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Content Marketing Perspective of Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit


There’s no doubt that content marketing must be part of your marketing strategy, however, you won’t get too far without putting a solid measurement process in place.  A key part of this process must be integration with your marketing automation system. With this in mind, I spent two days at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit 2014 to learn how connected marketing automation practitioners are to content marketing.  Bottom line?. . . Although social media and content marketers are delivering some great, non-egocentric content to their audience, there’s still a big disconnect between content marketing and lead nurturing/automation; especially from a measurement perspective.

For those of you unable to attend, or simply looking for the highlights from this event, I provided below a summary of my takeaways as well as key points by each of the speakers and panelists from a content marketing perspective:

  • Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, @MarketingProfs
  • Renaud Bizet, CRM Marketing Mgr., Bio-Rad Laboratories
  • Stefan Nandzik, Sr. Mgr. Field Alignment, Citrix Sytems
  • Phil Fernandez, CEO, Marketo @PhilF1217
  • Cyrus Shepard, Content Astronaut, Moz @CyrusShepard
  • Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing @LeeOdden

All insight is sourced, paraphrased and quoted from the respective individuals, except for my personal comments which are in [brackets].

Dear Diary: A Content Marketing MakeoverAnn_Handley_pic

By Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, @MarketingProfs

  • Content marketing challenges:
    • “I created a blog post and I tweeted four times. . . no one commented?”
    • “Everybody is doing sex, but few do it well. . . . just like everyone does content marketing, but few do it well.”  Only 42% of content marketers say that they’re doing it well according to a MarketingProfs study.
  • Solutions:
    • Great content = Useful x Empathy x Inspired
    • OWN the media, don’t rent it. (learn how to create a multi-author blog from Brian Clark and Mike Stelzner)
    • Steal best practices from traditional publishers:
      • Have a mission. [What are your goals and objectives?  Ensure they align with the rest of the organization.]
      • Focus on the reader first, not what your CEO wants.
      • Tell stories about people.
      • Think content ecosystem, not content campaign.
      • Tell true stories well.  Words are your currency.
    • How to go beyond publishers:
      • Think experience, not just narrative.
      • Empathy hack:  Use ‘You” to better connect with your audience (check out other marketing hacks here by David Skok and SiriusDecisions)
      • Experiment, have fun with your content marketing.  Seth Godin is always a great example of this in action. [Interested in finding out your content marketing animal spirit? Take our quiz.]
      • Place lots of small wagers. [As with traditional marketing, use multiple channels for content distribution and promotion.  Always market your marketing!]
      • Have a can do, do it yourself attitude. [Today’s marketing technology makes this easier than ever before, even if you’re not a technical person.]
      • Look for what no one else is talking about. [You’ve heard about “thinking outside of the box.”  Well, this is the perfect strategy to take for content marketing to increase your ROI.
    • What does your data tell you? Ann offered up a great example about – Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC attorneys. Based upon an analysis of their digital marketing data, they determined that their “Our People” page was a great source for recruiting.  Therefore, they came up with a fun design for this site to increase audience engagement.
    • Innovation is more about brains than budget.  [Don’t be intimidated by the big budgets being spent by your competitors.  Digital marketing has leveled the playing field for all marketers. And while you’re at it, do put someone in charge of your content strategy like 43% of your peers have already done.]

Establishing a Global Demand Center



by Renaud Bizet, CRM Marketing Manager, Bio-Rad Laboratories and Stefan Nandzik, Sr. Manager Field Alignment, Citrix Sytems

  • Bio-Rad:  $2B+ revenue
    • Challenges:
      • 5 different email marketing systems. (decentralized)
      • Lack of common best practices.
      • Nobody owned customer relationships.
      • They couldn’t measure success.
      • No integrated marketing and sales funnel.
    • Solutions:
      • Built a CRM center of excellence (CoE) team that is part of the marketing services group.
        • Own Marketo platform. (not managed by IT)
        • Other responsibilities: Lead generation; platform optimization; business intelligence (understand customer interactions across all platforms – SEM, SEO, content marketing,, etc.)
        • CoE team initiatives:
          • Engaged the rest of the marketing organization through continuous education. (e.g., best practices blog – internal use only)
          • Used technology to improve demand generation efficiency and effectiveness. (e.g., they created a name generator to ensure marketing campaigns have consistent names across all systems that are meaningful.)
          • Developed a requirements document with a checklist to standardize campaign processes. (e.g., target audience, timing and flow of tactics)
          • Tracked who is assigned MQLs within sales to better enable auditing capabilities between Marketo and
  • Citrix: $2.9B revenue
    • Challenges:
      • Every marketing group (i.e., corporate marketing, WW demand generation, product marketing) used to have their own campaigns, processes, systems and other resources.
    • Solutions:
      1. Assess existing models of how teams are running email marketing.
        • Internal team: using the CRM email module (Baseline Cost=x)
        • External agency: using a newsletter engine (Cost = 1.2X)
        • Internal automation team: using marketing automation (Cost = 0.5x)
      2. Recommended migrating to ONE marketing automation system with ONE internal team to manage the process and system, and to collaborate on best practices.
      3. Created a (Demand) Center of Excellence (CoE) team
        • CoE team to support: WW demand generation and product marketing teams that report into corporate marketing, as well as the Americas and EMEA marketing teams that report into Field Sales
        • Developed service level agreements (SLAs)
          • Audience governance (eg., touch frequency, rules)
          • Capacity planning (e.g., audience design, quantity and type of communications)
          • Monitoring (KPIs)
            • Open rate > X%
            • Click rate >X%
            • Leads/form submits
            • Unsubscribe <X%
      • Building the Global Demand CoE for scale: Citrix CoE team services 100+ mktg. managers
        • Collaboration: Use ticketing and/or collaboration systems (e.g., for SLA monitoring, capacity monitoring, charge back)
        • Globalization:  CoE team representation is in each region.  Do not try to do it remotely from corporate.
        • Scalability: Address with an agency model.  Citrix CoE team consists of core folks (“Internal Team”) and an extended team to support scale (“Scalable Team”). [Think of a hub and spoke system.]
          • Internal demand center team:
            • Focused on projects, segmentation, service requests.
            • Limited by headcount, and team size doesn’t change much with budget.
          • Scalable Team: (this team flexes with budget)
            • Campaign managers:
              • Manage campaigns from start to finish.
              • Act as relationship managers with business stakeholders.
            • Producers:
              • Deeply engaged with Marketo and its day to day use.
              • Shielded from business stakeholders so they can stay focused on project and technology execution.

Marketo Keynotephil-bio-pic

by Phil Fernandez, CEO Marketo @PhilF1217

  • The key theme of Marketing Nation 2014?. . . .Innovation!
  • The reality is that we’re at the very beginning of a marketing transformation.
  • Marketing transformation = 1 on 1 communication, continuous engagement, behavioral data and an integrated experience.
  • New Marketo features:
    • Real time personalization across all channels & devices.
    • An integrated marketing calendar and financial management tool.
    • Search engine optimization.

How to Survive the Google Tornadocyrus_shepard_pic

by Cyrus Shepard, Moz @CyrusShepard

  • New hope for marketers. . . Google changes are for the good, rewarding marketers for good content.
  • The Past:  
    • Rank as high as you can!
    • Provide a lot of information.
  • Today:
    • Organic results are being pushed off the page by paid ads and Google-generated content
    • Google’s redesign (i.e., small “ad” icons in yellow) reduces ad “blindness,” making organic results less obvious
    • Google’s new features often favor Google properties (gives you an indication of Google’s strategic direction)
    • Hummingbird enables greater ability to search for “meaning” versus “keywords”
  • What can marketers do?
    • Focus on providing better answers for your audience:  Know that Google wants you to have “answers” for its audience. . . not just a lot of information.
    • Continue to invest in mobile phone searches, but don’t drop support of desktop searches.
    • Move from keywords to concepts.
      • Move from manipulation to actual meaning. (keywords are still important, but more so in context)
      • Focus on keyword themes, keyword topics.  Keywords need context to rank.
    • Schema, Meta Data
      • Google will reward you for adding structured data to your site(s)
      • Enhance SERPs, enable Google+ authorship
      • Increase social sharing as a way to increase distribution. . . . resulting in improved SEO
    • Move from web pages to authority [think content marketing]
      • Google will reward you for regularly publishing content on a specific topic
      • Attach real people to your content (e.g., Google Authorship)
      • Answer many questions in your content. (e.g., Review your audience’s questions, and answer those throughout your content.)
      • Publish many content pieces on a consistent theme [Follow the Content Marketing Pyramid framework]
    • From Links to Endorsements
      • Links are still used by Google as a measurement of endorsement . . however, Google is getting smarter about what’s an editorial link versus “spammy” or paid links
      • Google will value non-linking endorsements by real people
      • Links through Google properties is even more valuable (e.g., through Google+)
    • From page views to satisfaction
      • Google moving towards a satisfied web experience, one that answers questions
      • Focus on measuring bounce rate, time on your site, pages per visit, share rate, mention rate
      • Google is adding “Satisfaction” to its current SEO factors of relevance, popularity and trust
      • Obsess over page speed to increase satisfaction
  • Moz content marketing strategy: Give away as much as can for free, with the heaviest piece of content gated.


Attract, Engage, Convert – How to be the Best Answer Wherever Customer are Looking

by Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing @LeeOdden

  • Integrated marketing means your brand is the best answer when & where your buyers need it
  • Content marketing maturity model = SEO + Social Network & Influencers (create utility, tell stories, monetize)
  • 5 steps to content marketing awesome:
    • ID customer segments.
    • Map the buying journey.
    • What questions do they have during the sales cycle. (e.g., ASK THEM, use social media monitoring)
    • Leverage those question and answers for your content plan.
    • Optimize for search, social and user experience.
  • Create a hub, or deep repository of information . . . is core to your promotion and networking. There’s nothing better to beat traditional and newer/paid advertising models. [Real world examples powered by Curata’s content curation and creation software: GreenDataCenterNews by Verne Global, IT Strategist by Alcatel-Lucent or IBM Big Data Hub]
  • Where to start for your content marketing efforts?. . . Start with a blog for ease of implementation and building your business case.
  • For additional information by Lee:


Did you get a lot of value from these highlights?  If so, then you should definitely check out these other resources:

Or contact us directly to learn how Curata’s content marketing and curation software can help feed your content beast.

Michael Gerard

Michael was CMO of Curata, responsible for Curata’s marketing strategy and all related activities. He has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations such as IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore. Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University.

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