Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Content marketing’s tipping point in the cloud

Posted on | July 21, 2013 | No Comments

Interest in content marketing is exploding today, and it represents a new paradigm in marketing communications and new potential to create more agile communications strategies.

Most companies don’t do content marketing well or at all, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. In fact they will do content marketing on a huge scale, but not because they’ve been carpet-bombed on social networks for years by content marketing purveyors. Content marketing programs are expanding because of increased marketing spend on technology

The content marketing tipping point is here because the fundamental economics of computing have changed in the last decade, and the effect of that is trickling down into organizations. That trickle-down has prompted a pitched battle between IT–which spent the last two decades throwing its weight around because of the big budgets it enjoyed–and marketing, which spent those two decades kow-towing to IT to get anything done. That relationship has changed almost overnight.

Content marketing’s tech boost 

Brad McCredie, CTO of IBM’s systems division, gave some insight on how that battle is playing out during a recent talk at the Design Automation Conference in Austin (here’s a link to the more technical aspects of his talk). What’s happened in the past decade is that a few companies have massively disrupted certain business segments. In the process, those companies collectively have created a new computing paradigm.

Apple, Google and Amazon disrupted music, advertising and retail, as you know, but to do so they needed to lay out massive amounts of relatively inexpensive and scalable compute and networking power in server farms. That begat the cloud. (It’s worked so effectively from the build out standpoint that Amazon has cut cloud computing prices 28 times since it began offering the service, according to a Cadence colleague of mine, John Olson). Add in some open-source software and its impact on app development, and suddenly power slips like sand from IT’s hands.

Power grab

“There is an end run around IT executives in the race to the cloud,” McCredie said during his talk. “This is a very strong force in the industry.”

The research firm Gartner reports that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs (related infographic is embedded below).

“I have to get directly into the data and get it back fast,” McCredie said. “Much more speed and is agility required.

So marketing has awakened to how ubiquitous compute power is changing its business; it’s there for the taking to gain agility and advantage and drive content marketing campaigns. The tools are now in your hands to sweep up terabytes of big data and make sense of it to better know and communicate to your audiences.

These are better days, heady days if you’re in a big company.

Publishing impact

If you’re not a big company or you’re in publishing, it’s a more frustrating tipping point. Publishers–at least ones with a clue–spent the 2000s trying to build the first vestiges of a content-marketing solution set for companies. Bigger companies bought them because they could. Smaller companies didn’t have the budget.

Now the big companies, which typically are the 80 percent of a publisher’s revenues, are taking chunks of their budget and spending it internally to do their own content creation and content marketing. Because they can.

The companies that don’t have those budgets are looking to publishers for affordable solutions, and most publishers haven’t figured out a solution set they can build cost effectively that scales profitably to those smaller-budget customers. The community model is the current flavor of the month–done effectively by companies like UBM Tech–but that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

And if you’re a PR agency? Well, that’s a topic for whole different post.

  • What do you think?
  • Who’s doing it right?
  • Where’s the potential for existing business to exploit the content-marketing trend and its upside?


content marketing is expanding because marketing is spending more than IT departments on technology

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