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Publish or Perish and What It Means For CMOs

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

A staggering 93% of CMOs believe they need to become publishers. They hold this belief because "well organized and high quality content has become the fuel that runs modern digital, mobile and social marketing systems" according to a Forbes research paper entitled Publish or Perish

However, the paradigm shift to publishing is not yet well understood according to Bruce Rogers, Forbes Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice, Forbes Media who oversaw the research and penned the final paper. "Our ongoing research in this arena suggests that CMOs are not yet very good at managing, distributing, and 'optimizing' the content they create–a process now critical to growing the top line," says Rogers. 

I had the chance to chat with Bruce about this very topic. 

SO: What do you say to the person who reads the title “Publish or Perish” and says it’s just hyperbole run amok — the situation isn’t that dire? 

BR: I have the privilege of speaking with hundreds of CMOs over the course of a year through the Forbes CMO Practice. I was struck by the universality of the publishing pain point. That’s what started the process of doing research in the first place, to identify best practices that marketing leaders could use to simplify their lives. I am just reporting the facts, ma'am.

SO: In the report, it states that  most marketing executives struggle to achieve the number one CEO-mandate of driving top line growth. Why do you think that is?

BR: Marketing was traditionally by nature an inefficient practice.  Now, more digitally savvy consumers and customers have changed their modes of communication and decision-making. Yet much of marketing has failed to keep pace. The rise of the data-driven, digital focused marketer who understands this new dynamic is a relatively new discipline and it will probably take a new generation of marketing leadership to move into a position of meeting CEO expectations for how marketing could and should be a driver of top line growth.

SO: One of the many key takeaways from the report for me was the fact that 61% of marketers report that it is difficult for their salespeople to find marketing content when they need it. How does a company go about rectifying this for this is problematic to say the least for any size organization? 

BR: There are two facets to this fix. 1) Process: Marketers need to create a better content taxonomy and meta tagging strategy allowing content to be easily found, especially through search 2) Technology: Better content search tools plus digital asset management platforms and sales enablement content distribution tools can help. Cloud solutions such as Oracle's also aggregate many of these functionalities under one suite of tools.

SO: One section of the report deals specifically with how leading marketers are leveraging technology to reduce the cost and complexity of their content operations. With so many varying technology options out there, how can a marketer best determine which technology is right for them?

BR: First and foremost, marketers need to get their people and process house in order before choosing technology options. Next, Forbes offers seven questions marketers need to answer before selecting a technology:
1. How well does their approach support our business model?
2. How well do their solutions support our customer focus?
3. How well do their solutions align with our go-to-market approach?
4. Can their approach provide the level of control we need to support our content governance needs?
5. How easily can they integrate their solutions into our existing marketing technology infrastructure?
6. Are our content operations and processes mature enough to realize value from their capabilities?
7. Do they have the ability to execute and support an organization of our scale, complexity and structure?
SO: Final thoughts. What does the future hold for marketers and publishing? 

BR: In the near term, over the next five years, marketing is steadily evolving from a budget-to-manage phase to a cost-of-sales phase. The more effective use of data and technologies will drive inefficiencies out of the marketing process. The process of marketing will become increasingly automated. In the next five to ten years, Artificial Intelligence will allow these systems run seamlessly in the background without much human intervention. Ironically, this will create an even greater demand for creativity, putting a premium on marketing leaders who can both operate in this new environment and think outside the automation box.


At the end of the day, this all comes down to having the right technology in place to help CMOs and all marketers maximize their publishing and content efforts. For help on this front, be sure to download The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms.

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