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Get Ambitious and Embrace New Responsibilities

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Get Ambitious and Embrace New Responsibilities


We spend a lot of time at CMI thinking about the purpose of content in business. It sounds funny. The purpose of content in business?

When we start work with a company on putting a functional plan around their content, a senior leader in the business (usually somebody in finance or operations) often says, “Isn’t that word content too big? Doesn’t that mean everything we do?”

“Yup. It does,” I reply, followed by an awkward moment of silence.

Without realizing it, they’ve unconsciously made the argument of why it is valuable to sort out the function of content in their company.

Now, of course, we need to back off a little from saying it covers “everything.” What we’re going to solve in a consulting engagement, one of our events, a webinar, a blog post, or even CMI University can’t encompass “everything.”

So, I explain to the inquisitor that what we mean is by developing a strategy for content you can equate content with communication. If your content is intended to communicate and deliver value to our audiences, then it is worth putting a plan around the creation of those things. That’s a content strategy.

It’s worth putting a plan around your #content that’s designed to deliver value to your audience. That’s a #ContentStrategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

More than a decade ago, my good friend and CMI founder Joe Pulizzi put a stake in the ground for what would become known as content marketing. I loved that he said it so very plainly: Marketers now have the opportunity to provide “truly relevant and useful content to prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

The beauty of that definition is in the stated purpose. Content is purposely designed to be more than classic marketing and advertising, where content’s purpose is to persuade people to become or stay customers. In the case of content marketing, content is created to help. Full stop. In other words, the content is valuable to the audience without any context of the brand or its products.

Joe’s original definition is still reflected on CMI’s definitions page. To this day, it remains in the No. 1 position for Google searchers who ask, “What is content marketing?”

But, of course, like everything in marketing, our beloved practice has evolved.

Tracking the evolving content ecosystem

Well before content marketing entered our lexicon, the phrase “content strategy” was a key – if not fairly niche – part of business strategy. The term arguably predates digital, but the internet, large websites, structured authoring (i.e., separating the content from its presentation), and dynamically assembling meaningful content gave momentum to the practice of content strategy.

Over eight years ago, I leaned in on my background in enterprise content and attempted to stratify the approaches of both content strategy and content marketing. Content marketing is often the biggest opportunity, the largest gap in capabilities, or the most misunderstood of practices. But it is but one piece in the larger strategic content puzzle.

Content marketing always has (and will always be) a subset of content strategy. That said, both practices have the same goal – effective, efficient business communication.

More recently, new subsets of content marketing have emerged. Whether it’s branded content, brand journalism, native advertising, or even customer experience, we’ve written to separate the signal from the noise on those approaches.

Here we are in 2022, and let’s just say the last two years have been – well – difficult. It’s been hard to get our bearings, hard to set a long-term strategy, and hard to know where to make our biggest investments.

But those disruptions also have been an accelerator. Changes in our digital capabilities, the media by which we consume content, the talent pool and skillsets, and where we do our work have pushed us to innovate. Content leaders, strategists, managers, writers, SEO specialists, technologists, AI practitioners, and data scientists have all found the optimal ways to make content in marketing and communications a scalable, measured, and exciting approach for business.

2022 is the time to make #content a scalable, measured, and exciting approach for business, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Now we sit on the cusp of the third era of the web.

Can you even imagine what things like crypto, blockchain, DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), and the metaverse technologies will do to our practice?

No. You can’t. Not yet.

From opportunity to responsibility

We’re evolving at CMI, too. We’re humbled at the level of innovation. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen:

So, we still fundamentally believe companies have the opportunity to operate like media companies. But, in 2022, it’s not only an opportunity; it’s a responsibility to act more like media companies.

In 2022, it’s not only an opportunity; it’s a responsibility of companies to act more like media companies, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The subtitle of Edelman’s seminal 2022 Trust Barometer is “Societal Leadership is now a Core Function of Business.” As the authors write, “We have studied trust for more than 20 years and believe that it is the ultimate currency in the relationship that all institutions – business, governments, NGOs and media – build with their stakeholders.”

Think about that quote as I refer back to Joe’s 2009 definition of content marketing: “truly relevant and useful content to prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

Content marketing is at the heart of any business that wants to build trust.

#ContentMarketing is at the heart of any business that wants to build trust, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Where CMI is headed

If I can humble brag for a minute, at CMI, we have been fighting the good fight for the last decade. We haven’t always gotten it right, but we’ve had a front-row seat to what’s actually going on in the world of business content.

Over the last two years, my team and I have worked directly with more than 60 of the Fortune 1,000 companies. The research team recently produced our 12th annual content marketing research that surveyed about 1,400 marketers around the globe. Lastly, despite the pandemic and lockdowns, Content Marketing World continued last year with thousands of marketers from more than 50 countries gathering both virtually and in person to talk about the strategic approach of content.

Here’s the point: We see what’s really going on in the community. And our community is you – the practitioner. We see you.

As we move into 2022 and beyond, you’ll see us focus on some of these three major observations:

1. Content marketing and content strategy will merge

Successful businesses take the function of enterprise content seriously. They recognize content is communication, and making it functional is more than just copywriting, thought leadership, storytelling, metadata structures, content management, SEO, or workflow processes. It is all those things.

Successful businesses recognize making #content functional is more than just copywriting, thought leadership, storytelling, metadata structures, SEO, workflow processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

We see organizations moving beyond the one or two ad-hoc content marketing practitioners to holistic, specialized teams focused on strategic content. Prepare for the great merger of marketing content, content marketing, and content operations. Content is a business strategy. Copywriting, storytelling, measurement, and structured content operations will become a single, functional strategy.

To achieve that, content marketers will need to upskill in strategy, technology, and content structures. Content strategists will need to upskill in media operations, creative, journalism, storytelling. And everybody will need to upskill into measurement design.

2. The best content teams will enable the story

Spoiler alert: If you think you can check the content strategy box by installing a content studio of writers, designers, podcasters, and designers who are chartered to build internal capacity for the increasing demand for content, think again.

Robert’s content law is this: The need for more content expands in direct proportion with the number of resources allocated to it.

A successful strategy is integrated. Content creation, management, and measurement must be organizational strengths. All teams need to be empowered to create content for their audiences. The secret superpower of a content team is being the arbiter of good – to create, help, guide, and direct (when necessary) individuals at the edges of the business to be consistent and engaging storytellers.

I promise you CMI will be talking a lot about this in the coming months.

3. Goals and measurability will continue to frustrate

The through-line in the struggle for content to gain traction in the business is how to support goals and measure progress towards them.

The double-edged sword is that when content grows to be a business strategy, it becomes critically important to measure, and it becomes much more complex to measure.

It is inherently difficult to precisely define value in measuring communication clearly across all parts of the customer’s journey. We have seen some performance frameworks emerge, and certainly, more will become available.

However, the operational model itself may become one of the most important measures of success. In other words, when content strategy becomes the foundational model for communication in the business, the content must work harder. Content must be reusable and scalable across multiple approaches. Thus, businesses will need to measure performance as it relates to the audience’s response and how effectively you’re saying it.

What this means for you

Our goal remains largely the same as it has since Joe wrote his seminal blog post – to advance the practice of content marketing. But if this mission is our North Star, we must enhance our focus with better telescopes.

And your future is the focus of all of this. In the ’20s, a modern content practitioner:

  • Is a leader in the organization’s communication strategy. The team is not an internal, on-demand content vending machine but part of the fabric of every customer experience with the business.
  • Understands the differences and intricacies of all operational approaches of content in the business, from content marketing and content operations to branded content, native advertising, and anything else that inherently drives the creation of media-powered customer experiences as a business strategy.
  • Aligns goals and measurement with the strategy. The content team members of today and tomorrow build audiences through owned media experiences that can be monetized in multiple ways. They drive promotional execution of content for short-term advertising campaigns. They drive engagement and shares on social media and organic search traffic from smart earned media and word-of-mouth strategies. But they also support visibility, transparency, and internal communication of the lifecycle of content – from ideation to creation, management, activation, promotion, and even archival.
  • Supports every part of the customer’s journey. The content teams are not just top-of-the-funnel sales enablement teams. They are not just SEO-focused teams driving brand awareness. They are not just customer-support organizations managing how-to videos or customer events. Content teams are the experts in delivering audience value at every stage of the customer journey.

#Content teams are the experts in delivering audience value at every stage of the customer journey, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

And thus, CMI expands our mission, our editorial coverage, our teaching, and our learning as well. You will see more coverage on topics such as content operations, structured content, technology, as well as educational content on native advertising, branded content, storytelling. And you may even see us diving into the rabbit hole of Web 3.0 and its implications on our practice.

It’s a unified family of specific, related approaches to the strategic use of media in our business.

CMI is here to support you – the content teams, the leaders, the practitioners, the influencers – all of you who make content work in business.

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit this March in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.

 

What are Instacart Promotions?

 

Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”

 

– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart

 

Source: Instacart

 

How Do Instacart Promotions Work?

 

Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  

 

Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart

 

Instacart Promotions Benefits

 

Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.

 

Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  

 

Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives

 

With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 

 

Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 

 

Access Real-Time Performance Insights 

 

The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.

 

Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.

 

“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti

 

Interested in Instacart Promotions?

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.

 

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 

Meaning… 

DXP 

Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 

Welcome 

Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 

DAM 

Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 

PIM 

Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 

Web 

Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 

Personalization 

Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 

ODP 

Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 

 

So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 

 

Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 

 

Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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