The Difference Between A Content Marketing Framework vs a Platform and Why That Matters
by Zoltan Ilku on Sep 09, 14
In a market filled with Content Marketing Platforms (more being added every day), you may wonder why we at Marketing.AI call ourselves a Content Marketing Framework instead of a Platform. In this post I will explain the difference and why it is core to the vision of our product and how it creates value for our customers.
It starts with an understanding of our customers. Since we are only one of very few in the content marketing space to offer a direct sign-up free trial of our software, we’ve been fortunate enough to talk to literally 1000’s of companies on our journey. Something stuck out about the defining characteristics of those customers that really enjoy our software and to whom we as a team had a particular affinity:
* They already know a lot about content marketing and marketing in general.
* They have their own way of doing things, i.e. well-defined processes, that relate to execution, including their own strategic objects.
* Their current processes are breaking down because their tools are breaking down, but they want tools that map to their processes not the other way around.
The solution in our minds was to develop our product as a framework that abstracts the potential objects and processes that form a cohesive content marketing strategy and execution plan, rather than developing a platform that demands that those objects and processes constrain themselves to a pre-conceived notion of how content marketing should be successfully done.
And so that is what we’ve built into Marketing.AI. The challenge of all that flexibility of course is how to make it still work as a cohesive integrated system. To do that we’ve created objects in the system that can be configured to be called what you want and have values that you want and the system will still work as intended. It’s a kind of Object-Oriented Content Marketing.
For instance, Content Marketing Strategy for us revolves around core strategic objects that can be customized, but also generalized in the following way:
1. The Target Audience for the Content (typically represented as a Buyer Persona, but customized to include other labels such as simply Persona or Audience Persona, Stakeholder Persona etc.) and the different characteristics that make up that audience (also completely customizable)
2. The Buyer Cycle Stages that make up a Journey through the content that makes up Customer Experience (but customized for non-B2B companies to be things like Engagement Cycle or simply Customer Journey and with differing numbers of stages for each).
3. The Content Types such as Blog Post, Case Study, and E-mail that make up a content mix (and the different names you may call these content types, the publishing channels they apply to, and the different workflow stages that are involved in drafting, approving and publishing that content).
4. The Themes that describe core groupings of related content that you want your content to cover.
5. The Events that occur within different stages of the Buyer Cycle that trigger personalized content that needs to be planned for those events.
By setting up this contextual framework in a way that maps to the way you already do things (and perhaps add some further context) you can then have a vision for how your marketing content will lead a customer or audience member successfully through a learning path, all the while achieving company goals, and then how your different existing and planned content can link together to create this chain. Your vision and strategy for its accomplishment can then be aligned to executables in the form of a planned Editorial Calendar and execution workflow. And analytics and reporting can then be generated that doesn’t just tell you how a specific piece of content is doing or how much engagement is generated on a particular channel, but more importantly how your team is doing in its progress of filling out your strategic content architecture and what the current ROI of that strategy is, how the interrelated content is performing.
Of course flexibility in terms of a framework is not enough if it is not backed up by highly-responsive support. That is why we built a support system where everyone on the entire team sees all support messages and can respond quickly (we aim to respond under 10 minutes during business hours and 4 hours off hours), giving our customers the confidence that customizations will be supported correctly. Furthermore we believe in knowledge transfer and teams helping themselves wherever possible, which is why we create custom training videos that are shared with customer teams to support the use of the customized software.
If you are in the same boat of having well-defined processes that are starting to break under what one customer called “Excel from Hell” or simply tools that can’t handle the stress of constant content collaboration across multiple time zones, teams, and channels, then sign-up for a free trial today and find out just how good we can be at making your complex processes simple and helping you get your entire team on the same page again.