What Makes a Revenue-Driving Martech Stack?
An uncertain economic environment is forcing businesses to re-examine their budget priorities when it comes to sourcing and building the best martech stack to drive growth while guaranteeing the best ROI.
Marketing leaders are certainly spoiled for choice in their quest to give their content teams the best technology tools. But where do you start? How do you make sense of current martech trends, separating the good from the also-ran?
Join us for What Makes a Revenue-Driving Martech Stack? Marketing and tech integration experts from Parse.ly, WordPress VIP, and Aprimo will spotlight how they’re building their teams and tech stacks to remain competitive. We’ll also dive into the key takeaways and advice from our exclusive Martech Trends 2022 Report.
Not only will you leave with an understanding of the current martech landscape but also how to position your team for success.
What you’ll hear about on the webinar:
- Why it’s a must to have your content management system (CMS) integrated seamlessly into your martech stack to create the best digital experience for customers.
- Why user-friendly content analytics and BI are essential to inform and drive a winning content marketing content strategy.
- How to build the ideal mix of content marketing technology tools that solve the biggest pain points and challenges for today’s content teams.
VP, Content & Communications, Aprimo
Samuel Chapman is a content strategist, brand builder, and storyteller. He is currently VP of Content & Communications at Aprimo. Sam has over a decade of experience building data-driven content programs for hyper-growth startup, mid-market, and enterprise B2B tech organizations. Connect with him here.
Customer Support Engineer, Parse.ly
Born and raised in Toronto, Josh has spent most of his career bouncing around different parts of the analytics industry—with experience implementing several analytics platforms, both in-house at Torstar and Bell Media and as an external consultant. He currently resides in London where he lives with his partner and their greyhound.
VP of Marketing, Parse.ly + WordPress VIP
Dave’s spent the last two decades building high performing revenue marketing teams and installing demand gen engines at both startup and enterprise organizations. He’s a regular speaker, content contributor, and active member in the Revenue Collective. Companies like Silicon Labs, Hoover’s (D&B), National Instruments, Blackbaud, TrendKite (Cision) have all retained his services to build revenue-producing marketing teams in order to achieve their goals. He’s a musician, a dachshund lover, and an avid concert-goer with a laser focus on delivering creative prospect and customer experiences as well as content that’s episodic in nature that moves the revenue needle for a brand. At present, Dave’s building his latest marketing team as the Vice President of Demand Gen at Parse.ly. He’s got a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University and an MBA from Southwest Texas State University.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s webcast: What Makes a Revenue-Driving Martech Stack? I’m your host and moderator today, David Cardiel. I am the Vice President of Marketing over at Parse.ly and WordPress VIP and excited to welcome in y’all in our exciting panel of speakers today. Before we begin, just a couple of logistical things I just want to run through.
Again, a lot of us has been on webinars before, but this is a good webinar hosted platform. On your doc, you should see there an opportunity to chat with us and ask questions. I encourage you to use that throughout this and ask questions because our speakers, Sam and Josh, today have a lot of great insight and they’d love to answer your questions live. So feel free to do that.
Also, want to draw your attention to the poll widget. We’re going to ask a few polls throughout, so by all means, feel free to fill that out. And let us know what you think when we ask the questions. But enough of the logistics. Let’s get into it. Again, webinar: What Makes a Revenue-Driving Martech Stack?
I’d like to first introduce our speakers today. First up, we’ve got Sam Chapman from Aprimo. Really excited to have Sam on board here. He’s the Vice President of Content and Communications here. Sam, you bring a wealth of knowledge around content, you bring a wealth of knowledge around communications and such, as your title says here. Excited to have you on board here, man.
Yeah, happy to be here. Thanks.
Great. And next up, Josh Hanson. He’s a Customer Support Engineer here at Parse.ly. He brings a wealth of knowledge when it comes down to integrating and setting customers up for success with our technology and so forth. Josh, it’s great to have you on board today.
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Cool. Awesome. So let’s dive in. So we’ve done all the introductions here, but what’s on tap, really what we’re excited to discuss today and what led to this discussion, is a report that we put out earlier this year, the 2022 Martech Trends Report, which we’ll put a link to that here in a little bit into the chat, and we’ll also provide that in our follow-up.
It was a report that we built out when we were looking at really just how folks are evaluating, bucketizing, prioritizing what they do with their technology stacks. We’re going to use that report as a bit of an anchor throughout the discussion here. We’ll be showcasing some of the data points and some of the graphs and so forth that came out of that report, offering our own insights into that.
And really extracts different things here, different pain points that individuals go through when evaluating a tech stack, both as an owner and an influencer there. Really talk about the integration piece of this, which is really important with technology. And a really great one here around having a business fit for your tech stacks. So we’re going to get into that here in a bit.
And then as I just mentioned before, and we feel like we say this a lot as we talk about seamless integration when looking at technology as it fits in there. We’re going to dovetail that into really a content angle. We’re going to talk about content analytics quite a bit here because after all, that’s the game that we’re in here.
Take your questions throughout. We’ve got a couple of poll questions. And that’s really the crux of what we’re going to go through today. So if that sounds good to everything, I actually have one question to ask to our presenters here.
Josh, I’ll turn it over to you first. But for all the good folks that have joined us today, what’s maybe one or two things that you maybe want them to walk away with?
I think if I could put my finger on one thing, it would just be that there’s no really one-size-fits-all solution for anybody. The martech landscape is extremely vast. And it really just helps to focus on you and what you’re trying to achieve with the tools that you’re implementing, and that’s where you’re going to find the most success.
Great. No, I appreciate you stating that there. Sam, what about you? What do you want the folks to walk away with at the conclusion of this event?
I would actually jump on Josh’s comment there. A lot of what I plan on talking about, and I think what I’ve seen in the report, is just a level of intentionality you can get to where we’ll talk about this in business fit and as well as with integration. You want to make sure that there’s an alignment that goes beyond just your immediate needs.
So how can you put into a process your martech investment and prioritize it just as you would any strategy that maps up to corporate strategy or business outcomes? So keeping an eye out for ways to do that. Also, I think we’ve both got some dos and don’ts experiences we’ve had where it’s a case study and success, a case study and failure. So I think keeping an eye out just for those good tidbits is something good to keep an eye on.
That was great. Thanks for sharing that both. And for what it’s worth for me, as we had this conversation, as we were prepping for this conversation as a group here, it’s about business results and really the realization. I’m going to hone in on content analytics for me, but just going beyond measuring just the impact of things like inbounds and side traffic and just better insights you can get out of your technology.
Again, honing in on content analytics for me is a big one here, and just the ability to share results across your organization. So appreciate you both sharing that. Let’s get started here. So I mentioned before a bit of an anchor point, Martech Trends Report. So I just wanted to show that here to the group, and we’ll get a link over to you guys to take a look at this in our follow-up as I mentioned before.
So we released this earlier this year. We had a tremendous turnout in terms of respondents here. About 800 folks from our core [inaudible 00:06:06] responded to this. And really, what we were after is, we wanted to discover really what folks were prioritizing, what tech they were using and really what it was doing for them.
Just to call out a few takeaways that we saw through that was in the neighborhood of about 89% of organizations integrate other marketing technology with a CMS. Something to think about there. Analytics and business intelligence is mission-critical to media and non-media industries alike.
More than a third of folks who use the top cited analytics tools that are out there are really unclear about how their content is actually performing. As I mentioned before, realizing those real results as I talked about there, going beyond just the top line metrics, really just how content is performing.
And then seamless tools integration tops business concerns, really just exceeding costs. So folks will actually take some considerations around if they can address a business concern. Costs almost become secondary. We’ve got a chart up coming here that showcases that.
So like I said before, we’ll get a link out to the report. But I just wanted to call it out a bit because this is a bit of, like I said, an anchor point to what we’ll be talking about here today. But let’s get interactive first. Let’s get some thoughts from the audience here so we can set the stage here.
So I’m going to launch our first poll. And what we’ve got here… Everybody can see that, the poll we have today. What is your biggest concern around your content martech stack? Is it cost of technology? Is it onboarding users, getting ROI, complexity of integrating?
What’s most important to you? And just wanting to do is set the stage for what we’ll be talking about today a little bit, get some insight from our speakers. What is your biggest concern around your content martech stack? Your current martech stack, excuse me. I said “content” a lot here today.
Is it the cost of technology, onboarding users, getting ROI, complexity of integrating? Seems like we’re getting critical mass here. So I’m going to close the poll and see what we’ve got. And let’s see. Oh, share results. Excuse me, I’ve got to follow directions here, guys.
So looks like here we’ve got ROI leading the way here. So this may not come as a huge surprise to everybody. But Sam, I’ll start with you. When you see some of the results we see here, we see onboarding users actually at 0%. Any surprises? Anything jump out to you?
That seems about right I think from a rapid-fire response. I would say in the long run, the complexity of integration, I would say I’m surprised it’s not a little bit higher. But of course, on everyone’s mind is that, “What’s the value I’m going to get out of this?” And I think that’s interesting because as Josh mentioned, there’s something like 10,000 martech solutions out there.
And figuring out how you’re going to derive value out of that based on how it fits in with your environment and your goals is huge. But also, you need to be built in such a way that you’re able to get meaningful ROE numbers, and not just six to 12 months down the road. So I think that’s really interesting.
Josh, what about you when you see the results here?
I would add onto that I think it’s nice to see. I think that a couple of years ago you would’ve seen cost of technology be the number one, and I think that’s going to be a constant throughout time. People are always going to be looking to save some money.
But I think getting ROI as quite a high category, is showing that people have accepted that this technology is necessary and valuable. And now it’s a matter of making the most of it. It’s not a question of, “If I invest in this product,” but rather “Which is the right product and how do I use it properly?” So I think it’s nice to see.
It is nice to see. And I run a very growth-oriented marketing organization, so that being top of mind. Also, I think the current economic climate of things, I think is very important to a lot of folks right now. We’re getting on to the end of the year, folks are wanting a strong Q4.
So they’re wanting to maximize really just everything and probably beyond technology itself. Really want to maximize everything because hey, everybody wants to report on a successful year and have a good start to 2023. So not a ton of surprises on my end either here.
One quick point-
… I think it’s interesting, the question of ROI jumps first because as we’re tasked with, “Are we investing this? Okay, what’s the returns?” But then we have to backtrack to go to that complexity angle. So yes, first we want to deliver returns, but let’s back it up.
So in your evaluation process, these things like the cost of tech, the total cost of ownership and the complexity evaluating your current environment, it’s almost like we can start piecing together here the process that we need to take when evaluating.
No, agreed. Agreed. Well, good. All right. Poll’s closed. Okay. All right. Sorry I’m moving up a couple of things here. But let’s get into some of the pain points here. So we’ve talked about the importance of ROI, we’ve talked about a little bit on integration, but some of the pain points that I think our audience might be feeling as they go through here.
These were some of the results we saw out of our Martech Trends Report. And as I mentioned before in one of our core findings is actually, it’s an interesting thought to see that cost actually plays a little second to the complexity of integrating. And I actually get your initial thoughts here and commentary, Josh. I know this is an area that you focus on a lot in terms of integration here. When you see the results, what’s your take on it?
Well, I liked what Sam said on the previous slide. It’s almost like complexity of integrating comes before something like ROI. And so while we want to get to that last step, I think that a lot of people involved in the integration process right now, the implementation process of these martech tools, are finding they’re getting stuck on this phase.
And I think it’s interesting that this is such a high number, because you think that these tools have been out there for a very long time. If anything, they would be easier to implement. But that’s not what’s happening. We’re having a lot of different players and they’re not necessarily playing super well together. Some are, but obviously a lot aren’t.
Yeah. And I think it’s interesting as well. I think there’s some interesting things as I was just reading through it a little bit more. I think there’s some interesting points on here that maybe you just could potentially bubble up. Not to come out from left field, but actually security surprised me a little bit because I think that’s something that probably comes up.
I don’t think it’s to the forefront of someone’s mind. I’m thinking through a sales process when you’re having a conversation about a piece of technology, it’s almost like in the 11th hour like, “Oh wait, how secure is this thing?” And I think it maybe depends on the industry or the business you run there, but that might actually play a bigger part here down the road here.
So that was a thought I had after receiving the results was like, “Oh wow, it’s [inaudible 00:13:45] to see that that low.” But I could see that if we were thinking about this later in the conversation, that’s probably a higher priority as well. But as we get through the pain points a bit, we’re going to get into… We’ve talked about that where cost may be playing a backseat to that, companies looking to save money and so forth.
And this was an interesting quote, and I just put it on the screen here because this came out of the actual report. And to summarize it, there’s a multitude of technology out there. Everybody’s striving to be the best, everybody’s the best at what they do, everybody’s the most accurate and so forth.
And as we get into things, like looking about how this is built for business and really just how people are evaluating it, I think this really addresses something that’s in the market right now. It’s just a plethora of technology. There’s a lot to choose from. There’s a lot to sift through.
I know for me personally… Well, I mean a lot of people may be in this situation. I was part of an acquisition. And so one of the things I am managing right now, technically, is two technology stacks. And those two tech stacks have their own levels of complexity, integration, performance, ROI. We go to that evaluation to ultimately hopefully compartmentalize a little bit because it is a lot.
But that’s another component here to a pain point I think that a lot of people are feeling. But let’s talk about some of those pain points. Sam, there’s a couple of them that I know you addressed in our conversations. Let me turn over to you to talk to that a bit.
So on that quote in the previous slide on integration complexity and then cost. First, I think what we’re seeing around teams is that role and rise of importance of RevOps’ function to help guide that to make sure everything’s working as it should and actually driving revenue at the end of the day. So having a partner and a team like that as you evaluate tech, not only your tech stack but what to invest in.
I think there’s a level playing field on what… As marketers, we see this daily. But when you’re being sold a martech solution, it’s an even playing field because you’re getting sold on business level outcomes that are pretty broad. So that importance to bring in others from RevOps to help you evaluate the underlying tech and even someone from maybe R&D to take a look at it.
I think like you said, you can license 10 different technologies, but are you using them to their fullest? Are they point solutions? Or are they part of a broader platform, specific package where you’re using a 10th of it, but paying for the full license? So I think there’s a lot to evaluate when thinking strategically.
Do you want it more of that one-size-fits-all that rarely ever is that? Or the best-of-breed approach that can actually… While you might have 10 different invoices to process and in accounts to communicate with, that actually lets you be a little bit more nimble and experiment a little more with new channels, strategies, things that open up to your team through this build for your business.
So also, just knowing things like how to calculate and project total cost of ownership before you make that purchase decision. So what are my annual subscription fees, term length, price increases over time, any migration costs, premium support? This is just a model, but all that stuff should be considered and vetted beforehand. So I think that’s a pretty big… The TCO and the potential tech stack bloat are probably the two biggest I’d call out here.
Very good. Appreciate that insight there, Sam. And I guess pivoting over from a pain point from a integration standpoint, Josh, you’ve got some insight there.
Yeah, definitely. Carrying on from what Sam was saying about doing that assessment before you purchase a tool is absolutely necessary because what we see a lot on the integration side, there’s two main pain points I’ve come across with integrating tools myself: helping other people integrate tools, helping clients integrate tools.
The first one has got to be development resources. Complexity was obviously a big pain point on the previous slide. And a complex tool, it could mean you have some added specificity in how you set that up, which can be a good thing. But if you don’t have the resources in place to be able to manage that, now it becomes a slog to get the thing up and running.
And when you have to involve another team like your dev team, for example, now you’re in this world where you’re competing with other business priorities. So you’re fighting for, “I want my martech tool to be implemented,” but 10 other people are also shouting at the development team to have their things implemented.
So you got to slot in there. There’s also additional timelines to consider, deployment timelines working within their sprints. It does slow the process down. Now, one way you can get around this is using tag management systems. These are why GTM, Tealium, these tools are so popular. But what you’re really doing is shifting that work from the development team mostly over to your team which has other issues.
And then you need to make sure that the people on your team are technically competent enough to manage a GTM, for instance. It’s not that difficult but there is a certain skill set you need to hit. So just making sure that you’re aware of who needs to be contributing to the implementation and then the maintenance of these tools is crucial.
Number two, I would say is just user adoption. And I think this is probably mostly in the analytics space, but this has got to be common along most of the martech tools that you’ll see as discussed today. The data shows that people just aren’t really getting as much out of analytics software as I think they hope to be. And these tools, they’re not rocket science, it’s not that difficult.
But for instance, it was my job to implement an Adobe Analytics setup for a customer at one point, and then to carry that through and deliver value from the insights. And that’s okay, I can do that. I’m one person and I’m fully devoted to that. But if you have a system in place where it’s 10% of everyone’s job, it becomes a really high bar to clear to just get in that tool and get people using it.
So it’s really important I think to assess who are the end users of this tool before you pick it up. And do they have the skill sets in place to be able to use the tool effectively to actually extract insights from it? But those are the two pain points that I’ve seen.
I love what you just said there at the end there, Josh, because that feeds into how I look at it as the ROI piece of this. When evaluating a piece of technology is obviously… What’s the name? A champion within the team or the organization that’s really behind this decision.
And that’s usually an individual that’s going to just immerse themselves in this piece of technology, understand how it works. And really, there’s obviously a solution offered that you’re having a conversation when you’re evaluating a piece of technology that the reason you’re bringing them in, is you’re filling a gap, you’re filling a problem that you have.
So designating that champion actually that will be the one to prove a point on that. For my team, I designate to our marketing operations team to be a very integral piece of that to work hand in hand with that champion to make sure that we can have that seamless integration to evaluate that, to understand what onboarding is going to look like.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about success. And so we look at our tech, honestly, constantly. I’m looking at it constantly. But I’ve been asked this question, I would say, you should probably look at your tech maybe every six months to a year at the very least to really just see what’s in there, what you’re spending the money on, how it’s being used.
I like to look at it like, “Are we at max capacity? Are we using it to its fullest extent here and really getting something out of it?” And always looking like, “Are there better options out there? Are there other options out there?” But if we’re using it, we’re using to full capacity, it sticks around.
If we’re not using it or it’s sluggish or requires way too much support, if those things are happening, we weren’t able to address it in the evaluation stage, it’s probably on the chopping block and we loop onto something else. So that’s why ROI is important. So thanks. Oh, go ahead. [inaudible 00:22:47].
Oh, no, I was just going to… I totally agree with you.
Thanks. You can disagree too. But let’s get into the business fit. And this one really stuck out. I credit, Sam, this and our discovery calls in this. But I thought this was really, really important. So I’m going to turn it over to you, Sam. Talk about what you meant by this. And then I actually got a fun real-world example to show you guys in terms of how you can make your stack fit.
Nice. I think that’s reiterating back up to the earlier comment that weighing business fit with every martech investment decision is a priority one today. And that can just be anecdotally, it’s not just based on your environment today, like a potential stopgap solution. But basing that on your growth projections and the scale, the infrastructure behind that required to get you there.
So I was recently just listening to a sales call actually, and the tendency was, “Well, we just need something right now for a stopgap because something’s not working. So going to go with something that’s cheaper, works out of the box, seamless.” But really, in the long run, because they are a growth company, they will run into something at scale that cripples them.
So that’s a really good example. And also, when you’re in the times we’re in where there’s uncertainty, economic, social, the importance of making, what I call, foundational tech investments, they need to be in reference to those projections and that scale speaking down the road. So we hear that term in marketing a lot, one of the buzzwords of future-proofing.
But it’s actually those foundational technologies that can actually provide you a level of risk mitigation amid growth planning. They’re not to be approached lightly. I think that also comes down into how you want to approach that. And if that’s based on your org size, your objectives, to go back to the monolithic model, “Can I get one platform to do it all?” In my experience, that rarely ever works.
There’s limitations to integrations and flexibility beyond the platform. There’s different licensing costs that often aren’t apparent at the beginning. And then really, is it a unified platform? What has been brought in through M&A? And how can you really use it to its full extent rather than losing out to the broad monolithic model versus building per fit based on best-of-breed? So I think that’s the foundational approach, and then always thinking ahead based on your growth projections.
I appreciate all the things that you systematically talked through there in terms of fit. And again, love how you say this. So I’m just going to show this, I’ve already teed this up a little bit here.
But coming by way of what a tech stack could look like. This is the industry standard. Not sure. But this fits us. This is the business fit for us. And so our primary KPI and marketing for both Parse.ly, WordPress VIP is we’re driving growth. And so the bulk of our investments, the bulk of the technology that we evaluate that we bring in is really just centered around that growth, around what we’re doing for growth.
So we bucketized it. And this is actually an exercise that a team can walk through together. We talked about: what are we using for engagement? How do we actually actively campaign? And what are the platforms that we use to actually reach our customers across various channels?
Operationally, really at the crux of it is: what keeps us going? What are the platforms that keeps all this stuff, keeps the glue together, makes lead flow work, it’s scoring work identification and things work through there? What are we using for analytics? Where are we hosting things and what are we measuring? What are some things that have a measurement aspect to it that we use in here? What are we using on the expansion side, reviews and references in their own little category there and internally?
Just the exercise that we do, are we missing anything internally? We’ve got a team, we actually have two teams. We have a technology stack that we’re managing and so forth. Do we have the tools internally that are helping us do the job effectively so that everybody’s successful and alleviate some of those stresses, some of those pressures that we’re talking about there? Each of these is evaluated and looked at as a value-add to our team. Very similar to the graph that we showed earlier.
We look at integration. How easily does it integrate with our current workflows? How long will it take us to onboard? Do we have champions behind each of these and that sort of thing? Because there’s nothing I just can’t stand more than this shelf where we get excited about something, we buy it and it sits.
And then all of a sudden, you’re alerted that it’s renewal time and it’s like, “Wow, we just paid X amount for this for the last year and did nothing with it.” Definitely try to alleviate a lot of that. There’s some duplication in some areas here, as you’ve just seen. Not to get too far into the details here, but as I mentioned before, we just had an acquisition. So we inherited two stacks, we’re slowly compartmentalizing and so forth.
And this is constantly evolving, this is constantly changing for what we use our technology for. So just to bring a little bit real-world conversation to it, I wanted to do that but just to show everyone here just how we look at technology just at WordPress VIP. Moving on. Apologize, my arrow is very sensitive here. But seamless integration. I think the three of us said this a couple of times here, but this is an area that Josh is very fluent and works on. So Josh, I’ll just turn it over to you to take this one.
Yeah, absolutely. Trying to define seamless I think is on a per vendor level. Everyone will have their own version of what a seamless integration is. I think that I would probably try to think about this as, “How can I get the fewest people involved, my integration?” To go back to tag management systems that I was mentioning earlier, there’s a whole industry of TMSs that are set up just for this purpose to try to consolidate all the work that needs to be done for almost any integration you can think of in one place.
Tealium iQ is not a cheap tool by any means, but they’ve built the business around having this marketplace of plugins that you can just have one person managing all of the different martech systems that you want on your site. It’s not a low-skill system to use it by any means, but it could feasibly be achieved by one person.
When it comes to Parse.ly, our implementation process, I think, compared to something like an Adobe or GA, both of which I’ve implemented, ours is dead simple. The basic integration, not talking about anything seamless, is very, very simple. But it involves coding, which means that you need to bring in those development resources. And then you get into that whole cycle of working around their timelines, priorities, so on and so forth.
So for Parse.ly, our version of a seamless integration, I think it’s best exemplified by our WordPress plugin. If you have access to your WordPress dashboard and you go into your plugin section, choose Parse.ly. And this is going to sound marketing speak, but it is literally a few clicks till you’re up and running.
It’s just some configuration settings. And of course, being a few clicks away is something I’m sure many people have heard before. But as anecdotal evidence, we’ve had people come to our kickoff calls already implemented using the WordPress plugin. They found the documentation, they went ahead and did it before. So our kickoff call turns into a wrap-up call at that time.
We’ve also even had people come to the kickoff calls, which is an hour in length, not having started their implementation at all, and left that hour already implemented. That’s not everybody by any means. That’s probably more the exception than the rule. But from a technical aspect, the simplicity of taking your basic implementation and bring it down to a plugin level, maybe we could quantify it as saying it’s twice as easy. But the time that it takes is well more than twice as quick to get implemented versus that standard implementation.
And we have all these tools in place to go through, GTM. We have some other plugins built with other vendors. But I don’t know if I’d call anything so seamless as that WordPress plugin, because you have one person that needs to do it at a fairly low skill level. And they can be up and running in an hour with no word of a lie. But that’s what seamless, I think, means here at Parse.ly.
I like that. I think just anytime you can alleviate any layers of complexity in either the ecosystem that you build and the product that you build and the infrastructure there, that’s so key because I think things can get lost. If you’re talking about months of implementation and onboarding and so forth to get used, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. It’s just going to get lost in the shuffle down the line.
Well, great. So I think we’re going to get another poll out the door here. So let’s see the audience, hopefully they’re still excited, still with us here. But let’s see what they have to say. So we’re going to launch one more. We’re going to get around performance because now we’re going to start talking about analytics. We’re going to start talking about just how the other half live. So we’ve talked through some pain points and evaluation of technology and such.
So let me get this next one up and queued. Let’s see here. Next question here: how do you measure your content’s performance? So this is getting down specifically to the content that you’re putting out there. Are you looking at traffic and page views? Are you looking at conversions and form submissions, newsletter subscriptions, engagements?
So I realize there’s probably a couple of these that may take priority within organizations, but we’re just looking for what is your… Pick your one priority, one that you want to stand by. How do you measure your content’s performance? Traffic, page views, conversions, form submissions, newsletter subscriptions or engagement?
So let’s see here. So I can slow it down. I’m going to close the poll and share the results. And Sam, we haven’t heard from you in a bit here. But it looks like conversions and form submissions are leading the way, but what are your thoughts here when you see these results?
I’d say that’s good to see. I think there’s a shift away from just the ability to report on vanity metrics alone, the push to know your cost of acquisition through content is increasing every quarter, every year. So that’s really interesting to see that it’s becoming… I’m surprised about newsletter. I think email and newsletter is still huge. Developing a great newsletter program is super valuable.
And then engagement, I think it’s low because I think it depends on… Are we talking about social engagement? It’s a little broad there. But conversions, form submissions, that’s good to see. I think that helps you, what I call, mapping your content pathways to value.
So say you’ve got a program where the outcome is, “We need to boost non-branded organic traffic on our blog to get more subscriptions and increase conversions through net new content.” Having that clear goal allows you to start working towards a performance metric like conversions from specific content. So I would qualify it a little further than that.
Interesting. Josh, over to you. Some of your thoughts here on the poll results?
I definitely agree with Sam. I think it’s nice that conversions are up there. I think mostly because, I don’t know if it’s a newer metric, but it’s certainly a more advanced metric. So people feeling comfortable enough to say, “This is the primary way of evaluating our content,” is nice. I think I got to stick up for page views though. I feel like there was this push recently. Not recently.
But page views have gotten a bad rap as a basic measurement tool, and I think it depends on how you split it. I would not disagree that, as Sam mentioned, looking at vanity metrics, those top level, “How many page views do we get in total?” That’s not really telling you too much. But it’s all about how you can segment that data down and find the nuggets of gold around it. And I think it’s very business contextual.
If you’re a media organization and media is your product, page views is going to be a very important metric that almost can equate to ad impressions, and then you’ve got your revenue right there. If you’re targeting, if you have a paywall, a subscription service, engagement is going to be hugely, hugely important. So I think there’s probably a lot of people in this poll, as you alluded to, David, that would select all of the above option. But I think it’s really interesting to see conversions there, number one.
Yeah. I think it also speaks to or just knowing: are you ready to define what you want to track? Do you have a strategy in place that informs that decision? It’s something that we call, “What’s your content operations’ maturity?” Are you at a level where you can actually build the model to validate those KPIs?
I think on the other side of things, what’s also on the rise, it’s not just the ROI output, but it’s something, what we call, the return on effort. So the 360-degree view of how much time are you spending on producing this content that you want to rank, that you want to drive conversions. That’s a really valuable dimension to the overall content operations in the scheme of things.
If you don’t have an eye on that, your ROI, it’s only part of the story. So I think that’s something to consider as content marketing, content ops becomes more and more of a strategic part of the business that knowing the time it takes to produce the investments made, individual hours spent to produce a landing page.
All this stuff is very important not only for project management and efficiency on the back-end of production, but it allows you to spend time on things that work and route them correctly to get them to market faster that essentially will improve these ROI level metrics.
Great insight here. And I love what you’re both saying there. When I look at this again, I’m encouraged to see engagement at least at 13%, it’s tied with the other two. I would be curious. And when we launch these polls then I second guess a little bit of it. It’s like, “What does the audience… Do they understand what we mean by that?”
But I’m curious how engagement was taken because that’s actually a level little deeper that I look at beyond just the conversions and form subscriptions. Well, don’t get me wrong. That’s kind of [inaudible 00:38:47] lifeblood in a growth marketing team. But when I’m thinking about content and I think about content analytics, the engagement level of: where are the eyes on the page? Really, where is the focus in on what’s driving folks to that piece of content?
That’s encouraging to me and that’s a little bit of deeper level. And that’s one of the things the content analytics platform can help push that, and help almost shape the strategy so that the conversions for those form submissions that we’re talking about here, those can actually improve.
So I’m encouraged to see engagement getting a little love. I think this chart is probably about right. And I did want to say we did have something in the chat here, Sam. Brittany actually put in here that she would actually rank newsletters number two. So little newsletter love there.
So it doesn’t have to necessarily be zero, but good insight. I’m glad we asked that question. Hide these results, get back to the presentation now. We could probably do a whole presentation just on poll questions and analyze those results, couldn’t we? But one of the reasons a lot of folks are here is just as we get to the end of the year, and we’re getting to needing to roll things up and really just honestly, in a constant state here, analytics.
Analytics becomes more and more important in evaluating the tools that you use around analytics and so forth. So as we look in the areas of analytics, we’re going to look to our analytics stack here. Josh, walk through a little bit of a breakdown from the data that we’ve seen from the Martech Trends Reports as well as what you’re seeing out there in the space. So I’ll turn it over to some of the data here.
So seeing analytics at that previous slide, Analytics Leading the Race, it’s not really that surprising. You can see here the 86% of respondents ranked analytics and BI as the number one or one of the martech tools they use. I think that there’s two reasons in my mind that go into this. One, the easy one to get out of the way is the market leader in this space. GA is free. So I think there’s a really low bar to entry.
I think maybe sometimes people don’t know necessarily what they’re getting into with an implementation of GA, but it can’t hurt to just put it on your website and see what happens. But I think the next more important one is that I think there’s something about analytics platforms that are a bit more tangible to the average user. I think people can envision going in and finding insights.
In today’s day and age, I think we’re presented with a lot of data points. And I think we’re more used to reading into data points, and looking for insights that way than we might’ve been 10 years ago. Whereas the other martech tools, they’re no less important by any means.
But I think they’re a little bit more under the hood and they’re a little bit harder to extract some of that value. In fact, Sam, I may be curious to hear from you if you find the same isn’t a little bit more difficult to prove, as you mentioned, that ROE, the ROI on some of the other martech tools.
Well, shameless plug here is what I’m really pleased to see, DAM or Digital Asset Management here on the list. Because actually, the rise of the importance of DAM as a martech backbone is increasing. And that’s where, if you have that built in to not only just… It’s not just a content repository where you throw everything and then forget about it. It’s something that brings a level of intentionality to how you manage your content.
And that’s for partners, that’s for all of your agencies and other third parties. But it gives you the upstream and downstream, it allows you to collaborate and ideate, iterate, track all of that. But also, depending on your solution, it allows you to map the content production to the delivery and whatever tools that you might be integrating with at the point of personalization, even BI tools to report back.
But having your finger on not only who’s working on what and then, of course, things like AI that can route jobs the right way, automate workflows, shave a lot of time off of time to market, time to campaign delivery. It’s something that I think this number, that 32%, will continue to increase year over year.
I don’t disagree with that for the reason that you just said there. To be fully acclimated in a completely digital environment, it’s just something that I think we’re all… Not everyone is just there yet, but kind of have to be. Because what it is at the end of the day, we’re all content creators to some extent.
Especially in marketing, we’re trying to rise above the noise of everything. And so being fully equipped with a full stack that helps you get there, whereas a lot of folks have it piecemeal right now, I think becomes more imperative as we go along.
We also really don’t have the time to run through the content program that’s catch-as-catch-can. Having something where you know that you’re producing it and it can be reused over and over again, that’s very valuable in the long run.
Couldn’t agree more. So the next stat that we had on here is the percent of users that are confident in understanding, make sure you’re understanding the performance. So Josh, I’ll let you lead this again and we’ll add some commentary here.
Yeah, for sure. I’m not going to lie, I’m surprised by how high these numbers are across the board, aside from Parse.ly, of course. It’s a great tool and easily understandable. But no, all jokes aside, I think that the key to this stat here is really defining what the term “understanding” means.
I think you can log into Google Analytics and see your dashboard of, “Here’s how your last seven days were and here’s your top level numbers.” And you could say, “Okay, I understand my site. I’ve looked at some numbers, I can see peaks and flows and whatnot.” But I think there’s a level deeper of understanding how your content’s performing, how your users are engaging with your site, what types of users they are and what matters to them.
I’d be interested to see the same question broken down, part two like, “Do you understand content performance, user engagement, so on and so forth?” I don’t think it’s surprising that Parse.ly and Crazy Egg both being at the top there.
I think because they’re a little bit more narrowly focused on what they’re trying to deliver, and you see some of the bigger players, Adobe and Google towards the bottom because they’re sort of tools that can be intimidating. They’re tools that are meant to do a lot of different things for a lot of different people. And I think that makes it a little bit more challenging to extract understanding from, in all honesty.
I don’t necessarily disagree with that. I don’t know if you had any perspective on it, Sam? At the end of the day, I think about trust. It’s the trust in the platform you’re using. I often would’ve been… I’m not throwing tech under the bus here. But I have been in situations where I’ve bought piece of tech for one thing and then maybe implemented an analytics piece to it and it’s just way wrong.
It’s just so wrong. And that’s influenced actually the decision to renew at a later date. But I think the groups that are known here are pretty some fairly household names in a lot of ways, but the confidence is important as we go along here.
That’s what I was going to say, David, is just the confidence is that comes with, again, that level of maturity. And if you’re adept with building dashboards for specific cases or you’ve got your data box set up and you’ve got multiple dashboards for different, either business units or campaigns or initiatives, it can easily lead to that dashboard of dashboards’ experience where you’re still just manually jumping around from solution to solution to try to pull a picture in from all of these tools, spending time to validate the data cleanliness as well.
So I think Josh’s point, qualifying what understanding means and also performance per use case, helps us weave in and out of these numbers a little bit better.
I do agree. Think we’ll get into the last section here, and that’s really just the importance of analytics and then some of the challenges with some of the measurements which we’ve kind of alluded to I think a little bit here before.
But I’m going to pick on you here again, Josh. But you’ve done some of these integrations with GA, tag manager and such, and obviously the work you’ve done with Parse.ly. But touch on here just the importance of this analytics and challenges with measurement.
The importance of analytics, I think it’s nice that we’re past this phase of, “Do I need to measure, don’t I need to measure?” It’s not really seen as a bonus in most organizations now. It’s a necessity. I think the stage we’re at now is, “How much am I able to weave this data into my business decisions?” And not just how much am I able to, but how much should I be?
You hear terms, “data-driven” thrown around a lot and “data-informed.” And I think those are actually two very different things. I think being a data-driven company is good, but it can be dangerous if you rely too heavily on that data. I think being a data-informed company is the nice sweet spot where you’re still making decisions that you know from your experience are good and valid, and you’re using the data to support those decisions or pivot where needed.
So I think the importance of analytics at this point is pretty widely understood. The challenges. And I think it’s sort of counteracting what we just saw on the previous slide. But I think extracting appropriate value from your data is still a very big challenge. I think understanding, maybe we’re there. But I think actually taking that, and I think you’ll hear the term, “actionable insights from data.” Finding those insights can be quite difficult.
And there’s different ways of going about it. There’s ways of using your data to influence your personalization efforts, for instance, on the site where you’re not necessarily looking at these numbers and trying to infer things from it. It’s more of a connect A to B situation. But using a tool and trying to dig into, again: what are my customers interested in? How is my content performing? In which channels? And where do I do more of this or less of that or push these things in that direction?
And I think the challenge doesn’t really come from products being good or bad. I think, at least in the analytics space, there’s a decent amount of poor product fit. There’s just tools being used for things that tools are not meant to be used for. For instance, Google Analytics is not a bad tool. I’m not going to sit here and say Parse.ly is way better than Google.
Google does a different thing. If you’re in the Google ecosystem, GA is going to be your best friend. It’s going to help you circulate those ad dollars and find that revenue in their space. But trying to find anything from how your content’s performing, it’s there, but it’s just buried behind layers and layers of difficult UI and it’s just not organized and structured in the right way, which is where something like Parse.ly comes in.
We’re not going to claim to do everything. But if you’re looking to get a good sense of how your content is performing through various different aspects, we’ve made our tool in a way that it’s just really, really easy for those end users. Going back to what we were referring to before, the people who are actually using the tool.
And I think why Parse.ly led the pack in the previous slide is that it’s just dead simple to get in there and start exploring yourself. It’s one thing to look at a dashboard, as you mentioned before, Sam, and just endlessly look at dashboard and think you can get understanding that way. The key is really getting in there and digging into it yourself. And I still think that’s the biggest challenge I see.
That comes back to what we talked about earlier with integration and getting something operational rather than, you call it time to viability or time to operational where it’s implemented and everyone understands. You talked about adoption and so implementation adoption. But that time to viability of a solution to actually start doing what it says is something that comes back into that ease of use and seamlessness.
That’s always important with… If you’re starting from scratch with GA, of course. But also, if you’re trying to build something based on your already implemented GA setup, then sure, you’ve got to put the work in. But I think you and I just had a conversation sidebar the other day where the takeaway was, “If you can get it into GA, you can get it into Parse.ly.”
Well said. Sorry, I’m smiling here when I hear that. That’s pretty strong. I’m being cognizant of the time here a bit because I want to get us rounded out, answer one or two questions here. But one of the things we did want to round things out here just since we’re talking about technology and just if everybody take a quick 30 seconds.
What’s a piece of tech that moves you? What’s something that you kind of [inaudible 00:53:12] around that you could use? Could be around for measurement, analytics, just something you like that your team enjoys using to collaborate on. Sam, I’ll start with you. Piece of tech that you guys enjoy using?
Let me glob a bunch in real quick. Well, one thing, Google released a core update in late May, I think. And one of the things was this video indexing. I just use that to highlight that video has increased… The importance of video for your brand, for performance is super important. But there’s a tool called Brightcove. It’s like a monetization, e-comm. It can be used for internal communications, live-streaming, podcasting, analytics.
It’s just a single platform for a lot of different audiences and it’s designed to meet people where they’re already watching it. So that’s a good plug for a video solution. And then just real quick, because it’s interesting, as someone who built a career on the trade of writing, there’s a lot of AI copywriting tools out there today, which like Jasper, Prase, Copy.ai, AI-Writer.
The list goes on and on, Snazzy AI. And they can really help with some of that time to production, help ideation, recommendations on copy that converts, whether it’s for an email landing page. It’s still developing, there’s never going to not need a human element. But I think it’s interesting to mention that this is a space that I’m curious to keep an eye on as it develops.
Great to hear. Nothing wrong with plugging a couple of pieces of tech there. Josh, over to you.
If I had to choose one, and maybe this is from left field, but I’m in the UK, so we have a lot of GDPR concerns with data. And every site you go to has cookie consent pop-up, and there’s a whole lot of layers behind it. It’s not just, “Yes or no, do you accept? It’s, “What are your preferences? Here’s the categories, here’s what’s in each category. Here’s a cookie consent policy.”
Having implemented analytics solutions in the UK for some time, a company like OneTrust has just been such a lifesaver. They are built, and that is their sole focus is just to put some relatively light code on your site and just handle all that for you. There’s varying degrees of how much you want to integrate.
You can integrate with your tag manager solution and track that data, track those accepts. But if you just want a base thing that makes you compliant, you can just throw a script tag on your site and you are just good to go out of the box. So OneTrust has definitely saved me a lot of time and headaches over the last couple of years.
Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. And I’ll just throw mine quickly in there, and I showed my tech stack earlier. I’m a fan of a lot of pieces of tech out there that are doing really great things right now. One thing that’s actually helped us a lot, I mentioned before, acquisition. I’ve got two automation platforms that I’m using right now.
One of the things we want to do was standardize, but actually I want to say create more of a aesthetically pleasing email that we send out to our team. Email is a primary channel of ours. And it’s a company called Mac. I don’t know if you’ve seen Mac. It’s a very nice plug and play solution for your emails. Really enhances the design, the aesthetics, adheres to all the email rules and such.
But it actually helps beautify what you send out there, make it fun. And we noticed it immediately pick up on our engagement, people clicking into, open rates and so forth. Once we started using that rather than the standard templates that we had used in these automation platforms, and automation platforms are what they are.
Gosh, we’re getting to just the last minute or so. And one of the things that I wanted to make sure to do is just at least get to one or two questions. If you guys could hang out just for a minute here, I just want to at least address a couple that have come in here.
I’m going to throw this one actually at you, Josh, real quick just to give us this answer here from Killian here, “I work mainly in media organization looking at engagement for eventual subscription value.” So back to the engagement conversation, that’s something that Killian’s looking at here. “What do you recommend for engagement measurement, especially when we are looking at Google’s behavior in the cookieless future?”
The cookieless future is hurting everybody. And there are things you can implement server side, which doesn’t really necessarily solve the problem, but it is a step in the right direction. I’m not so sure about how you’re going to get around it with cookies. I think that the metrics you want to be looking at when it comes to engagement is time spent engaging with your content.
Thankfully, Google has just revamped how they measure engaged time now in GA4. In Universal Analytics, it was very not good, which I can go into separately. But that’s on par with how Parse.ly does. We have a heartbeat and watching user engagement and watching for scrolls and clicks and making sure users are actually engaged.
And then other than that, it’d be recency and frequency metrics. If you’re looking for subscriptions, you want people that are coming back to your site on routine. Once that routine is set in a user’s mind, that’s when it’s much, much easier to get them to convert over to a paying or just a registered user, becoming a part of someone’s daily habit. So that’s where I think recency and frequency metrics really help you out.
Great. Appreciate you answering that there. Sam, last one, just a view and we’ll wrap this up. But I sit on a smaller team with limited resources. How can I best evaluate technology given my limited resources? What advice would you give to somebody that’s in that… Maybe it’s a team of one, maybe it’s a team of maybe five, but they’ve got a lot of tech to evaluate and so forth. What advice would you give somebody that’s in that situation?
Again, start with strategy to the point of even going back to Josh’s comments on a cookieless future and the rise of more limitations on what data we can track. Just have a strategy in place that’s been vetted. A technology isn’t going to be a solution for lack of strategy. A good anecdote is an editorial calendar. No matter what it’s on, if it’s just on a spreadsheet or whatever, that’s not a content strategy.
So I look at that as if you can define your overall strategy before you’re going to look for solutions, whether you’re a team of five or 25, that absolutely has to be in place. And then back to your slide. That’s an exercise that if you already have a bunch of tech in place to evaluate, break it down into columns, run an analysis, not even cost-based, but usability.
Come up with some factors that make sense to your business, and then determine those not only stopgaps that you might need today, but again, look at your projections for growth and the scale you need to get there. I think those are two of the considerations to make. And then finally, the composability aspect of the solutions that you want to invest in.
Do they offer broad extensibility and integration? Do they allow you to work with open source and open architecture? So I think those are four dimensions too that any size of marketing org can put in front of making that purchase decision.
Awesome. No, I couldn’t agree with you more and I appreciate you answering those questions. We are just a little over time here, so we’re going to have to wind it down here a little bit. But I’ll close by saying both Sam and Josh, thank you for your time today. It’s really, really, really appreciated, y’all lending your voice there to our audience there. So thank you both for being here.
Next, folks, just let me know… Oh, go ahead. Sorry.
No, just thanks for having us.
Yeah, thank you.
No, it was great. Thank you. Thank you so much for being here again. Folks, we’ll be sending out a recording with all the information here afterwards, as well as any questions we may not have gotten to. We’ll make sure to get those answered for you. This concludes today’s webcast. Everyone, have a wonderful afternoon.