Content marketing has rapidly gained marketers’ attention as a new way to build relationships with customers — customers bombarded with marketing messages and overloaded by digital distractions. But as this new marketing discipline evolves, new challenges emerge:

  • From scaling content . . . to providing quality content in context. A year ago, many marketers’ content challenge was to create content at scale. Today the quest for scalable content is tempered by the need for quality content, as marketers realize that getting the right content to the right consumer in context is a more impactful and sustainable approach.
  • From cajoling business units to produce content . . . to effectively managing that content stream. Complex organizations must now effectively manage content across multiple divisions and geographies.   

Many vendors have emerged to help marketers with their content needs, but the landscape is complex and ill-defined. And the ability to create a meaningful content strategy rests on two core needs: 1) developing relevant, quality content, and 2) distributing it widely to consumers. In my new report, I help marketers “Choose The Right Vendor Tools To Help With Content Marketing Development And Distribution.”

  • Content developers fulfill marketers’ need to create relevant assets. Securing content assets lies at the heart of the content marketing effort. Development vendors help marketers assemble content via three primary mechanisms: 1) creation of original content; 2) curation of third-party content from secondary sources; and 3) collection, repurposing, and documentation of content from within an organization.
  • Content distributors create visibility for content assets. There is no value to the content if no one sees it. Distribution is made up of: 1) placement on owned channels; 2) discovery, through organic search and social efforts; and 3) paid media placement across digital channels such as search, social, and display and through native advertising.

What’s in store for this rapidly changing landscape? In the short term, the landscape will continue to expand with newcomers but then contract back as marketers’ need for a one-stop solution fuels consolidation of content marketing suppliers. Oracle's purchase of Compendium and Sprinklr's of Dachis are small signs of a fast-changing playing field.

To learn more about how to harness the power of content marketing to build your brand, check out “How To Build Your Brand With Branded Content.” And for Forrester’s vision on content marketing as part of the new content marketing playbook, read my colleague Ryan Skinner’s report, “Build Your Content Brand By Delivering Customer Value.”