Marin Perez

Senior Director of Marketing, Pie Insurance (Ex Digital Marketing Director at Bolt)

Marin Perez on the Importance of a Comprehensive Content Marketing Tool

With how content marketing has changed over the last few years, it would be a blessing to have a tool that gives you a complete insight into your content, its distribution, and its performance. However, for now, even a trillion-dollar company like Microsoft is mixing and matching its content marketing stack, explains Marin Perez, Advisor, AudiencePlus, and former Digital Marketing Director, Bolt.

Rishabh Shekhar, COO and Co-founder of Pepper Content, chats with Perez about the evolution of content marketing and the pressing need to connect every marketing aspect with the current stage a company is at. 

1. Please give us a quick introduction.

I've been doing content for roughly 16-plus years in one way or another on the web. I started as a blogger. I've been a content manager for the last nine years building inbound demand generation programs for B2B companies.

I built a global content marketing program for Microsoft and spent the last couple of years building content strategy and content programs for some multi-billion dollar startups like Kajabi and Bolt. 

2. How has content marketing changed over the last few years?

Content marketing has definitely gone from a nice-to-have, third, fourth, and fifth marketing hire to a must-have first, second, or third.

Content is the central plank for all your marketing motions when you're considering building your marketing team at a startup. Everything requires a strong level of content, including top-of-the-funnel demand gen, sales enablement, support, engagement, content leadership, and things aligned with your brand and marketing goals. 

3. What are the most important metrics to look out for in content marketing?

It is related to the stage the company is at. At the very start, the easiest way is to say that a certain piece of content will make that sale by growing your organic traffic and getting conversion rates. But once you achieve a certain level of success, you can start layering things like thought leadership which addresses how this content helps accelerate deals in the pipeline and retain customers.

But you have to get to that first step before you actually get to the other things. Thought leadership and brand awareness alone in a vacuum are cool, but they may or may not actually contribute to your company's business success. 

So there are still some foundational elements, like an organic traffic program, a demand gen program, or a thought leadership program that drive conversions and traffic to your site. That still has to be foregrounded. 

4. How do you structure your team with many content needs to address? How much content is in-house and outsourced?

You must map your team structure to your overall business goals, objectives, and budgets and then prioritize accordingly.

A challenge for every content marketing team is showing demonstrable, measurable value. This value doesn't have to be demonstrated daily, monthly, or quarterly. But once or twice a year, you must show measurable business value, including short-term elements like traffic, leads, etc.

The challenge is that many people just create cool stuff, but being able to tie it to overall business metrics is key.

And then, you can structure your team according to said business goals and metrics. You can outsource it to companies like Pepper Content if you have a smaller budget. Consider bringing an in-house team if you have a larger in-house budget. It also depends on company culture. 

5. How do you go about creating a content marketing budget? 

Again, this needs to be tied to what type of business you have and what your audience is. So if you're SaaS, B2B, it will cost more. You should also consider the distribution costs of your content. 

So you break down roughly what you will need from a blog, video, or multimedia perspective. Decide what content you want per month, what it will cost, and how much you need to promote these pieces. This can come from the demand gen budget, and if you have historical data, you can use that to justify the ROI. If it is something new, use industry data to justify the costs.

6. What does your ideal content marketing stack look like? 

Unfortunately, there will always be a little bit of a silo problem. You need some sort of business intelligence visualization layer. But the ideal stack will be the one where you take all of the paid touch data and combine it with your own media analytics like Google Analytics, CRM Salesforce, and engagement platforms like Marketo and then add product usage in there, and you wrap it all up and push it into a business intelligence layering tool. 

It is hard, and I've yet to see companies crack that nut. At a company like Microsoft, a trillion-dollar-plus company, they didn't have that either. They still had mixed tools. There was not one tool dashboard that tells you everything you need to know about how your things are doing, how they're coming to your website, and then what that means.

So don't feel bad if you don't have it because the most successful companies worldwide don't have that one-stop shop. 

7. What do you think content marketers get wrong in the initial few years of their careers?

They need to understand their business and understand and convey how the content impacts the business. Many content people want to do thought leadership or cool creative stuff, but it may or may not align with what their business needs from their marketing or content program.

And even if it is at some level, they can't connect the two in measurable ways to their business partners or their management. This is the biggest challenge I've seen with content leaders, people who invest, or companies who think we have to do content.

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