What’s truly impressive about marketing by Adobe, the multi-national computer software company, is the sheer volume of audiences, regions, and use cases they effectively target with their cross-functional mega-suite of computer products.
In short, Adobe knows their audience—and that’s especially apparent in their content.
Online, in-app, and inbox, Adobe is always selling their story. Whether prospect or customer, marketing execs can come to CMO.com to find news, insights, interviews, events, and more tailored to high-level interests. Customers, too, are awarded the créme de la créme of content with their in-app tutorials and dedicated Adobe Learn tutorial and project hub. Complete with their own conference, Adobe Summit, the masterminds behind the original PostScript are masterminds of integrated marketing—and the show is one worth watching.
At Allstate, even their content is in good hands.
To reach a wide audience across two content platforms, Allstate’s content team produces daily content covering a range of topics. From money-saving tactics to driving safety tips and gardening how-tos, Allstate is the familial voice ready to answer all of life’s tricky questions.
Combining a unique blend of marketing content including videos, quizzes, articles, slideshows, GIFs, and infographics, Allstate’s two content sites put an engaging and interactive twist on insurance.
Top on our list? Make Avoiding Holiday Home Hazards a Priority This Season infographic and the Home Loan Calculator.
"Content marketing was the cornerstone and a true differentiator during the Franken-Monitoring campaign. Using content in a fun, engaging and informative way enabled us to stand above the noise and lead an effective campaign." —Steven Wastie, CMO, AppDynamics.
AppDynamics is a software tool in the IT operations industry—not, at first glance, a sexy concept. But when it comes to cutting-edge innovations and creative marketing tactics, AppDynamics knows the way to an IT guru’s heart.
To kick off the launch of AppDynamics Unified Monitoring, a single pane of glass to monitor an entire IT environment, AppDynamics combined product marketing and content marketing to resurrect an old industry concept, the “Franken-Monitor,” as the anti-hero of their very own comic strip series.
The Adventures of Franken-Monitor walks the user through key pain points experienced in IT: siloed monitoring toolsets, conflicting data, and even internal politics, bringing humor to pain points while introducing AppDynamics as the solution.
However, the true hero of this story is the AppDynamics marketing team. Crushing the industry average for content production with the use of workflow efficiency and content management tools, AppDynamics gives their marketing team the space to be creative—and it shows.
With nearly 4 million business customers around the world, AT&T knew that leveraging online and social media channels to engage their audience was a no-brainer. Years later, AT&T’s marketing content still expertly addresses the needs, questions, and challenges of their customers by providing quality, relevant content.
Whether you’re an IT professional at an enterprise company or the CTO of a company of five, AT&T has a carousel of resources handy. The Networking Exchange Blog offers a range of technology insights, from improving cybersecurity to making customer engagement more personal with the cloud. Small businesses get their time in the spotlight, too, with AT&T’s Business Circle blog.
The range and depth of content should come as no surprise considering part of their online marketing strategy is to engage over 150 AT&T employees as thought leaders on the blog, and they use streamlined editorial processes to do it.
The marketers at AT&T make everyone—from their fans to the people behind the scenes—feel like they’re part of the band, building trust and driving revenue along the way.
A little research goes a long way—and a lot of research can generate over 12,000 page visits and double your email subscriber list.
At least that was the case for BetterCloud after launching the BetterCloud Trends in Cloud IT series. Fueled by research gathered through a 30-question survey distributed to BetterCloud’s audience of more than 100,000 IT professionals (of which over 1,500 completed the survey), the goal of the BetterCloud Trends in Cloud IT campaign was to educate their database on major disruptions about to hit the market, while simultaneously building their subscriber list.
The campaign was a huge success, garnering media attention from the WSJ CIO Journal, Business Insider, and Forbes. It was so successful, in fact, that BetterCloud decided to continue the campaign into next year with the release of the 2016 Trends in Cloud IT Report—coming to a digital marketing channel near you.
When done well, content marketing can create an entire experience for a buyer. Add prizes and a sweepstakes into the mix and you’ve gone full-blown gamification. Add a $5,000 scholarship on top of that and you’ve won the hearts of millions.
Blackboard’s #100DaysOfLearning campaign did exactly that. Grand incentives such as an iPad, scholarship, or the always-popular Starbucks gift card acted as incentives for engagement, and an easy-to-play gamification element encouraged daily interaction with the brand.
The brilliance behind the campaign is twofold: it fosters daily, real-life engagement with Blackboard’s prospects, customers, and advocates, and it’s a mecca for user-generated content that Blackboard can use again and again.
Safety manufacturer Brady Worldwide has a 100-year reputation for being leaders in their space. So when the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and Hazard Communication (HazCom) standards were integrated and aligned, it only made sense that Brady would lead the charge in promoting and leveraging the new adoption.
By developing a new line of GHS/HazCom products and services, including a partnership with a software safety company, Brady became the natural link between their customers and compliance.
In accordance with above-average, rock star marketing content, Brady created an entire campaign to educate their audience on the new guidelines. The Streamlined Guide to GHS offered practical support to navigating HazCom/GHS compliance and an on-demand webinar delivered a complete timeline for compliance enforcement.
The icing on the cake? Brady’s marketing team aligned their campaign deadlines to national compliance deadlines, keeping their content relevant and their audience informed on a topic they couldn’t afford to ignore.
Between sleek copywriting, big and beautiful imagery, and not one, but two blogs, there’s a lot to love about CA Technologies’ marketing tactics.
Our favorite? Rewrite, a CA Technologies blog, powered by custom content by WIRED magazine and ARS Technica. This brilliantly branded content hub pulls a mix of content crafted by CA Technologies and their collaboration partners to offer a range of high-quality content by names their audience trusts.
A powerful way to gain brand recognition and provide prospects with timely information, Rewrite is easy to navigate, filterable by four key categories (create, grow, protect, and lead), and has a layout closely resembling the look and feel of a digital magazine, giving it extra oomph.
Covering high-tech topics like “Is Biometric Authentication a Heartbeat Away?” and “Going to War Against Cyberwarfare,” the content on Rewrite is authoritative, well-researched, and extremely enticing. Covering a variety of content styles—short-form, in-depth, infographic, slideshow, video—it’s obvious that CA Technologies understands how to leverage thought leadership content.
Content is core at CEB. A best practice insight and technology firm, CEB has built their brand on finding answers to the most pressing challenges facing business leaders. This mission also guides—you guessed it—their content.
For a company that hangs their hat on the content they create, what better way to market themselves than to leverage their highly-sought after insights and deliver them as smaller, lead gen assets? Ripe with resources, CEB has a little something for everyone—as long as you belong to their target audience, of course.
White papers, checklists, videos, easy-to-navigate landing pages, and compelling calls to action take center stage from the start, dominating the space “above the fold” and capturing click-throughs from future CEB customers.
Modern marketers recognize that success in marketing means treating your audience like humans, not buying centers. But replacing product-centric data sheets with compelling customer-centric stories is a lot harder than simply producing a couple of blog posts and an infographic. Recognizing this challenge, Cisco understood the road to change would be arduous. And as Katrina Neal, Head of Content Marketing at Cisco, will tell you, “managing change is really hard!”
But don’t be fooled. By making content a priority and working with great creative minds like Webby Honoree Tim Washer to add a splash of comedy to their content, Cisco took the marketing stage by storm with this year’s edition of the Cisco Global Index (GCI) campaign.
GCI is an ongoing effort to forecast the growth of global data center and cloud‑based IP traffic. The forecast includes trends associated with data center virtualization and cloud computing and is referenced throughout the industry by analysts, customers, and even competitors.
With a long-running cadence and platform to manage their content, the Cisco marketing team has room to play. This year, Cisco’s marketing team tested new channels and creative executions including an emphasis on short and fun video formats to give the heavy report a lighter touch.
The approach was a success—the team saw an increase from 7.7 million impressions in 2014 to 8.4 million in 2015.
Multinational telecommunications company CommScope is on the cutting-edge of marketing in their industry. Complete with an active Twitter page, robust resources hub, and thought leadership blog, CommScope knows how to attract the right audience with the right content at the right time.
The CommScope Resource Library is full of easy-to-find, useful content—from calculators and tools to labeling templates and webinars. You can even download a series of apps for your iPad or iPhone to access eBooks, catalogs, a certified report system, and calculator for when you’re away from the office.
Now that’s what we call resource-full!
Digital channels have taken B2B marketing by storm—and not every company has the right umbrella. But after looking at the marketing achievements of Commvault in 2015, they clearly came prepared. With streamlined processes, a customer-centric focus, content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and alignment across teams and channels, Commvault not only weathered the digital storm, they reveled in it.
When Commvault, providers of data protection and information management solutions, launched the next generation of their product in October, they focused on delivering a consistent customer experience from social media to product marketing through sales enablement, using relevant content to introduce the right outcomes to the right people at the right time. This product launch included infographics, analyst reports, blog posts, SlideShares, white papers, videos, case studies, and social posts all on a sleek hub page—a vast undertaking made possible by close alignment across teams. Commvault also leveraged their internal channels to get the word out, with approximately 75 ambassadors sharing content across their social platforms.
Commvault’s integrated strategy, increased content output, and focus on customer-centric messaging has paid off, and engagement numbers across social and digital channels have shot through the roof in 2015.
Enterprise organizations deliver a unique set of marketing challenges; just ask Patty Brown, leader of CSC's Content Hub.
At CSC, Patty leads a team with 75-80 assets in production per week. These rock star marketers fuel a variety of channels with stellar content, including CSC.com, the digital and print magazine CSC World, and Ingenious Minds, an internal microsite highlighting subject-matter experts within CSC. They also host educational online conferences in their Town Hall series, covering a variety of topics geared toward their IT-focused audience.
Since the Content Hub publishes across the enterprise, they know what it takes to produce all types of content, often localized to a particular region, at scale—a major accomplishment. By developing processes for easily repurposing content in multiple languages, Patty and her team have delivered consistency and quality across their global marketing initiatives.
One of the Content Hub team members was recently quoted as saying that he couldn't imagine doing his job without Kapost. We can't imagine CSC being as successful in their content marketing without Patty Brown.
“Original and creative thinking helps a company get noticed. Integration into all current campaigns increases the impact.” — Kelley Bjella, Communications Manager, Datavail
As a result of Datavail’s focus on data-driven marketing and collaboration across departments, their marketing team contributes to 75% of the company’s monthly revenue.
Since January, Datavail’s marketing team successfully launched over 37 campaigns. Of their many rock star moments, the Datavailopoly campaign has been one of their biggest hits to date. The pillar of the campaign was a Datavail-branded, Monopoly-inspired board game built for their target audience, database administrators.
The goals for the initiative were to increase social engagement, increase email open rates, more meeting requests and scheduled meetings during events, and higher quality sales qualified leads.
This campaign started with a direct mail piece, including attached magnets designed to resemble Monopoly deed cards. The campaign then moved to a Datavailopoly-themed email campaign, which led to the branded board game. This campaign is now integrated throughout their event strategy, email campaigns, and a strong social media push.
Through creative messaging, collaboration, and data-driven approaches, the Datavail marketing team took center stage as one of 2015’s top 50 marketing rock stars.
“Produce better content, faster.” This is the mantra of the Demandware team, and it served them well in 2015.
Demandware's marketing engine was churning this year, creating an impressive amount of content from white papers, research, blogs, case studies, testimonials, web copy, quotes, social media, events, product feature guidelines, infographics, SlideShare presentations, Powerpoint decks, and more. You name it, Demandware probably did it in 2015.
Beyond the volume, though, what’s particularly powerful about Demandware’s content is its depth and scope. From compelling blog posts targeted at specific audiences, to infographics transforming their data into easy-to-consume visuals, to original research reports diving into industry benchmarks and trends, there’s truly something for everyone—as long as you’re Demandware’s target audience, that is.
From content marketing to demand generation, Dun & Bradstreet are masterminds at transforming data into creative, engaging content.
Coupling high editorial standards with data-backed insights into their persona, D&B set their sights on the C-suite and launched “Connectors,” a highly targeted thought leadership blog for marketing executives. But there’s no stuffiness here—D&B’s blog keeps it high-level and entertaining.
Utilizing a range of content types—from white papers to quizzes—D&B’s content is targeted, informative, and ridiculously clever. To leverage the latest Halloween season without breaking their backs to create new content, D&B launched their “Is Your Database the Walking Dead?” infographic to drive sign-ups for their Data Health Scan. By re-packaging existing content into a format that was highly visual, culturally relevant, and touched on key business information, D&B created a viral asset that quickly drew leads into their database.
The backbone of their operation? An established workflow, regular publishing cadence, and a solid network of internal and external contributors.
When Pat Oldenburg, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, joined Five9, the marketing team was just beginning to develop original content. Flash forward and the team can now proudly boast 533 pieces of content across 20 campaigns in just one year.
Self-made efficiency experts (okay, they may have had some help), Five9 has proven themselves as content marketing masters. Using the pillar framework and a buyer-centric content approach, the team has produced heaps of webinars, case studies, blog posts, and white papers—all hosted on an easy-to-use resources page.
So what does a brand do once they’ve reached the top? They reach even further. In 2015 Five9 took their marketing content to the next level by incorporating more video into their marketing mix to produce eight customer stories, distributed across three different channels.
This explosion of quality content was no accident, but the result of enhanced internal collaboration and strategy. And it’s not just the sheer volume of content that’s impressive. Their well-designed and informative content assets are a testament to the power of outstanding content planning and execution.
“Do you know what GE is?” asks Owen, a fictional character who just landed a spot as one of GE’s newest developers. His friends are confused because isn’t GE an electrical company that makes kitchen appliances and stuff?
Since its establishment in 1896, GE has been a leader in innovation. And that’s exactly what GE Digital was out to tell the world in 2015.
On the surface, the video series “What’s the Matter with Owen?” may look like a clever recruitment campaign for new developers (because it is) but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that it’s a part of a much larger push to brand GE as one of the world’s digital leaders.
Take the GE journey from channel to channel and it’s obvious that GE takes this positioning seriously, starting with the website homepage headline, “Explore the New Digital Industrial World.” To really drive the message home, they even have an online magazine, The Txchnologist, that offers “an optimistic, but not utopian, take on the future and humanity’s ability to tackle the great challenges of our era.”
And just in case you’re not convinced that GE’s marketing is out of this world, check out GE’s tumblr page where you’ll find GIFs galore, fun facts about wind energy, podcasts, and even a few tributes to the achievements of Thomas Edison himself—all ripe for social sharing.
From marketing concept to marketing content, we’re absolutely giddy about GE, “The digital company. That’s also an industrial company.”
Blog? Check. Resource center? Check. Masterminds of social media marketing and selling? Check and check.
With their content foundation set, seven-year-old social media management company, Hootsuite, isn’t worried about running out of fresh ideas. They’re too busy taking over Twitter with their #WinWithSocial campaign, creating killer videos, and pioneering the thought leadership charge with the Hootsuite University.
Besides being one of the most recognized and trusted social media brands among the Fortune 1000, what makes Hootsuite a platinum brand? Their customers.
Leveraging customer relationships can be a lucrative—albeit challenging—marketing strategy, but when done right, the payout is huge. Hootsuite’s dedicated customers page is a content hub of success stories that come straight from the source—Marketo, Monster, Hershel, and Wiley, to name a few.
What’s so brilliant about this strategy? For starters, co-branding content can truly broaden a brand’s reach as Marketo, Monster, and others share Hootsuite’s content via their own channels, with their own authentic voice. Secondly, it’s a great way to foster a deeper connection with your customers, opening up partnership opportunities you may have never considered.
Lastly, prospects are much more likely to trust the word of your customer than the words on your product page.
We’ve seen a lot of companies compile original research in 2015, but inbound marketing brand HubSpot has been doing it for years—seven, to be exact. And this year, HubSpot earned their power seat at the head of the marketing research table.
HubSpot’s seventh annual report, The State of Inbound 2015, is a showcase of what a B2B marketing campaign is supposed to feel like. The interactive campaign hub is full of easy-to-consume content, and turns a data-heavy report into a fun experience for the user. Eye-catching graphics, digestible video clips, and tweetable snippets make it easy to fork over your valuable information to download the full report.
Despite the report requiring the participation of nearly 4,000 marketing and sales professionals across industries around the world, HubSpot managed to keep it simple. They simply asked, “What do you do? Why do you do it? Is it working?"
The result? A rich and insightful report that gets straight to the point, and is a goldmine for repurposed content in the future.
Behind every piece of rock star content is a rock star team—and that is exactly the case at IBM.
This global technology software and consulting company reaches audiences across the world, and marketing content sits at the center of their marketing operation. But for a company of their size, orchestrating cross-channel, global campaigns and content can easily spiral out of control.
How does this massive company stay aligned to to produce high-caliber content across the world? The answer is actually quite simple: a streamlined process for planning and collaboration.
Tara Dunn, Social Business Manager at IBM, is responsible for overseeing content production across seven sectors, and keeping hundreds of employees aligned. Using a sharable, centralized calendar, global teams have visibility into the content lifecycle, allowing them to effectively coordinate and strategize around core content.
The company's commitment to laying the foundation for collaboration and visibility into the content production process has paid off tenfold. With an optimal process in place, IBM’s content team now produces twice as much content, and released a brand spanking new blog, In the Making.
The backbone of Intermedia’s marketing operation is careful planning and a strict focus on integration across multiple marketing and sales disciplines.
A pioneer in integrated marketing, Intermedia creates engaging, customer-centric content that drives results across seven marketing functions—PR, social, product marketing, demand generation, vertical marketing, sales enablement, and channel marketing—for both its U.S. and U.K. marketing teams.
This year, Intermedia set the bar high with their 2015 Insider Risk Report, which examined the data security habits of U.S. and U.K. office workers. The extensive report generated multiple assets distributed across channels to generate publicity, drive new leads, nurture existing leads, create social buzz, and enable sales and channel partners to create selling opportunities.
Launching an entire campaign based on a trio of assets—the study results, commentary from internal and external subject matter experts, and best practices for alleviating the problem—Intermedia used their content pillar foundation to create targeted, region- and industry-specific assets including press pitches, videos, infographics, and more.
Perhaps the most significant element within Intermedia’s content marketing arsenal is its “campaign-in-a-box” platform of 6,000 channel partners. Intermedia packages up its content marketing assets for partners to distribute under their own brand name, vastly amplifying the reach of Intermedia’s campaigns.
From the writing to the graphics to the strategy supporting it all, the 2015 Insider Risk Report is just one example of Intermedia’s sophisticated marketing operation, and a testament to the power yielded by a truly integrated marketing team.
“We are proud that Jackson chose to focus [content marketing] on ‘doing well by doing good’ to make a positive impact on retirement saving in the U.S.”
In an effort to ramp up their content marketing operation, Jackson Financial’s marketing team built the The Center for Financial Insight as an online resource center for investors. Its mission is to raise the overall level of financial education and confidence in the US, and to do this, the team puts authenticity at the center of every initiative and asset.
Their first foray into content marketing has been a huge success. In 2015 alone, the site received 200,000 visits and 40,000 downloads of videos, white papers, and articles, and has received substantial third-party recognition, winning 15 awards to-date for different content pieces.
Perhaps their biggest claim to fame is their annual National Retirement Planning Week campaign. Jackson worked with more than 30 other coalition partners to develop and disseminate educational resources on retirement planning across the U.S.
Jackson touts the integrity of their content efforts as the cornerstone of their success. As Daniel Martin, Managing Editor of the Center for Financial Insight, explains, “The NRPW campaign showed us that, if your content is crafted with the reader in mind, is well-articulated, and is offered with the primary goal of attempting to help solve a real problem for them, your target market will find it and consume it. There is no substitute for authentic, engaging content.”
We researched and evaluated LeadMD from top to middle to bottom, and the verdict is out: the marketers at LeadMD are Monsters of Funnel.
Working with over 2,500 marketers, LeadMD started to notice trends in their industry, namely, modern marketers are squarely focused on the sales funnel. Armed with these insights, LeadMD took a rock star approach to leverage these insights with a full-fledged thought leadership campaign addressing the funnel, complete with its own website and hashtag #MOF.
Every part of the campaign—concept, content, design, and promotion—was a win for the Monsters of the Funnel. Enlisting high-caliber names like Jason Miller of LinkedIn and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing, LeadMD put together an eBook that takes the reader step-by-step through each state of the funnel, a series of videos, blog posts, and social campaigns to execute a highly successful multi-media marketing campaign.
Key takeaways? Cross-team collaboration is key to pulling off a campaign of this size and magnitude, and B2B marketing is not boring. In the words of Chad Koskie, Content Marketing Manager at LeadMD, “People want some spice and a respite from office drudgery. We kept this in mind, and it paid off.”
Long live the funnel!
Global technology company Lenovo is taking a cutting-edge approach to marketing content—and it’s paying off.
Lenovo stepped up their game in 2015, moving toward interactive and “snackable” content—such as assessments, quizzes, and interactive video content—instead of in-depth assets, driving more engagement across their customer experience.
Recognizing the opportunity for video, Lenovo leveraged video software tools to track user engagement and score leads based on their interactions. Lenovo then launched a campaign to target inactive prospects with a series of content. From IT survival guides based on user experiences, to interactive content formats like assessments and quizzes, Lenovo doubled their prospect engagement and dropped their unsubscribe rate by 50%.
“Video is one of our most successful content formats,” said Mike Ballard, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Lenovo, in an interview. "It seems to be a medium that people are really [embracing]. Incorporating interactivity within video, such as pop-up questions, offers buyers a different ways to absorb content that we already created."
WARNING: The following content may incite severe stimulus in the cerebrum.
Latin honors level summa cum laude, meaning “with great honor,” is often regarded as the highest academic honor. But there is a rare, fourth distinction, egregia cum laude, meaning “with outstanding honor” intended to recognize students who earn the highest marks among the summa honor, but while pursuing a more rigorous curriculum.
For years now Marketo has WOWed us with their content. As industry overachievers, their impressively robust blog and resource center covers everything from beginner marketing automation guides and cheat sheets, to in-depth guides on hard-to-tackle topics like lead management and calculating marketing ROI.
Match that with their notoriously punchy editorial voice and delightfully clever copy—and you’ve got the marketing equivalent of Stephen Hawking.
And with that, we honor Marketo, egregia cum laude de contentus.
Cue the encore.
Have you seen content marketing at a global scale?
This year, Microsoft Dynamics embarked on a global content marketing strategy that delivered fully integrated content pillars across eleven markets: Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., Australia, Spain, Canada, France, and the U.S.
This monstrous campaign leveraged content and digital channels galore: blogs, social media, paid social media, global Taboola and Outbrain syndicates, and two gated assets, complete with a marketing automation campaign and sales readiness packages.
Pulling off a campaign of this scale required close collaboration across all eleven marketing teams around the globe, and meticulous attention to detail to localize the campaign for each region. Thanks to their effective teamwork, Microsoft Dynamics saw a drastic increase in lead volume while proving content marketing as a scalable and profitable marketing strategy.
Mouse around the Building a World-Class Sales Organization campaign landing page to see a perfectly executed mix of interactive and personalized content—and experience first-hand why Microsoft Dynamics is a top-notch marketing rock star.
Marketing Content: A+Customer Experience: A++
Let’s get straight to the point: Moz’s content is oodles of strategically mapped out fun.
From MozCon to Mozinar to Moz Blog, Moz’s content is brainy, bright, and branded. Specializing in search engine optimization, the marketing analytics software company walks the talk when it comes to SEO best practices, and you can see it across their content and channels.
Moz is expert at breaking down high-level, hard-to-digest concepts, and makes SEO a little less scary, and a lot more entertaining. The Beginner's Guide to SEO, for example, is a gigantic 10-chapter eBook that covers everything from how search engines operate to measuring and tracking success. Who would want to read all that, you ask? Likely no one—at least not all at once—which is why the book is presented as an interactive web page where you can easily jump around and find the specific content you want to read, when you want to read it.
Moz is a master of this model, gathering relevant content under a larger theme, with pages upon pages of well-designed, easy-to-use content resources.
What does Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat have to do with cloud security?
It’s the perfect segue to discussing the importance of sorting apps for cloud security policies—obviously—and an example of the creative, engaging content that landed Netskope a spot on this year’s Kapost 50.
Netskope, providers of cloud-based security services, started in 2013 and has quickly established itself as a content marketing juggernaut in the hot cloud access security broker market. What’s helped them get there? Beyond Harry Potter references, they’ve built a strong marketing foundation with a myriad of content formats, in-depth and customer-centric assets, and a fun and approachable style that humanizes the brand and makes engaging with them more delightful than a mug of butterbeer on a cold winter’s day.
Everything from their top-of-funnel content through their product-focused assets support connection with prospects and customers on the topics they care about most—and they know how to have a little fun with serious topics. For example, the Movie Line Monday series uses movie quotes to introduce educational topics, and their infographics use an approachable, easy-to-consume style to introduce new concepts around cloud security. They’ve also perfected the art of heavier assets with a library of quarterly cloud reports and eBooks, all chock-full of valuable, engaging information. Additionally, Netskope builds authority and thought leadership with third-party research.
For every step of the buyer’s journey, Netskope’s got content. Looks like they have this marketing thing all sorted out.
Recruiting the right people to work for your company—and keeping them—is a big job for HR professionals. And PeopleFluent, a leading technology company providing solutions for acquiring, managing, and retaining employees, knows how to support this critical undertaking with excellent content and vast resources.
PeopleFluent has something special going for them—on top of the fact that 80% of the Fortune 100 use their products and services: they’re “built around people and not HR processes,” and this mantra factors into their excellent and incredibly human content. Their resources page is packed with eBooks, guides, and reports that put the needs of their buyers first, and touch on critical pain points and strategic tactics for overcoming them. They also use their channels—blog, social, and email—to provide the marketplace with new ideas, checklists, and how-tos for evolving and optimizing their talent management strategies.
Phunware has always created stellar content. But in 2015, they streamlined and prioritized their marketing content process, giving them the bandwidth to leverage market developments—including breaking news! The result? More, better, and timelier content.
Because of this newfound organization, Phunware executed an extremely ambitious campaign in a very short amount of time—and saw excellent results. When Apple opened the Apple TV platform to developers, Phunware knew they had a unique opportunity to help brands—particularly those in the media and entertainment industry—capitalize on this new platform.
Phunware decided to host a webinar to create awareness and urgency around the tvOS release. In less than a month, they nailed down all of their campaign details, launched promotional emails, blog posts, social posts, paid advertising, follow-up emails—the whole marketing gamut.
The goal of the campaign—to capitalize on Apple opening its Apple TV platform to developers through targeted outreach—was not just met, but exceeded. Not only did Phunware promote the heck out of their tvOS custom development when it was most relevant, but they doubled their registration goal!
Key lessons learned?
“Don't be afraid to jump on timely news if you have a solution that corresponds to it!” and, “Structure your campaign in Kapost and ATTACK.”—Emily Reynolds, Content Marketing Manager at Phunware.
PolyOne is a global provider of specialized polymer material, services, and solutions. Serving a range of industries including appliances, healthcare, and textiles, this rock star brand took major steps in 2015 to revamp their digital presence and establish themselves as thought leaders and innovators.
Starting with a website overhaul, PolyOne consolidated 12 legacy websites into one customer-centric experience. The responsively designed website was built to be a resource for those seeking information about PolyOne solutions, services, and ideas. The website launch was a key step in revolutionizing PolyOne and, more broadly, marketing for the entire industry.
Unafraid to tackle the tough issues, PolyOne has produced a myriad of white papers covering everything from product-related topics such as Managing Heat with Polymers in LED Lighting to thought leadership campaigns introducing the color revolution. Using a sophisticated search function, it’s easy to filter by content type, product, and industry to quickly find the right content. With so many excellent resources— including their Ideas Center—right at their fingertips, PolyOne has positioned themselves as true innovators in a traditional space.
Procore, makers of construction project management software, built a strong marketing foundation in 2015, amping up their marketing efforts to deliver complex, integrated campaigns across channels and touchpoints.
Integrated marketing is no easy undertaking. It requires coordination across teams and departments, and strict dedication to consistency and timelines. What’s the result of close alignment? Procore can now deliver cross-team campaigns quickly, think more strategically across channels and marketing functions, and embrace the identity of a truly revenue-driven marketing team.
In 2015, Procore focused on multi-faceted strategies, amplifying a consistent message across email marketing, product marketing, paid media, eBooks, press releases, infographics, video, social media, internal communications, landing pages—you name it. These complex campaigns reached a wider audience, and leveraged digital channels more effectively.
Take, for example, a campaign promoting their annual event, Procore Groundbreak. To drive attendance, the Procore marketing team built a robust 16-email invite cadence (each with fun and unique design), video content (supported by testimonials from past attendees), an infographic (targeting executives), and internal content and emails empowering (and incentivizing) employees to promote the event as well.
Powerful B2B marketing strategies don’t always start with eBooks, blogs, or social media—and one of the most inspiring rock star marketing moments of 2015 proves it.
Rockwell Automation, providers of industrial automation and information solutions, realized that a consistent customer experience must first start inside the company. Enter the Connected Enterprise campaign. The Connected Enterprise is a key focus at Rockwell, exploring the interconnectivity between industrial and information technologies, the impact on businesses and industries, and how Rockwell’s family of products, services, and strategies support customers within this evolving environment. Although sales and marketing had been communicating and creating collateral around this concept for years, in 2015 the company realized that internal employees across departments and job roles didn’t have a unified perspective of the Connected Enterprise, and didn’t have the information they needed to speak to this core topic.
To remedy this disconnect, the internal communication team built a robust, company-wide campaign to support consistency and complete alignment around what the Connected Enterprise is, what it offers customers, and what it means to Rockwell.
The sheer scope of this effort, and the ecosystem of content created to support it, is enough to land Rockwell a spot on this year’s Kapost 50—but the timeliness of delivery and overall execution of this internal campaign solidifies their place as true marketing innovators.
Here’s a snapshot of the campaign: The internal communications team created short, easy-to-consume videos on high-level topics, followed by five in-depth videos describing the specifics of the Connected Enterprise. These five videos were released every week, and employees were given the opportunity to subscribe, further encouraging engagement. They also created an infographic and articles coinciding with the videos. These videos were delivered through internal community channels and strategically targeted emails, tailored to each internal audience. For example, they developed unique emails for subscribers and nonsubscribers for each business unit, made sure to send concise and to-the-point messaging to sales, and activated trigger-based campaigns to deliver related content. They also created a news-style website for the campaign to surface the content more effectively.
But the crowning moment of this five-week internal campaign was the delivery of the final piece of content. On the day of Rockwell’s annual customer event, Automation Fair, the internal communications team sent out a mobile-friendly email with an infographic and quick talking points on the Connected Enterprise—timed so employees attending the event received this final piece while en route, keeping the content top-of-mind and fresh and empowering them to speak to customers and prospects with consistent language.
As one of the world’s largest software companies—producing five to eight blog posts a day, thousands of social mentions, and new long-form content pieces weekly—keeping messaging consistent can feel like a behemoth best left for fairytales.
But for CRM giant Salesforce, it’s not about nailing down one message, but distinguishing an editorial voice and tailoring it to a wide range of products, campaigns, and events. Heeding the cue from the literary world, Salesforce built a reliable system of guidelines and editorial oversight, centralized under a single editor to establish alignment across their many content assets.
Whether it’s the knowledgeable colleague who can fill you in on everything you need to know about CRM, or the thought leader laying out the next big trend, every piece of Salesforce’s content marketing shares a single, unifying theme: they’re here to help you succeed—starting with their own content team.
With the foundation for internal alignment set in stone, the Salesforce content team is free to innovate—and innovate they did.
From experimenting with new content forms (like podcasting and interactive content) to initiating the Small Business Spotlight Series to address a need for more impactful messaging to their small business owners and entrepreneurs, Salesforce’s marketing content strategy is a prime example of how a solid process lends itself to a better, more agile marketing strategy.
A provider of an advanced analytics software suite, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics, SAS’s content deck is stacked—and their clearly mapped marketing journey is nothing but aces.
Starting at the top of the funnel, SAS’s thought leadership blog is information-heavy and keyword-rich. With an average of four posts per day, this rock star brand keeps their blog fresh, up-to-date, and targeted. For those looking for more meaty material, you can search through literally hundreds of white papers; sort alphabetically, by industry, or business unit to find the information you’re looking for. Further staking their claim as leaders in their industry, SAS invests in and maintains relationships with 16 analysts and was mentioned five times in 2015 by Forrester as top dogs.
And that’s really just the beginning. With trust and brand familiarity established, it’s time to pull out the game-changers: customer stories, product briefs, fact sheets, webinars, and training materials. Already a customer? There’s content for you, too! An academy and certification program for data science, an annual conference, and an Intelligence Quarterly Magazine to boot.
How do you coordinate global marketing, regional marketing, and digital marketing teams to create and deliver relevant content for multiple markets, languages, products, and industries? Great question—and SCIEX has the answers.
As creators of life science and analytical technologies, SCIEX lives in a very technical space—and if you don’t know your way around a laboratory, their in-depth content may seem like it’s in a different language. But if you do speak science, then SCIEX has the content you need, regardless of your native tongue. For example, their data sheets come in 23 languages, and webinars are available in English, German, Chinese, and Japanese.
The true brilliance behind SCIEX’s global marketing lies in the collaborative, expansive, and efficient way it’s created and repurposed. Because each team has visibility into content created across regions, campaigns that work in one region can be easily repurposed and tweaked to support marketing efforts across the world. And pushed out through multiple channels including email and marketing automation, paid media, social media, video, internally to sales and regional teams, and online communities that align with the key focuses their solutions address, SCIEX’s content delivers high-value insights—garnered from subject matter experts—to customers and prospects, from creative videos adding intrigue around an upcoming product launch to highly technical articles and data processing workflows.
What’s encouraging about a company that specializes in document destruction? Their nurture strategy.
Throughout 2015, the Shred-it marketing team redesigned their nurture programs for North America and U.K. markets. The team simultaneously launched a new strategy across five new countries, creating fresh content for a total of seven countries! (And, more recently, they launched a campaign in French, bumping their global reach to a total of eight, en fait.)
What made 258 emails, 175 landing pages, and approximately 50 assets created, translated, and adopted for localization possible? Effective coordination across their marketing teams.
Content may be king, but interactive content is the ace—and SnapApp is holding the royal flush.
Offering an array of interactive content templates—from personality tests, calculators, and polls to interactive white papers and infographics—interactive media platform SnapApp makes it easy for brands to tell great, humanizing stories while driving business demand.
Leading by example, SnapApp decided to get the word out about their brand by launching the year-long marketing campaign “The Reason for the Season.” The campaign addressed a need marketers face year-round: inspiration and reasons to engage with customers and prospects.
A small but mighty team of four led the campaign, creating 18 unique assets (a comprehensive guide, workbook, four season-specific worksheets, multiple pieces of interactive content, three webinars, and an interactive customer story), to drive drive demand and brand awareness with a unified theme across channels.
Biggest lesson learned? The importance of offering a wide range of content options to an audience—not every prospect or customer wants to interact with content the same way. But at the end of the day, SnapApp is trying to help marketers come up with better ideas and create more human-to-human content, and connecting with holidays is just one way to do that.
Successful modern marketing hinges on consistent, relevant, and high-quality content, delivered across the buyer’s journey to drive better leads and revenue dollars. With that in mind, meet modern marketing practitioners, SolidFire.
SolidFire came leaps and bounds in 2015. Shifting from startup into enterprise territory, their marketing operation needed to scale alongside the company. To meet aggressive sales goals and revenue numbers, SolidFire’s marketing team ramped up their content operation in a big way. First things first, they took stock of current content to see what worked, needed to be updated, or should be tossed. Next—and this is where their true brilliance lies—they created a robust system for tagging, tracking, organizing, and discovering content, enabling their sales force to surface and deliver the right content for the right prospect at the right time. Take, for example, their resources page. It organizes quality, bottom-of-the-funnel content by type and topic—a sales enablement dream and an easy way for prospects to find exactly what they need.
Delivering the right content to the right person at the right time is the core—and future—of content marketing. And rock star brand Spiceworks made this year’s list for their mastery of persona-developed, customer-centric content, seamlessly delivered across channels.
As a professional network and online community, Spiceworks addresses marketers and IT professionals with their meticulously targeted content, asking pointed questions about the challenges they experience and offering research-backed content assets to ease the pain. Their content journeys are easy to follow, leading you through the valuable information you came to find.
While their resource center, blogs, and communities are overflowing with top-notch content, our favorite this year is the State of IT in 2016 campaign. Why do we love it? From strategy to execution to distribution, this campaign was done perfectly. An example of what happens when a brand has a solid marketing foundation and process in place, it’s obvious The State of IT in 2016 was well-planned—from intensive research to the fun and wacky design—and successfully solves a major problem for their target audiences: how to work together.
Small business owners understand the need to build trust in their communities—and so does Square.
With the same class and elegance as their products, Square’s Town Square Business Resource Center empowers entrepreneurs by giving them the information they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. Expertly branded, easy to navigate, and full of useful tips and tricks, the Town Square is a one-stop shop for everything from informational articles and webinars on smart strategies for using quickbooks to ready-to-go email marketing templates.
Par for the course, Square keeps their community tight with regular Seller Spotlights, intended to celebrate the spirit of small business owners, and their “Wise Words” blog series which includes advice from Square sellers about running a business. Think town tavern with a digital, mostly sober twist.
Our favorite part? The call to action, elusively lingering at the beginning, middle, or end of every piece of content, closing the loop on content and marketing.
Cheers to that.
If you thought the glamorous and lucrative world of content marketing was just for mobile applications and SaaS companies—think again.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is a multinational biotechnology product development company that makes—to put it simply—anything you would ever need in a lab. “A world leader in serving science,” Thermo Fisher is uniquely positioned to take advantage of thought leadership content and campaigns—and they’ve done just that.
With a background in both biology and journalism, their fearless content leader, Katherine Scott, has been working since 2013 to elevate the Thermo Fisher voice and establish themselves as an industry authority.
Flash forward a few years, and Thermo Fisher now hosts regular webinars on topics that range from next-generation sequencing, to plant sciences, and not to mention crushing it on their blog, Accelerating Science.
You don’t have to be a science buff to know that this biotechnology product development company takes the number one spot in their industry as rock star marketers.
This year, Vertafore planned and executed their first online conference, DISRUPT 2015: A Vertafore Online Event. A brand new concept for Vertafore’s marketing team—and the entire insurance industry in general—promotion of the event initially took a backseat to educating prospective attendees on what an online conference even entailed.
Undeterred, Vertafore set the tone of conversation with an email campaign that provided concrete data and insights: “By 2020, 75% of decisions about buying insurance will be influenced by online information. If your strategy doesn’t take a 360-degree view of the digital world, it will hurt your bottom line.” Logging into the event, attendees were placed into a digital lobby via the DISRUPT 2015 portal. Live attendees could see who else was online, chat with each other, earn points and prizes through various contests, or enter the virtual auditorium, trade show, or networking lounge.
Just 100 shy of their aggressive goal of 3,000 registrants, Vertafore’s first digital event was certainly a success. Over 60% of the conference attendees were previously unknown by Vertafore, closing out the year with an above-average pipeline to jump-start 2016.
How do you modernize a 208-year-old publishing company and simultaneously revamp your product and service marketing approach with a single, omni-channel, global marketing initiative?
Just ask John Wiley and Sons, dummy.
A global publishing company well-known for their For Dummies brand, John Wiley and Sons successfully positioned themselves as a leading digital publisher, researcher, and knowledge-provider by committing to modern marketing.
Starting with a process and operations overhaul, Wiley successfully united historically siloed teams and dozens of contact databases onto a single marketing stack. John Wiley and Sons now has several hundred marketers planning, creating, distributing, and optimizing global marketing initiatives under one digital roof.
With a strong foundation in place, John Wiley and Sons For Dummies team fundamentally changed the brand’s approach to marketing through their worldwide For Dummies Custom Solutions campaign. Targeting their Marketing Manager persona across a variety of verticals, John Wiley and Sons global teams—from North America to Asia—pulled together to co-brand new and existing assets, distribute content across channels, and track engagement from lead acquisition to sales qualified lead (SQL).
$975,000 of campaign-generated SQL pipeline later, it’s safe to say that the smarties at John Wiley and Sons have built a fully functional—and successful—integrated marketing system.
Created in 2008, Workiva now claims 65% of Fortune 500 companies as customers. Cloud-based data management platform Workiva is—in short—crushing it.
Their world-class marketing strategy, supported by technology with an emphasis on process and workflow management, helped Workiva shift from product-focused to customer-centric marketing. One example of a rock star moment in 2015 occurred with the release of the Wdesk solution.
By defining their content marketing philosophy within the texture of their marketing technology, Workiva developed a content strategy in conjunction with the implementation of its software. From identifying target personas for each content piece and creating workflows associated with each content type to integrating publishing channels and building out an editorial calendar, Workiva saw a 184% increase in average blog views, 21% increase in referral traffic, and 45% increase in domain authority.
With basic processes in place and a boost to their KPIs, Workiva tackled their biggest event, The Exchange Community Conference, as a closely aligned team. Workiva’s TEC conference had it’s own dedicated website, complete with videos, photo galleries, session information, attendee lists, and even a place for attendees to share their stories.
In a nutshell, Workiva has masterminded an integrated marketing strategy—all the way down to their very own conferences and events.
Zendesk’s digital content feels less like marketing and more like a virtual hug—it’s friendly, personal, and immediately puts a smile on your face.
Providers of customer service software, Zendesk is a clear star when it comes to B2B marketing and content. With each touchpoint and a plethora of resources, they delight, inspire, inform, and support their prospects and customers every step of the way. Zendesk has managed to create a brand personality that’s impossible not to love, driven by a clear company mission that can be seen across their marketing channels. Zendesk “brings companies and their customers closer together”—and facilitating connections between people and businesses is also at the core of their content. Take, for example, Relate. A hub of interesting articles and ideas, this content is all about relationships, and does a brilliant job bridging the human, emotional side of Zendesk with the products the company provides.
Between expertly executed content and a loveable brand personality, Zendesk is the friend you’re looking for—if you’re looking for customer service software. Well done, marketing.
How do you leverage a strong, trusted B2C brand to drive B2B business? Ask Zipcar, the well-known ride-sharing company that’s turning the wheel toward businesses as well as consumers. Zipcar is hardly the first to cruise between B2C and B2B lanes. Companies like Airbnb, Amazon, Xerox, and Facebook have also built products and marketing strategies around both business and individual buyers.
The key to fueling this B2B engine? Zipcar has been able to leverage their brand mission and values—accessibility, sustainability, convenience—and personality—supportive, funny, reliable—to turn individual Zipcar members into evangelists for Zipcar for businesses and universities. One example comes from Pomona College, where it was actually the students who approached the school about ride-sharing services. Zipcar’s success in establishing their B2C brand with compelling, humorous, and high-quality content (shout-out to their stellar blog, Ziptopia) makes it easy for businesses and universities signing on with Zipcar to get individual employees or students on board fast.
This brand has obvious zip for both B2C and B2B, and we can’t wait to see what happens when they step on the gas.
When contemplating cutting-edge marketing techniques, the insurance industry probably isn’t your first thought—until you take a closer look at insurance company, Zurich North America.
Zurich North America recognized that integrated marketing content was a must-have for 2015. In response, this astute brand ramped up their marketing efforts, leading the way with innovative content and aligned initiatives. By laying the foundation for efficient content production, and leveraging the pillar approach, Zurich produced a massive amount of high-quality content for cross-channel reach. Using this model, Zurich positioned themselves as thought leaders in their industry, sans the chaos that usually accompanies the all-too-common “create more, faster” mentality. While escalating efficiency, they never sacrificed quality—an impressive balance to strike.
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