My MarketingProfs Article On Measuring Content Marketing Effectiveness

A little while back I wrote an article about how best to measure content marketing effectiveness. That article ran on MarketingProfs this week and the response has been very positive so far.

This issue of measurement is something that we marketers grapple with frequently, and it’s an emerging area that we need to get right.  It’s far too easy to just “assume” that your content marketing efforts are paying off. But if we don’t get hyper focused on measuring its impact in tangible ways, content marketing will get relegated to the same dustbin as Public Relations—you know, that thing that we all do, but really can’t figure out how to measure effectively?

In the article, I have proposed a few ways to push the envelope of your measurement:

Tip 1: Expand your traffic-counting tools: count everything you can to show true ROI

 Tip 2: Use your tags: just like you tag campaigns, tag your content

Read the full article on MarketingProfs here:

Be sure to share your ideas in the comments here, or there. 



Content Marketing Challenges: Getting More Contributors

Cross posting my content marketing blog post published over on the Percussion blog today. In Content Marketing, getting quality content from your extended team is hard–I have provided my six tips to enable your content contributors. 


Your organization is likely filled with smart people who have strong points of view on relevant topics for your business.  Even if you have a very-engaged core team of bloggers and contributors, or are buying content from third party content services like WriterAccess or Scripted, there are always people at the periphery who *should* be involved with your content creation efforts, and they are not.

Read the full post on the Percussion Web Content Management Blog

Marketing Themes for 2012: Be Different-Do Different

Hard to imagine that 2012 is almost upon us. My kids are on high alert though because Christmas and Hanukkah are almost here. A sure sign that the New Year is nigh!

This is my third “look ahead” blog post since I started focusing on this blog a few years back.  In 2010 my key message was “Focus, Focus, Focus” in 2011, it was “Align your activity with the current business objectives.” Both of those are as valid today as they were then.

My theme for 2012? “In order to Be Different, you have to DO different. “

I currently work in a very crowded technology market space.  So crowded that an industry watcher recently penned the blog post we have all thought about. In the post they grabbed 10 tag lines from vendors attending a show to highlight how similar they were. My company was one of the offending parties.

But we are going through a transformation, both for our business, our product set, our competitive set, and for the market overall.  And that requires renewed focus on actually being different.  A few weeks back over lunch with an industry insider I was previewing some of our upcoming design directions.  I explained how we were trying to change how we are viewed in the market…”  He gracefully cut me off with a short “Remember what Yoda said?”

“Do or Do Not, There is no Try”


I decided we needed to stop talking about how we are going to change, or how we are going to be different, we actually have to DO different.

I came home that night and challenged my team with that message. When exploring two options, or paths or directions, err on the side of changing the game.

Not that we should do different just for the sake of it, We need to use this strategy as a weapon, and as a guidepost for our planning and decision making process, and most of all, our design approach.

You can see this vision in action with the current design styling on our web site, or the graphics we used at the booth during the show. (I can promise that we definitely looked and sounded different at that show!)

Now surely we will get a few things wrong but as long as we are pushing the envelope, and not just doing something because it’s “the safe approach” then I am ok with it.

We are blessed with a truly differentiated product in the marketplace. It’s time for our activities to reflect that differentiation.


Cross Posting from Percussion-Launching Percussion CM1 Version 2

Today Percussion formally launched our strategy for productizing web content management and Percussion CM1 Version 2.  There were a number of great articles and content posted to the site, including a blog post from me on what the launch means to Percussion customers.  You can read the full blog on the Percussion web site here.



Cross Posting from Blog

Since I joined Percussion back in March and started taking the lead on our corporate time to post here has been in short supply. I have had the opportunity to tackle a couple of interesting ideas for the Percussion blog so I thought I would recap two of them here.  Enjoy!

The Rise of the App-Centric Web

I had read an article in about how Apps were going to kill the web and Google. I thought that seemed a bit too salacious. I don’t disagree that the App-based approach to the online world will be transformational. I take issue with the notion that this is the end of Google. Lets not forget that are responsible for the Android platform which certainly is a fast follower to the iApp approach. I have seen numerous other articles on the “App-Internet” as well, will be an interesting trend to watch as it develops.

Search is Dead—Long Live Search, or is it?

Working now for a web content management company, I felt compelled to weigh in on the uproar over the recent Google algorithm change and its potential impact on marketers.  My basic point is that how we think of our websites is actually changing, which will impact how we view search as a tactic.  We are rapidly moving to a world where the company website is no longer the center of the digital universe for that company and what happens in the “edge” of the community is vastly more important.

The Case of the Missing Food

My kids love granola bars.

And not the good for you ones either. The sugary, chocolaty ones that are probably more like a candy bar than granola bar.  But, it’s quick, it’s easy, and it gets them going in the morning. So for at least the past two years they have started pretty much each day with the store brand “GB” as we call them.  When I opened up the new box this morning, I was amazed at how much smaller they had become.  The box was the same, the packaging was the same, but these things are downright tiny now.

Shrinking products to manage costs is nothing new. We inherently know that when times are tough, things get smaller, even if the packaging remains virtually the same. Fortune even did an article on this not that long ago tracking the relative size of toilet paper rolls against the price of paper. Not surprisingly, rolls got shorter, narrower, or less dense as the price of paper went up. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a full half gallon of ice cream on the shelves. First it went to 1.75 quarts and now it’s an even 1.5.

So why should we care that my kids are getting hosed out of an inch of granola bar or if “half-gallon” now means “1.5 quarts?”

Because it’s starting to feel like an epidemic.  Quick, make a list of things right off the top of your head that you know are smaller today than they were 2 years ago.

I bet you got to 10 without even trying.

As marketers we are setting a pretty dangerous precedent by keeping prices level while reducing content.  (And it’s not just food stuffs either.) How long before the packaging team realizes that they are making the boxes too big and the packaging too long and resize the package to save needless costs?  Then we will just be left with something that both looks and IS smaller for the same price.

In the end, less for the same equals reduced purchasing power, which sounds an awful lot like inflation. It’s the insidious, unreported kind that people can’t plan for and doesn’t get accounted for in any economic model, or health indicator.

Which will lead to trust issues. I actually feel worse that I am getting less for the same without being told. In today’s hyper-competitive market, I will probably start to eschew brands that are trying to put one over on me.  Just tell me that you had to make things smaller, or just increase the price, I would rather know up front.

So my kids granola bars are smaller, but at least I can still buy a pound of coffee at the store right?

Oh, wait…

Its 2011… Do you know where your marketing is?

Wow, it’s already 2011. Felt like just yesterday I was penning my thoughts on 2010 marketing strategy. Remarkably, that was by far my most popular post of the year that didn’t involve Augmented Reality, the Gartner Magic Quadrant, or One Hour Translations. Not sure why it resonated so much, but perhaps it was the simplicity of the message: Focus on the things that matter most and drive results.

So a good marketing strategist would state the obvious: “it worked in 2010, let’s go for it again in 2011” and trot out another fantastic piece about how focus is even more critical now, and come up with an updated list of three action steps to keep the good times rolling (stay focused, remove distractions and showcase results perhaps?).

But no, instead let’s turn convention on its head a bit.  Just because it was a success, doesn’t mean we should do it again this year. And conversely, just because it failed doesn’t mean we should throw it in the drawer.

By all accounts, our team met and exceeded many of its commitments this past year.  We generated new wins, closable business opportunities, grew overall pipeline and began to drive thought leadership in key areas.  It was a solid double, possibly even a triple if you are the home town scorer.

But some things still didn’t work.  Some of our campaigns fell off the table. Some of our events were originally planned as “demand generation activities” but became “thought leadership activities” in practice. We dabbled in social media, but only really dabbled. The list could go on for pages.

So what does that tell us about what do in 2011? Not much really.

At the end of the day it’s of course about long range planning and moving a market position, that doesn’t change.  But it’s also about meeting the objectives of the business in that specific year. And those objectives have changed since last year. In one unit we had a major effort to build pipeline right off the bat in Q1 of 2010 so we undertook a number of shorter term activities to meet that goal.  But the business is in a different place now, which will necessarily mean our activities should change as well.

So of course, take a lesson from what didn’t work, and try to do more of what did work. But it is far more important to make sure that the activities you are focused on are well aligned with the objectives of your business.

That is my focus for 2011, what is yours?


Possibly related  reading:

HBR: For more on looking back to look ahead

Chris Brogan on Cleaning up your marketing for 2011

Ted Weismann of Lois Paul & Partners on B2B Marketing & Location Based Services in 2011