Is Your Marketing Ready for 2018?

Is Your Marketing Ready for 2018?

One place to look for lessons is CMI’s two conferences – Content Marketing World and Intelligent Content Conference. For details on each point, including a list of questions to ask vendors, see What to Consider When It’s Time for New Marketing Technology. Few marketers have experience or expertise in this fast-evolving realm. Thank goodness, Paul Roetzer has walked onto both ICC and CMWorld stages to fill us in with presentations such as Machine-Assisted Narrative: How to Transform and Scale Your B2B Content With Artificial Intelligence. In his ICC talk, Engineering Content for Chatbots, AI, and Marketing Automation, Cruce Saunders, founder and principal content engineer at [A], describes chatbots as software – machines – that respond to people’s basic requests in real time, “freeing up humans to do more creative problem solving.” Chatbots, Cruce says, are an “increasingly interactive and vital way to get at content.” In other words, for many companies, chatbots represent the opportunity to create a competitive edge. Keep getting savvier with images and video It’s not news that marketers need to make smart use of images and video. Learn to create videos people love Amy Schmittauer Landino, a consultant in video content marketing and author of the book Vlog Like a Boss, spills her secrets in her talk How to Create and Repurpose Video Content for More Attention from Content Marketing World. Keep learning about your customers’ world You’ll never flip the calendar to a new year in which you don’t need to keep learning about your customers’ world. For more on how the Red Hat content team did all this and how you can too, see How to Adopt a Customer-Centric Strategy for Your Content. Search engines are getting good at understanding what content people want and what content they find disappointing.

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marketing-ready-2018

After you put away the champagne flutes and flip the calendar to 2018, what will you set your sights on to take your marketing to the next level in the new year? What has 2017 taught you?

One place to look for lessons is CMI’s two conferences – Content Marketing World and Intelligent Content Conference. As I review the blog posts I’ve written this year about the talks at those conferences, I’m struck by one big takeaway: Marketers need to expand their view of their role and their sense of how they can contribute to the business.

This post touches on some ways, according to 2017 CMWorld and ICC speakers, you might do just that.

Keep creating possibilities with technology

Chances are, you and your colleagues are feeling inundated with the marketing technology your company invested in. It may be hard to fathom how to even think about the other 5,000 martech tools you could be using. How do any of us get our heads around 5,000 of anything?

marketing-technology-landscape

Here’s the good news: Doing your job well doesn’t necessarily mean adding more technology to the mix. What the new year requires is that you keep creating possibilities with technology.

Make tech decisions that serve the business

Peg Miller, co-founder of B2B Marketing Academy, gave an ICC talk called Your Next Marketing Technology Implementation: How to Survive, Thrive, and Keep Your Job. She emphasizes that marketers must make technology decisions that serve the business – decisions that have little to do with the tools themselves.

Peg’s three main messages include:

  • Prioritize people and process over technology. The people-process-tech model, which puts technology at the end of the decision-making process, has been around for decades. Still, companies often rush into marketing-technology decisions before they understand their processes or lack of processes. In many cases, the changes companies need to make don’t even require new technology.
  • Seek the simplest solution possible. Plan no more than one year ahead. Look for tools that require minimal central administration. Find tools that work for the loudest naysayers on your team. Avoid overanalysis.
  • Ask questions from multiple perspectives. When you’re creating RFPs or otherwise researching martech vendors, look for a vendor that fits your need. Ask lots of questions, but don’t necessarily look for set answers. “You want to know what you’re getting into,” Peg says.

For details on each point, including a list of questions to ask vendors, see What to Consider When It’s Time for New Marketing Technology.

Experiment with artificial intelligence

Any discussion of marketing technology must mention the potentially seismic impact of artificial intelligence. Few marketers have experience or expertise in this fast-evolving realm. All of us need to pay attention to it.

The time is now. But how?

Thank goodness, Paul Roetzer has walked onto both ICC and CMWorld stages to fill us in with presentations such as Machine-Assisted Narrative: How to Transform and Scale Your B2B Content With Artificial Intelligence.

Paul, founder of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, has developed a framework of five Ps related to AI for marketers, outlining ways that you must avail yourself of AI today and in the future:

  • Planning
  • Production
  • Personalization
  • Promotion
  • Performance

For more on Paul’s AI framework for marketers, see Scale Your B2B Content With Artificial Intelligence: Ideas and Tools Marketers Can Try.

Consider chatbots

Chances are, you’ve interacted with a chatbot online even if you didn’t think of it as such.

In his ICC talk, Engineering Content for Chatbots, AI, and Marketing Automation, Cruce Saunders, founder and principal content engineer at [A], describes chatbots as software – machines – that respond to people’s basic requests in real time, “freeing up humans to do more creative problem solving.”

Chatbots, Cruce says, are an “increasingly interactive and vital way to get at content.” In other words, for many companies, chatbots represent the opportunity to create a competitive edge.

For more on what Cruce has to say about chatbots, see How and Why (or Why Not) to Build a Chatbot.

Keep developing partnerships beyond your immediate team

As content marketing matures, marketers need to develop more partnerships. Among the new friends that marketers need to make are…

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