Say Hello To The Content Marketing Stack

You know about ad stacks, right?

Get ready to say hello to the next big thing in content marketing technology: the content marketing stack.

Content stacks aren’t here yet, but they’re coming. In the next couple of years, I expect we’ll see offerings from the big enterprise players: Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce.com. (IBM has a lot of catching up to do if it’s to become a player in this space.)

There are many factors driving this latest phase in content marketing evolution, not the least of which is a tangled and complex content marketing vendor landscape. There are well in excess of 110 content marketing tools on the market today, with more appearing all the time. Most are point solutions.

Acquisitions Everywhere

M&A activity is rapid and accelerating. Content marketing vendors (as well as adjacent companies, such as email marketing, social media marketing software and marketing automation software providers) are being acquired by the three large enterprise players that all hope to integrate them with their larger marketing clouds. Already, they’re beginning to use terms such as “content alignment” and “converged media” in sales collateral and value propositions.

Converged media, the blending of paid, owned and earned media, is also contributing to this trend. With content at the core of advertising, social media and PR, as well as a brand’s owned media channels, content must be unified with the ad stack, as well as with social media software.

Content stacks are necessary to consolidate the eight content marketing use cases identified in research I’ve just published on the content vendor landscape. No use case is an island. As organizations mature and become more strategic in their content marketing initiatives, it becomes imperative to seamlessly link execution to analytics, or optimization, or targeting, for example.

Media Convergence Drives Stack Evolution

Because content feeds paid and earned media, so, too, do use cases bleed into converged media. This is why content stacks will link with ad stacks and form the core of what we’re today beginning to call marketing clouds.

Content Tool Stack Hierarchy

Who will win the race to build the first content stack? Currently, it’s Adobe’s battle to lose. With their Creative Cloud, they’re far ahead of the game, and they have announced long-anticipated plans to integrate the Creative Cloud with the Marketing Cloud.

The Integration Challenge

But integration is easier (and faster) said than done. It must be noted that the Creative Cloud today is comprised of tools for publishers, decidedly not for marketers. Competitors Oracle and Salesforce.com are aggressively acquiring marketing-oriented software. Meanwhile, smaller, more vertical players such as Percolate, Content.ly, Kontera and ThisMoment (to name but a very few) are attracting partnerships and investment.

It’s going to be a very interesting couple of years to sit back and watch how the content marketing software vendors stack up.

 Images courtesy of Altimeter Group.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Content Marketing | Content Marketing Column

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About The Author: is an analyst at the Altimeter Group where she covers digital advertising and marketing. A consultant, author, and sought-after speaker, Rebecca is the former head of Econsultancy's US operations. She was VP and editor-in-chief of The ClickZ Network for over seven years. For a portion of that time, Rebecca also ran Search Engine Watch.



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  • Daniel Taibleson

    Where does Altimeter fit into this conversation? You guys do content strategy… :P

  • Desirae Odjick

    Great post Rebecca, and I totally agree! I think the Legal and Compliance end point is especially interesting, since in larger or more regulated industries (the ones who are spending a lot of these marketing stacks) Workflow and Legal/Compliance are completely intertwined. Review and approval is a core part of most creative production workflows, so it’ll be interesting to see how tools address those disparate markets (review and approval for creatives, review and approval for legal, in the same tool.)

  • Jason Jue

    What’s the agency role in the content stack?

  • cboulanger

    You’ve done a strong job of showing the logic of this trend. I think looking back at Adobe’s absorption of other web technologies (Macromedia for publishing, then Omniture for analytics) shows that this is where they’ll go (are going?) next. Good to get out ahead and make sure you can use the tools together.

  • Andy Detweiler

    Really good thoughts, Rebecca. Watching the evolution of the healthcare IT industry before moving into digital marketing, I can say with confidence you are dead on in stating integration is always easier said than done when it comes to technology.

  • http://mauwii.wordpress.com David Parker

    Marketing brand communications is still a very supply-chain hungry activity and it is well know that if you can link CRM, Content and Analytics together across the media execution you can start building meaningful insights into consumer’s interactions, experiences and relevance. The future means “creative content exchanges” to answer a few questions beforehand, the role of the agency, legal, compliance, media, innovation etc, is all based on the optimization of content from creation to delivery and those who develop these “exchanges” a single place of compliance and capability will win in terms of agile, effective, innovative and creative global brand marketing. http://wp.me/p3hjDb-cp

  • http://mauwii.wordpress.com David Parker

    Marketing brand communications is still a very supply-chain hungry activity and it is well know that if you can link CRM, Content and Analytics together across the media execution you can start building meaningful insights into consumer’s interactions, experiences and relevance. The future means “creative content exchanges” to answer a few questions beforehand, the role of the agency, legal, compliance, media, innovation etc, is all based on the optimization of content from creation to delivery and those who develop these “exchanges” a single place of compliance and capability will win in terms of agile, effective, innovative and creative global brand marketing. http://wp.me/p3hjDb-cp

 

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