This article was originally published in CMO.com
You may have noticed that content is becoming ever more important to how brands do marketing.
Marketers have embraced content as a means to be better brand storytellers and as a result, have invested in an explosion of new tools and technologies to help them produce, publish, manage, and measure content marketing.
The side effect of all of this is that content is now shaking up the traditional marketing tech stack. As a consequence, marketing and IT teams are increasingly collaborating to rethink how their marketing tech stacks might enable content to play a more central role. This was inevitable, as content marketing as a practice and as a category of tech tools moves beyond the experimental phase and becomes a first-class citizen of marketing.
So how can marketing and IT teams best combine their content marketing technologies with other parts of the marketing stack? From content creation and workflow to distribution and analytics, many marketers are navigating a range of key decisions, such as how content creation systems should connect with email platforms or how content recommendation engines should connect with CRM.
Let’s look at the issue visually. The typical marketing tech stack and content’s place in it has traditionally looked something like this:
As we move to a model that offers fuller and more integrated support for content marketing use cases, we can expect to see an evolutionary change that looks more like this:
The difference here, of course, is that content marketing shifts away from being bundled into traditional website and publishing technology and toward a more horizontal capability that integrates more seamlessly with other applications and “the glass” where user interaction takes place.
So how can marketers best prepare for and drive this change? Here are three important principles to go by when investing in content technology and making it work with your broader marketing tech stack:
1. Build a strong data foundation: You’ll be able to better serve and understand consumers between channels and gather more data that can then be used for other marketing programs. By making sure that content marketing tools and programs can tap into data from other marketing efforts and that the rest of marketing can leverage data that comes from interaction with content, more solutions will benefit from more data.
2. Make integration capabilities a priority: Favoring content platforms and other marketing technology solutions that offer integrations with other systems will set the table for a more seamless experience. In other words, if solutions you’re choosing aren’t designed and built to integrate with other tools, then it will either be impossible or effort-intensive to make them connect.
3. Think cross-channel from day one: Be prepared for continued digital fragmentation by investing in technologies that are designed to be cross-channel vs. one-trick ponies that may not be able to expand with you. It’s not necessarily wasteful to choose platforms that support more channels than your needs today. Giving yourself cross-channel growing room is one of the best ways to future-proof your marketing tech stack.
By taking these recommendations to heart, brand marketers can better prepare for the future and ensure that they’ll be able to effectively reach, engage, and measure the impact of not only their content marketing programs, but their marketing efforts overall. As technology continues to evolve and new opportunities continue to surface, having a thoughtfully designed marketing technology architecture—with a proper place for content marketing—will ensure that you’re able to make your content efforts every bit as data-driven, multitouch, and effective as your other marketing programs.