commerce sites and social media accounts for their brands.

“I was optimistic about technology because I saw the possibility of delegating the most boring tasks to technology and spending more time on doing the things that I like, like being creative,” Bizzarri says.

The future is fashionable

Since he took Gucci’s helm in 2015, he’s brought a lot of technology to the company, but much of it isn’t obvious to the average consumer. It’s happening behind the scenes, making the shopping experience smoother and more efficient. Gucci has made massive investments in state-of-the-art technology on the back end of the business, including supply-chain management, sales forecasting, merchandising, and voice assistants for in-store salespeople. All of this is critical to winning over Gen Z, which has grown up expecting seamless shopping experiences.

But for Bizzarri, these are just table stakes in winning over the next generation of luxury shoppers. “Are we going to have a competitive advantage if we are the first in this technology?” Bizzarri asks. “No. It can be copied in a second.”

Bizzari believes that the role of this technology is to free up customers and let them focus on the parts of their experience with the Gucci brand that they can see, touch, and feel. It was Bizzarri who brought on creative director Alessandro Michele, who has transformed Gucci’s aesthetic over the last four years, breathing new life and excitement into the brand. And in my previous interviews with Bizzarri, he has also spoken about his commitment to continuing to create the highest quality products. Last year, he opened a futuristic factory called the Gucci ArtLab, where artisans come and create Gucci products by hand in a space that brings together cutting-edge machines with old-fashioned craftsmanship.

Young consumers are responding well to this approach. They have been driving Gucci’s growth over the last four years. Since Bizzarri and Michele joined the company, it has tripled its business and added 8,000 new employees. But Bizzari says Gucci would never have been able to keep up with the demand without all of the technological innovations he has invested in. And if they had asked customers to wait a long time before receiving their products, they could have lost their youngest clients, who expect instant gratification.

“The two things go together,” he says. “Thanks to Alessandro [Michele]’s aesthetic, we completely changed the way that fashion was conceived. But then, all the supporting activity, like the supply chain, was able to provide the product, and we were able to quickly triple our production capacity.”

Investing in creativity

For Alec Ross, an author and visiting professor at King’s College London who was in conversation with Bizzarri on the Fast Company stage in Milan, this blending of creativity with technology makes complete sense. He points out that many of the world’s most creative people today, including high-profile actors like Ashton Kutcher and Jared Leto, are investing in technology companies.

“A lot of the best investors, at least in the U.S. right now, are in the arts,” Ross says. “They see things with slightly different eyes [from the average investor]. The processes of creation in technology and art don’t exist in separate worlds.”

Meanwhile, Bizzarri doesn’t want to rest on his laurels. He’s continuing to stay closely attuned to Gen Z. When he came to Gucci, he went around the world, creating what he calls a “shadow committee” of people who were under 30 in hopes of understanding their perspectives. And three years ago, he invited 30 young people to sit in a room with some technology experts, to see what kind of new ideas everybody could bring to the table. He expects to keep doing this in the years to come.

“These [young] people often know much more about certain things than you do,” he says. “[As a CEO], you need to keep your ego in check.”

Whatever his plans going forward, Bizarri says it’s vital to stay optimistic as a CEO, even in the face of the political and socioeconomic crises that are brewing around the world. He says that when he started running companies two decades ago, he looked around at other CEOs he admired. Everyone he saw—from Lee Iacocca at Chrysler to Steve Jobs at Apple to Domenico de Sole, who ran Gucci at the time—had optimistic outlooks.

“I thought to myself, If you want to run a company, you cannot be a pessimistic person,” says Bizzarri. “There are many things I cannot control in the world. But in the places I can—like creating empathy and bringing energy to my company—I want to be optimistic.”

This article was written by Elizabeth Segran from Fast Company and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The post How a Century-Old Luxury Brand Like Gucci Won Over Gen Z appeared first on Insights.

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Another 3 months have come and gone, and as usual here at NewsCred, our Product & Engineering teams have been hard at work delivering exciting updates to our category-leading Content Marketing Platform (CMP).

This quarter, the team doubled down on our mission to ship innovative functionality while optimizing the user experience across the platform. 

In that pursuit, we’re excited to spotlight significant enhancements to our Task page, as well as a number of powerful features enabling teams to architect, visualize, and govern their global marketing campaigns. 

Scroll onward to read up on all our newest functionality, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!

[Beta Spotlight] Introducing the New Task Page: A Modern Interface to Maximize Collaboration & Accelerate Work

Within the CMP, the Task page is where planning meets execution. Staying true to our mission to transform how marketing teams work, we set out to reinvent the task experience, and help marketers collaborate on the work that supports their strategic objectives. Specifically, the new Task page features:

  • An updated architecture, improving the speed and performance of individual task pages as well as workflow responsiveness

  • An intuitive and redesigned UI, streamlining task creation and increasing collaboration when planning, creating, and publishing multi-format content assets

  • Flexible workflows, allowing you to maintain strict content processes or relax workflow rules for ad hoc adjustments (e.g. adding or removing steps, completing steps out of order, and more)

  • A dedicated tab for creative briefs, encouraging collaborative brainstorming and ensuring contributors have all the information needed to create exceptional content 

If you’re a customer interested in testing the beta, notify us here! We’d love to hear your feedback — good or bad — so we can optimize the user experience.

Sub-Campaigns: Flexible Architecture to Plan & Execute Integrated Strategies

With the introduction of Sub-Campaigns, the CMP now enables teams to establish a campaign hierarchy, providing more flexibility to strategically architect and plan integrated initiatives. And, by providing a way to visualize the overall marketing strategy — both on the timeline calendar, as well as within each campaign workspace — teams have clear visibility into how each initiative ladders up to support wider organizational objectives. 

Campaign Sharing: Complete Control to Establish & Maintain Campaign Governance 

Within each campaign, the Share modal gives your team complete control to govern who contributes, and how. Share campaigns to specific individuals, teams, or organizational groups, and assign flexible permission levels that help local teams streamline execution while, ensuring global teams maintain consistency and brand compliance.

Global Search: Dynamic Search Enhancements to Surface Campaigns, Tasks, & Assets

The redesigned and enhanced structure of the CMP’s Global Search makes it easier to browse across — and within — Campaigns, Tasks, Library, Pitch Requests, and Events, so you can quickly locate and navigate to what you’re looking for. Specifically, the new Global Search offers:

  • An improved search algorithm to ensure that the most relevant results appear first while highlighting direct keyword matches, so you can see why that result was returned

  • A redesigned interface, including key metadata (such as campaign name and color, task title, due date, and more), so you can quickly distinguish between results with similar names

  • Category search, providing a dropdown to search within Tasks, Pitch Requests, Events, Campaigns or Library, and yield results from a specific category

  • Cross-instance accessibility to surface campaigns and content shared among global/local organizations, along with origin indication and details 

  • Thumbnail & file previews, allowing you to quickly reference content housed in Library — including both article and non-article assets — to repurpose or download

Adobe PhotoEditor: Powerful Editing Capabilities to Design Images for Every Channel

In order to extend NewsCred’s in-app image editing functionality and streamline the user experience, the CMP Image Editor has been migrated to Adobe PhotoEditor. As part of this upgrade, the new, enhanced image editor supports:

  • Lock resolution, which by default, allows you to enter a new resolution in the width and height input fields and will automatically update the crop area to match the new resolution while maintaining the image aspect ratio

  • Flexible cropping, which allows you to disable the ‘Lock Resolution’ before modifying your dimensions, and customize the crop area to your image needs

  • Pre-set channel dimensions, which allows you to select from a number of standard or custom channels — including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and more — to easily re-size and prepare your image with the correct dimensions for each destination

Interested in learning more? 

If you’d like to see the platform in action, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know

Anthony Aiosa is NewsCred’s Director of Product Marketing. 

The post Tech Talk: Here’s What We Shipped in Q2 appeared first on Insights.

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Something big is happening in marketing.

For decades, marketing teams have been hamstrung by antiquated technologies. While the martech landscape has 7000+ tools, most of the actual work within marketing is still managed within a hodgepodge of low tech (or no tech) tools. Workflow is done in email. Content production is done in Microsoft Word. Calendars are in spreadsheets. Campaigns and briefs are planned in PowerPoint. None of these technologies are purpose-built for marketing.

I’ve often wondered why marketing was left behind? Every other organization within the enterprise has some sort of operational system – sales has CRM, engineering has JIRA, people ops has HRIS systems etc. Up until recently, marketing teams were fairly small, focused on a few channels, and simple to manage. Content production requirements were minimal, and budgets were accordingly limited. But over the past five years, the landscape has changed. The number of channels has exploded, resulting in bigger teams, budgets and expectations. The velocity and quality of content required to power all of these channels has increased. And CMOs are more accountable than ever before. Marketing complexity is now at an all-time high.

As an industry, we can’t continue to talk about marketing transformation until we solve this problem of antiquated technology and old ways of working. Transformation requires thoughtful systems and modern technology that enable better and different ways of working.

I’m excited to announce that we just raised an additional $20 million to solve this problem and go after this massive opportunity. It seems surreal to write that we have now raised over $100 million. I wanted to talk about this journey openly and honestly in the hopes that it helps folks understand us better. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, customer, partner or a curious marketer, here’s a quick inside look at our story.

Let’s be clear. Raising a lot of money is not necessarily correlated to successful outcomes (although it helps). I’d rather build a giant business with very little invested capital. But it took us a few years just to find a viable business model and a big enough problem to solve. During these early years of exploration, we burned very little cash ($1 million over three years!). We spent a lot of time with marketers and eventually found what felt like a really exciting opportunity to build an enterprise content marketing company.

Between 2012-2015, we raised nearly $90 million! Two reasons why: firstly, we were defining a category, which is hard, takes time, and takes capital. We were building and evangelizing our product, while simultaneously spending equal effort and resources in creating the category. But that was just half the story. The second part is that we were growing super fast (100% annually) and we were funding that growth. Unfortunately, that growth wasn’t efficient. We hired like crazy, often throwing bodies at problems. Our priority was not sales efficiency or gross margin improvement (those words were rarely heard around our office).

In 2016, we had seen enough. While the content marketing category is indeed gigantic (which company in the world doesn’t do content marketing?), we realized it was very early in the maturity cycle for our customers. They were still figuring out if they needed a software platform to do content marketing. And for those that invested in a CMP, changing how they created content was hard. Adoption was hard. And as a result, customer retention was hard. We pulled the handbrake and decided to retrench and build a high-quality company instead of simply a high-growth company.

For two years, we focused on improving productivity (we went from $100K ARR per employee and doubled it to $200K ARR per employee). We improved gross margins. We built a hyper-efficient sales team (with sales attainment mostly at 90-100% or better!). We focused on NPS (our product NPS has improved dramatically every year for the past three years). We obsessed over customers, building an incredible success and services organization that was focused on business outcomes and helping our customers increase their maturity. This, in turn, improved retention rates dramatically. We marched towards profitability and had our first operating cash flow-positive quarter earlier this year. In short, it was hard. But we built a really high-quality business that is at scale.

And then something even more exciting happened. Last year, we launched our Integrated Marketing Edition to solve the marketing transformation problem I described above. And it took off beyond our wildest imagination. The market responded eagerly to our vision of building the operating system for marketing. We signed up some of the world’s largest marketing organizations that put hundreds (or thousands) of marketers on our platform. 

We have been (and continue to be) relentless about transforming how marketers work: how they plan, create and collaborate on campaigns and content. While work management may not sound sexy, it’s an important problem to solve. McKinsey had a study that showed marketers spent 60% of their time doing work about work. The only way to unleash the potential of marketing teams by freeing up their time to focus on what matters: creating exceptional marketing. And with our IME, we have built technology to solve for the rest.

So that brings us to today. We have an additional $20 million to invest in our people and in our products – both the core Content Marketing Platform and the new Integrated Marketing Edition. Going forward, both editions of our software will be foundational products. We will continue to support and invest in content marketing while adding another 20-30 engineers over the next year to allow us to invest aggressively in our integrated marketing vision. We are the leading player in the space (twice the clear leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CMPs) and are looking forward to taking a leadership role in additional categories (like Marketing Resource/Work Management). We are already the biggest company in our category, with an existing global footprint and still expanding fast. We are the existing leader in Europe and the now the largest player in Japan with our partners (and new investor) Dentsu and Amana. This year, we are also expanding quickly in Australia and Asia, as well as opening a new office in Boulder. Why Boulder? We’ve just hired an amazing team of sales and customer success professionals from Kapost, one of our competitors that recently got acquired.

It’s been quite an 11-year journey. Candidly, we’ve outlasted all our competition, and that further contributed to our recent growth (side note: outlasting is a growth strategy I highly recommend to entrepreneurs). But outlasting doesn’t just happen. It takes guts and determination. Grit is one of our core company values. And so I must end this post with some words of gratitude. Thank you to each of our major investors, all of whom participated in this round. And thanks to our new investors, Dentsu and Escalate. Thank you to all my amazing colleagues, past and present. Thank you for your tenacity, your brilliance, and your customer obsession. As I always say, working for you has been the greatest privilege of my life.

And finally, thank you to our customers. Because of you, we get to come to work every single day and do what we love. Thank you for the faith you put in us. We will work tirelessly to make sure we repay that faith. Our mission is to unleash the potential of marketing teams, and that means moving mountains to make you successful. We’re just getting started.

LET’S GO!!

Shafqat Islam is NewsCred’s Co-Founder + CEO.

The post Something Big is Happening in Marketing: Why We Raised Another $20M! appeared first on Insights.

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As every marketer knows, SEO is an important aspect of digital marketing. Yet many marketing teams and agencies operate without a dedicated SEO specialist. So how do you navigate the challenges of executing with a “non-SEO SEO team” and do it successfully?

Whether you want to offer SEO services to your clients or are a marketer trying to improve search rankings for your company, you’ll find value in our webinar with SEMRush. Hear from experts from NewsCred, WalkerSands, and more as they discuss how to:

  • Internally evangelize the value of SEO for your company

  • Collaborate with agencies

  • Successfully integrate SEO with other digital marketing strategies

SEO as a Secondary Service - YouTube

The post [Webinar] SEO for Non-SEO Teams appeared first on Insights.

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Marketing campaigns can be massive undertakings with the potential for big payoffs. They require cross-functional coordination and a clear goal to work toward. Unfortunately, they also require a lot of diverse and distributed work, which can easily get out of hand — and lead to inefficiency and wasted time. Time is money, especially when it comes to marketing investments.

Calendar management is an important part of making sure your campaign delivers in terms of both awareness and revenue. Eliminating waste frees up space to refine your campaign and make sure it matches your vision. Maximizing the hours in a day during a marketing campaign naturally leads to better content, and there’s no shortage of ways to tackle inefficiency on your next project.

How to work effectively and efficiently

Some important things to consider when trying to be more efficient with campaign management:

Think about your minimum viable product

What’s the most basic version of your marketing campaign that would still check your key boxes? That’s your MVP, or minimum viable product, which is a helpful tool for getting your priorities straight.

You’d never want your final product to look just like your MVP, but it’s a good place to get the ball rolling. Schedule tasks so you finish the critical things first. Identify the things you’d like your campaign to include but aren’t absolutely necessary, and set those aside at the beginning.

Using an MVP-focused strategy also lets you stay at the bleeding edge of the conversation, and allows for an agile marketing approach to your campaign management. Waiting for every component of your campaign to line up before rolling anything out can cause some of your work to show signs of aging by the time it’s seen. Keeping your MVP in mind ensures only the most important things are on your plate and prevents you from getting bogged down by unnecessary distractions early on.

Utilize time blocking

Meetings, emails, distractions — they can all add up to big time lost. Over an entire marketing campaign, the numerous and varied tasks that need to be completed are a big drain on working hours. One way of getting on top of all of that is through time blocking.

Block sections or certain parts of the day for specific tasks: respond to emails in the morning on Fridays, hold meetings on Monday afternoons, etc. By grouping similar tasks in the same time block, you eliminate the time lost by constantly switching between different activities. A well-planned schedule helps the overall mission remain clear and keeps daily tasks from becoming overwhelming over the course of an entire marketing campaign.

Let consumers do the work for you

One of the most time-consuming parts of a campaign is the content creation itself. Campaigns that take advantage of user-generated content not only get social media traction, but they can also ease the burden of having to endlessly churn out original work on your end.

One example of this is Starbucks’ 2014 White Cup Contest. The campaign challenged customers to draw on Starbucks cups and share their creations online, with the winning design featured on limited-edition reusable cups a few months later. This campaign has plenty of obvious benefits: social media engagement, strengthening of brand-customer relations, a new cup design at the end of it all. What makes a campaign of this type so valuable, however, is how much of the work was done by Starbucks fans themselves. Including a user-generated content component in your marketing plan can produce big results without putting a drain on your team’s time.

Tip: Try repurposing your own content for multiple parts of a campaign to help save time and ensure a unified message across every touchpoint. Think: re-utilizing the content from a whitepaper and turning it into a webinar or turning video content into a shorter version for Stories on social media.

Embrace automation and campaign management technology

Automation has revolutionized marketing forever, and it’s becoming more and more accessible. Three-quarters of marketing teams now use automation of some kind in their workplace. The most common uses for automation are social media post scheduling and email marketing, yet well over a third of marketers say that audience research and ROI tracking are their biggest time drains. However, simply using automation isn’t enough to save you time; you have to use it for the right tasks.

Using a centralized technology like NewsCred’s content marketing platform can make it easier to manage campaign tasks, calendars, and supporting assets, and automate scheduling social, email, and blog posts — all of which makes collaboration and execution more efficient. Ultimately, you need to identify what takes up the most time for your marketing team, then look for a tech solution that can help carry that load. Automating the mundane tasks required during a marketing campaign frees up time for your team to work on more important things.

Look outside your immediate team

Your marketing team isn’t the only group at your company that can (or should) contribute to a marketing campaign. Working together with other teams pays plenty of dividends — like increasing camaraderie and ideating — but it also helps distribute the workload across more individuals.

Breaking down organizational silos and embracing integrated marketing are increasingly popular trends in the business arena for plenty of reasons. For example, getting your PR team on board with some of your content plans is a good way to complement your campaign strategy, while freeing up time for members of the marketing team to tackle additional high-level tasks.

Marketing campaigns are battles against the clock. The final product needs to feel relevant and up-to-date in order to compel an audience to pay attention or to act. But you can protect your campaign from rushed work that comes across as sloppy and inconsistent by practicing effective time and campaign management. By using the right technology and thinking critically about how to maximize your time — and your team’s — you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your next big campaign.

John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling app that he’s convinced will change how we manage and invest our time. He authored the best-selling book “Top of Mind,” published by McGraw-Hill. John has been called one of the top Motivational Speakers that people should pay attention to.

The post How to Manage Your Time More Effectively Throughout a Marketing Campaign appeared first on Insights.

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Last week, NewsCred hosted a ThinkContent LabⓇ at London’s Soho House, where a group of Europe’s top marketers gathered to share their experiences navigating digital transformation.

The event concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A led by Charles Hough, NewsCred’s President & COO. The discussion was based around how to get internal buy-in for digital transformation, and how to plan, execute, and ensure adoption. The impressive panel included: Fabiola Stein, Head of B2B EMEA Marketing, HP, Graeme Stoker, Senior Marketing Manager, Fujitsu Global, Abdul Hamid Ebrahim, Director, Transformation Services EMEA, Oracle Customer Experience Cloud, and Ben Glatz, Digital Transformation Lead, Shell.

Q+A: Digital transformation from buy-in to adoption Q: How do you obtain executive buy-in for digital change?

Shell’s Ben Glatz began by admitting the difficulty that comes with getting leadership to buy-in. “It’s hard and It’s about people. It’s about understanding what drives them and what motivates them, what value there is for them.”

HP’s Fabiola Stein said that she has turned to segmenting internal audiences as well as leadership for internal buy-in. “What I prepare for execs is all about giving them the comfort of different scenarios. I prepare four scenarios — the first is the best case. Then there’s the second-best — if I don’t get all the budget and all the alignment, this is what I could deliver. The third one is a little bit less, but you still get something. And the 4th, which is still an option, is the status quo: we keep operating as we are, and we don’t change anything. Nobody wants to go forward as the status quo, so you’re forcing a decision. Then there is doing nothing, as some execs need 110% of the information.”

Glatz echoed Stein’s point of being in constant communication, “You need to be prepared and have hard conversations with leadership about driving change. It’s about ongoing communication and keeping that cadence up and really listening to them when concern comes bubbling up.”

Q: Are there key stakeholders or particular roles that need to be convinced upfront?

“It depends on the type of organisations you’re dealing with, but ultimately you need cross-functional buy-in,” said Abdul Hamid Ebrahim of Oracle Customer Experience Cloud. “The enterprise brands we work with buy MarTech for lead management, lead automation, marketing automation, CRM, and to help with organisational challenges and silos. The attitude is ‘we need to get it, it’s in the top right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant, let’s get it, let’s adopt it.'” Hamid Ebrahim explained the problem here is that sales and at times not even marketing are part of buying discussions and the needs aren’t properly uncovered, hindering the fit and adoption.

“You need to get sales and marketing leadership in a room together. That’s where integrating marketing along with sales and all the adjacencies come in. It’s surprising how little people speak across teams when they’re dealing with the same customer journey. The customer doesn’t care about your silos. It’s the B2Me world now.”

Q: How do you drive adoption?

“I think if you have a clear purpose and ambition then the transformation follows,” Stein explained. “We’re talking about technology and about business transformation, but at the center of it is people. Whether they’re the customers or whether they’re the people inside the organisation, that’s who you need on your side in order to execute successfully.”

“Putting the people at the heart of it is really important,” agreed Ben Glatz of Shell. He also cautioned that change fatigue is something he often hears, however, he warned that “the problem is that only more change is coming.”

Glatz also advised going too fast can often pose a real problem. “Sometimes you need to be empathetic with people and realise they may have a lot going on. Sometimes you just need to slow it down a bit regardless of what you committed to from a go-live date.” Stein added that the best way to help people deal with the constant state of change is to over-communicate.

Q: How do you communicate the value of new technology?

“Communication is quite important. We have the challenge at Oracle that when we’re selling the technology and CX, the mindset is ‘Oh, we just plug it in and it works,'” said Hamid Ebrahim. “However, the majority of the issues for our customers are around people, process, and working optimally with the data and technology. Thinking about communication is a massive element of that.”

To communicate effectively, Hamid Ebrahim explained that his team maps internal personas (similar to the way you’d map external personas if you’re in the content world) and utilises video and infographics (as opposed to thousand-word memos which are hard to retain) in order to position new technology in a way that will resonate with them, which is something Stein has also implemented at HP.

“At HP, we use the concept of capabilities mapping and develop one-to-one upskilling programs that are taken very seriously,” she explained. “There are people who have been in the company for 20 years and you can’t just come in and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to change your infrastructure and your job description, and you need to get on board.”

Glatz concurred, saying, “Setting a vision in communication is vital. Most people who are at work want to do a good job and those people would like a simpler way of doing that job. People are not opposed to making their jobs and lives easier, yet often implementing the necessary chance to do that, people’s reactions are “oh no, I don’t really fancy that change.” He explained that that’s the reason why communication is so important. “You need to be able to explain the value of new technology to people and really articulate how it will directly impact them.”

Q: What other guidance can you offer from your experiences?

Graeme Stoker of Fujitsu Global gave this advice: “I firmly believe you need to have three pieces in place: the evangelist piece, the vision piece, and the orchestration piece. Evangelise a clear vision and don’t just put it up there and wait for it to somehow come together. You need the orchestration piece for execution.” He continued, “Marketers are curious, creative people and once these pieces come together, they want to see the thing they’ve worked so hard to put together actually working.”

Stein ended with a reiteration of the importance of being people-centric. “Transformations may look different depending on the size of a company, but if you put the people before the strategy, you’re more likely to succeed,” she said.

She also advised that timing can be an important factor in successfully implementing digital change. “In American companies, there is a culture of wanting to be a pioneer. But if you go in uncooked, unprepared, and your timing is wrong, you’re setting yourself up for a really bumpy ride.”

Stay tuned for the next article recapping the keynotes given by Shell’s Ben Glatz and Unilever’s Global E-Commerce Lead, Punit Parikh.

Marta Ripoll is a Sales Director at NewsCred.

The post ThinkContent Lab Learnings: How to Get Internal Buy-In for Digital Transformation and Drive Adoption appeared first on Insights.

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We’ve talked at length about the importance of integrating all of your marketing efforts to reduce duplicative work, improve collaboration, and in turn, increase performance.

Simply put: it makes your marketing better.

But communication is key — and an integrated marketing strategy without an integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan is only half baked. Here are some ways an integrated marketing communications plan can help you deliver a consistent customer experience across each touchpoint while keeping internal stakeholders on the same page.

The importance of integrated marketing communications

Today’s digitally-savvy consumer expects a seamless experience across every piece of content and point of communication. They expect companies to know what they’re looking for before they’re even looking for it. And they’re smart enough to recognize disjointed experiences when they see them.

Having an integrated marketing communications plan will help to ensure you’re delivering on consumers’ expectations by ensuring:

One brand voice

In a crowded digital landscape where attention times are short, an IMC plan can help you to build trust and nurture your most valuable prospects and customers. Conversely, disjointed experiences dilute the impact of campaigns — and even breed distrust in your audience, so it’s essential to have a consistent voice for which your brand is known throughout all campaigns.

Seamless customer experiences

Managing independent campaigns across email, social, mobile, web, and other channels put marketing teams at risk for wasting time and resources and disrupting a seamless experience. Having an integrated marketing communications plan will quell the production of one-off campaigns and instead help teams to plan and build omnichannel campaigns with consistent messaging.

Internal alignment

It can be difficult to maintain control over your message when there’s poor directional alignment between agency partners or consultants (external), C-suite approvers (internal), cross-channel stakeholders (horizontal) and corporate or legal approvers (vertical). In order to deliver unified, integrated experiences, you need an IMC plan to ensure every piece of your campaign — and every stakeholder — is speaking the same language.

Building a successful integrated marketing communications plan

So how does this all fit into a formal integrated communications process? An effective integrated marketing communications plan requires global campaign planning, local management, collaborative multi-format content creation, and advanced reporting.

Let’s break it down into four key steps:

Step 1: Create focused campaign briefs

The easiest and most impactful way to build an IMC plan starts with gaining alignment and buy-in on shared campaign briefs. Your brief should answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your campaign — what do you want your audience to think, do, and feel as a result of this campaign? Why does your audience need you to tell this story? How will you reach your target audience? What goals are you trying to achieve? And most importantly, what assets do you need to create to deliver value to your audience and meet your goals in the most impactful way possible? Once complete, this brief will act as a single source of truth to help everyone move forward in lockstep.

NewsCred’s Content Marketing Platform allows marketers to write or upload a brief in a centralized location associated with each specific campaign. Request a demo to learn more.

Step 2: Communicate with defined, collaborative workflows

Strategic alignment is one thing, but the execution is quite another. It’s important to have a clear process of communication for each element that is needed to get a campaign off the ground. The easiest way to do this is to have well-defined workflows.

These steps may vary from project to project, or from one type of content to another. Creating flexible workflows will help you manage the production of all the multi-format content that campaigns depend on, from videos and landing pages to presentations, infographics, social ads, and more.

It’s also important to have a system of notification in order that will alert the next stakeholder that it’s their turn to collaborate. Your campaign planning and management tool should have this functionality and should also be easily configured to reflect the way you work (thinking about maximizing communication and collaboration.)

Step 3: Schedule regular checkpoints

Keep lines of communication open amongst campaign stakeholders by setting aside time to meet periodically throughout the planning, building, and execution stages of a campaign. Teams should use this time to ideate, collaborate, and check in on the status of deliverables or to monitor an existing campaign and make changes if need be. This time should also be used to communicate any concerns, roadblocks, or urgent corrections.

Step 4: Deliver full-circle campaign visibility

An integrated communications plan doesn’t end once the campaign goes live — it should close the loop from collaborative ideations and execution to helping communicate business results. Leverage technology to deliver visibility into the efficiency and performance of your integrated campaigns. A robust, centralized platform like NewsCred’s CMP will help to monitor team processes, assess campaign progress, and identify potential bottlenecks in one unified workspace. The result? Your marketing team will have a transparent, documented plan with the supporting data that’s needed to effectively communicate your strategy, process, and results both within the marketing org and the company at large.

Is your marketing org struggling with communications throughout the integrated marketing process? Request a demo to see how NewsCred’s award-winning Content Marketing Platform can help.

The post Come Together Now: Why Integrated Marketing Communications Matter appeared first on Insights.

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So it’s 2019 and we’ve come to the point that the question is no longer, ‘Do you listen to podcasts?’ but more ‘What podcasts do you listen to?’ Their usage is increasing year-on-year, which means one thing – so does the advertising opportunity. But is it enough to make it a part of your marketing plan?

Podcasts have been around for more than a decade now, starting as a way to catch a radio show after it had aired, and growing from there. From how to start your own business, to solving real-life murder mysteries, podcasts have come a long way, steering interest not only from consumers but from marketers too. After all, podcast advertising spend is expected to double to $1.6 billion by 2022, according to a study by advertising research firm WARC. But what exactly is it about this medium that makes it so alluring?

Acast published a study that revealed a staggering 76% of UK podcast listeners say they have acted on a podcast advert or sponsorship message. Actions include: looking for more info online, visiting a brand’s website, and sharing information about a brand online. Could it be that because there are fewer ads in podcasts that listeners are able to maintain their focus during the ads? Or that consumers have a unique relationship with a podcast, being that they spend thirty minutes or more simply listening to one voice entertain them, that the consumer is inclined to develop trust quicker, and be more likely to take action?

Who knows? It would take a bucket-load of science to prove or disprove the endless number of possible theories behind why podcast advertising is so successful, but the point is that 76% taking some sort of action is a lot. So as marketers we should be taking note, and we should be investigating further. Let’s start by taking a look at who the UK podcast listeners were in 2018.

Firstly, 35% listened to podcasts while driving or traveling – so it’s almost as if it acts as a radio, except it’s a radio show you’ve chosen, on something you like. Therefore it’s more like personalised radio. From understanding that 30% listen to podcasts when traveling or driving, we know that we don’t have their full 100% attention. Nor are they likely to be able to action something from an ad in that exact moment. From this, we can calculate that when it comes to podcast advertising, you’re more inclined to use it for brand awareness.

What is also very interesting is that there is a steep growth in podcast usage for ages 15-24 year-olds. This stat will get marketers’ heads to turn, of course – we are always looking for ways to target those younger than eighteen, and here we have it – as long as the show is age appropriate, of course. But with traction from both older and younger listeners, we have ourselves some wonderful targeting opportunities. Especially as 67% of listeners are listening on their phone.

The stereotype that only wealthy, successful forty-somethings listen to podcasts is long gone, and the realisation that you can reach people across various different age segments is part of why so many marketers are flocking to the medium.

Just as any new channel to our industry, however, targeting capabilities in podcast advertising is a challenge. Generally across platforms, the measurement is impressions, except on Apple where you can measure when someone skips your ad or not. But one thing is clear, podcast advertising still has a long way to go. In fact, the lines are so blurry and muddled that in 2017, the IAB created the ‘Podcast Playbook’ to help advertisers understand how to tackle podcast advertising.

However limiting the measurements are currently, there’s no denying that podcast advertising is a unique medium in finding an engaged audience with a high percentage of listeners who enjoy the ads almost as much as they enjoy the show. This in itself should be a big enough incentive to add it onto your brand awareness marketing plan.

Lisa Sajwani is strategy and planning executive at Croud.

This article was written by Lisa Sajwani from The Drum and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The post What’s the Deal with Podcast Advertising? appeared first on Insights.

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Marketing campaigns can be massive undertakings with the potential for big payoffs. They require cross-functional coordination and a clear goal to work toward. Unfortunately, they also require a lot of diverse and distributed work, which can easily get out of hand — and lead to inefficiency and wasted time. Time is money, especially when it comes to marketing investments.

Calendar management is an important part of making sure your campaign delivers in terms of both awareness and revenue. Eliminating waste frees up space to refine your campaign and make sure it matches your vision. Maximizing the hours in a day during a marketing campaign naturally leads to better content, and there’s no shortage of ways to tackle inefficiency on your next project.

How to work effectively and efficiently

Some important things to consider when trying to be more efficient with campaign management

Think about your minimum viable product

What’s the most basic version of your marketing campaign that would still check your key boxes? That’s your MVP, or minimum viable product, which is a helpful tool for getting your priorities straight.

You’d never want your final product to look just like your MVP, but it’s a good place to get the ball rolling. Schedule tasks so you finish the critical things first. Identify the things you’d like your campaign to include but aren’t absolutely necessary, and set those aside at the beginning.

Using an MVP-focused strategy also lets you stay at the bleeding edge of the conversation, and allows for an agile marketing approach to your campaign management. Waiting for every component of your campaign to line up before rolling anything out can cause some of your work to show signs of aging by the time it’s seen. Keeping your MVP in mind ensures only the most important things are on your plate and prevents you from getting bogged down by unnecessary distractions early on.

Utilize time blocking

Meetings, emails, distractions — they can all add up to big time lost. Over an entire marketing campaign, the numerous and varied tasks that need to be completed are a big drain on working hours. One way of getting on top of all of that is through time blocking.

Block sections or certain parts of the day for specific tasks: respond to emails in the morning on Fridays, hold meetings on Monday afternoons, etc. By grouping similar tasks in the same time block, you eliminate the time lost by constantly switching between different activities. A well-planned schedule helps the overall mission remain clear and keeps daily tasks from becoming overwhelming over the course of an entire marketing campaign.

Let consumers do the work for you

One of the most time-consuming parts of a campaign is the content creation itself. Campaigns that take advantage of user-generated content not only get social media traction, but they can also ease the burden of having to endlessly churn out original work on your end.

One example of this is Starbucks’ 2014 White Cup Contest. The campaign challenged customers to draw on Starbucks cups and share their creations online, with the winning design featured on limited-edition reusable cups a few months later. This campaign has plenty of obvious benefits: social media engagement, strengthening of brand-customer relations, a new cup design at the end of it all. What makes a campaign of this type so valuable, however, is how much of the work was done by Starbucks fans themselves. Including a user-generated content component in your marketing plan can produce big results without putting a drain on your team’s time.

Tip: Try repurposing your own content for multiple parts of a campaign to help save time and ensure a unified message across every touchpoint. Think: re-utilizing the content from a whitepaper and turning it into a webinar or turning video content into a shorter version for Stories on social media.

Embrace automation and campaign management technology

Automation has revolutionized marketing forever, and it’s becoming more and more accessible. Three-quarters of marketing teams now use automation of some kind in their workplace. The most common uses for automation are social media post scheduling and email marketing, yet well over a third of marketers say that audience research and ROI tracking are their biggest time drains. However, simply using automation isn’t enough to save you time; you have to use it for the right tasks.

Using a centralized technology like NewsCred’s content marketing platform can make it easier to manage campaign tasks, calendars, and supporting assets, and automate scheduling social, email, and blog posts — all of which makes collaboration and execution more efficient. Ultimately, you need to identify what takes up the most time for your marketing team, then look for a tech solution that can help carry that load. Automating the mundane tasks required during a marketing campaign frees up time for your team to work on more important things.

Look outside your immediate team

Your marketing team isn’t the only group at your company that can (or should) contribute to a marketing campaign. Working together with other teams pays plenty of dividends — like increasing camaraderie and ideating — but it also helps distribute the workload across more individuals.

Breaking down organizational silos and embracing integrated marketing are increasingly popular trends in the business arena for plenty of reasons. For example, getting your PR team on board with some of your content plans is a good way to complement your campaign strategy, while freeing up time for members of the marketing team to tackle additional high-level tasks.

Marketing campaigns are battles against the clock. The final product needs to feel relevant and up-to-date in order to compel an audience to pay attention or to act. But you can protect your campaign from rushed work that comes across as sloppy and inconsistent by practicing effective time and campaign management. By using the right technology and thinking critically about how to maximize your time — and your team’s — you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your next big campaign.

John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling app that he’s convinced will change how we manage and invest our time. He authored the best-selling book “Top of Mind,” published by McGraw-Hill. John has been called one of the top Motivational Speakers that people should pay attention to.

The post How to Manage Your Time More Effectively Throughout a Marketing Campaign appeared first on Insights.

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