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.
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.
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.
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.
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