B2B marketers spend ample time seeking better ways to engage their audiences, convert them to buyers, and retain them as customers. While content is central to engagement, audience expectations for contextually relevant, personalized content know no limits. To get content right, technology is key, but there are many paths to the ideal content destination. In the report, The Content Engagement Solutions Landscape, Q2 2023, we identify the mix of solutions that orchestrate and optimize content experiences. It’s an especially diverse landscape, populated by category platforms as well as via capabilities embedded in broader technology that offer various combinations of content lifecycle support with creation, curation, assembly, personalization, and measurement.

(created with OpenAI in DALL·E on July 18, 2023)

A small number of purpose-built platforms provide the most turnkey approach to automating and scaling content personalization with prebuilt integrations, data analytics, and templated approaches to simple and complex personalization. Other technology categories such as digital engagement platforms, account-based marketing platforms, and web content management systems (CMSes) offer embedded capabilities at varying levels of fidelity. Organizations that have a general platform such as these may be able to address the content engagement challenge without an additional technology purchase, but the effort requires more work to integrate technologies, build data models, and deliver personalized orchestration.

Regardless of an organization’s entry point to the personalization challenge, the need is significant. In Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023, B2B marketing decision-makers chose investment in content engagement solutions as their number one area of focus to support content experience. While their descriptions may differ, these solutions:

  • Improve the website experience. Organizations that want to make it easier and faster for visitors to find relevant information focus on embedding some level of personalization on the website. These capabilities are delivered via a web CMS with prebuilt integrations or APIs to access other systems and external data sources.
  • Deliver personalized, contextual, and measurable omnichannel content experiences. To deliver omnichannel personalization throughout the audience experience, marketers lean on capabilities that support and scale content creation and assembly, dynamic personalization, and built-in content intelligence.
  • Increase conversions. Organizations need content that accelerates the buying journey and converts more visitors, contributing to pipeline and closed business. But the need to convert doesn’t stop there: Content continues to engage customers and supports adoption, renewal, and new purchases.

Although purpose-built content engagement platforms have been around for at least a decade, this remains an emerging market, and a point solution may be tough to get on the budget shortlist given the proliferation of capabilities in third-party solutions. Organizations evaluating the market dynamics must:

  • Treat content as a strategic asset. Content is central to the customer experience. Unless you are willing to treat it that way, don’t invest in tools that optimize your content engine capabilities. Before doing anything else, get a clear understanding of how well your content is engaging your audiences today and use those insights to inform investment.
  • Resolve technology proliferation and overlap. Content engagement solution capabilities might exist across a range of technologies in the enterprise tech stack. Without a comprehensive understanding of current capabilities, however, teams are at risk of amassing technical debt with investment in an added technology. Marketers who determine that they need a content engagement solution must build a business case on the ways that it will deliver increased audience experience results over time while integrating with other technologies.
  • Embrace generative AI, and AI in general. In addition to the profound impact that generative AI will have on content creation, marketers need to adopt AI in other, more traditional forms available to automate all phases of the content lifecycle. If you aren’t doing so already, start embracing AI to tag content, predict behavior, assemble content modules, orchestrate complex experiences, and leverage data and insights to further contextualize content experiences.

To learn about the vendors providing content engagement solutions, along with use cases and functionality descriptions, Forrester clients can read the report or schedule a guidance session or inquiry.