August 29, 2019

Do content marketers buy tech?

Do content marketers buy tech?

This review originally appeared in the August 29, 2019 issue of The Content Technologist with the email subject line "Do content marketers buy tech?" and a review of project management software Notion.

This week has been all hustle and no flow. I keep patching together disparate ideas of work-life and life’s work with no real conclusion. The twin industry behemoth conferences of Content Marketing World and Inbound next week, neither of which I will attend. I’ve never been to Inbound, but Content Marketing World has always been good to me, so I’m a little sad to be missing it.

Since I can’t attend… I’ll just gossip. Here’s a bit of hot goss I’m passing on as a newsletter author who DGAF about publishing rumors received on background:

In conversations with several content software vendors (many of whom I first discovered at CMW), they’ve indicated that they’re not tabling at this year’s show. In past years they’ve had leads but not many purchases, so the ROI of a booth at the country’s largest content marketing conference just isn’t worth it anymore.

These are vendors with some of the most innovative content tech on the market with excellent data, wonderful interfaces and smart salespeople. Their products help content marketers understand their audiences and shine light on content performance in a way that more general marketing technologies and workflow software don’t.

So… why don’t content marketers or, rather, CMW attendees buy? I have a few theories:

  • Content marketers’ focus on churning out articles and maintaining production workflows (more traditional editorial) make it hard to see where new types of tools can help with day-to-day content production. Also, new tools tend to muck things up and slow things down.
  • Content marketers see analytics and performance data as a job for analysts or other marketing leaders.
  • Content marketers don’t like being “sold to” directly and are skeptical of vendors at events like CMW.
  • Content marketers would rather spend their budgets on, well, more content. They want to devote any extra budget to hiring better writers and creators or amazing videos or more media spend to promote their great content.
  • Pure content marketers simply don’t have the power/budget to make software purchasing decisions. When they do, they’re focused solely on production and not entrusted with more in-depth data-driven technologies.

I suspect it’s largely the first and last bullets, with a sprinkle of the rest thrown in. Speculating on gossip: you know you’re into it.


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