There is a common saying about history—We can’t know where to go if we don’t know where we’ve been. The same is true with marketing in general and content marketing more specifically. In this spirit, we wanted to get some insights from our own team as well as other industry professionals. How did 2023 go for them overall and from a content perspective? What are their plans and hopes for 2024? Here’s what we found.
Content challenges and the growing fight for attention
Generative AI (GenAI) made its entrance in late 2022, but its impact significantly ramped up in 2023. The sheer amount of content for every industry grew exponentially while everyone was still trying to compete for the same amount of attention. At Uberflip, we saw it become more challenging for everyone to stand out and reach their intended audiences.
For Chris Moody, Demandbase’s Head of GTM Thought Leadership, proving ROI for content and beyond is a major problem that needs to be solved. Founder & CEO of MarketingOps.com, Mike Rizzo, stated that analyzing and repurposing his company’s best content was the most challenging content-related hurdle in 2023.
Having to do more with less during economic uncertainty
As the economic landscape continued to decline, reduced budgets and reallocating resources became necessary. This forced change on countless organizations, including Uberflip, but it also created fertile ground for disruption. In other words, the challenges we saw in 2023 carved a path for innovation and transformation in 2024.
Brandon Redlinger, Fractional VP of Marketing at Chili Piper, echoed that cutting resources and headcount to meet the demands of investors created many challenges within his company in 2023.
"Though my team is scrappy and used to working at fast-paced startups, we didn't anticipate the unpredictability and rapid, frequent changes in the market,” he said. “With the economic changes, the value that our buyers got from the product (and thus the value proposition and messaging we go to market with) changed. That meant being agile and adapting both strategies and campaigns to the changing needs of our buyers. Not everyone handles change easily, but it's better to be right than it is to be consistent in this market.”
There were a few pleasant surprises along the way
Despite the micro and macro challenges last year, there were some unexpected silver linings. At Uberflip, we were thrilled by the response we received to our launch of Pages, a significant expansion of our existing platform. While we had hoped it would be well received by our customers, the positive feedback and excitement we received after its launch far exceeded our expectations.
Redlinger also saw some positive outcomes in 2023. "Constraints often lead to creativity, and that was certainly the case with my team,” he said. “Additionally, I saw more growth in individual team members this year than expected. Their pace of learning certainly picked up as the demands on the team increased. As a result, I had to consciously spend more time enabling the team and knowing the right times to coach versus train versus lead.”
The good news extended to Rizzo, with his team hitting their all-time high of downloads for their Ops Cast podcast and also successfully hosting a 300+ person conference for marketers in 2023.
Lessons learned as we challenge existing norms
The best advice comes from people who have learned the hard lessons of marketing firsthand. To that end, our team at Uberflip advises organizations to continue getting to know their customers better and adopt a customer-centric marketing approach. Marketing sometimes frames messaging and campaigns within the context of the product roadmap instead of the customer's needs. But, the more effective approach is to map your customers’ needs, perceptions, preferences, and behavior. Motivate your stakeholders to obsess about servicing and satisfying your customers.
Moody adds, “The days of trying to be everything to everyone are over. There's still a lot of spray-and-pray marketing happening. A large number of people think they've done ABM, but true account-based growth requires a unified sales, marketing, and customer success team. We work every single day to help our customers get better at that, and I see far too many companies in our space that are misaligned and leaving tons of money and efficiency on the table.”
Rizzo recommends hiring marketing operations professionals, saying that they are the backbone of supporting effective and efficient GTM teams.
Finally, Redlinger has learned to challenge core assumptions about customers and the market, especially regarding the value you think your product/service delivers to customers. He says, “This is not a one-time activity, but rather an ongoing responsibility you have. I’m convinced the success of marketing leaders will depend on their ability to read and understand the market, and that starts with deeply understanding your customers.”
Planning for 2024 and beyond
With 2023 in the rearview and 2024 well on the way, there is a lot to be excited about. As mentioned above, we released some significant new features within the Uberflip platform in 2023. This year, we will continue to adapt our strategy to better reflect the changing market. We also plan to focus on product adoption with existing customers to help them unlock even more potential value.
Rizzo shared that his company will be supporting content programming and in-person events more than ever before, while Redlinger expressed his team’s emphasis on verticalization.
Moody said that his team will be focused on a specific set of high value accounts and uniquely solving their pains and mission critical priorities. He says, “Sadly, there's still a ton of wasted advertising spend and time in our field and we're continuing to improve how we target and how our customers target and engage accounts. It's a never-ending priority and one that I hope every marketing leader is actioning against.”
When preparing for the future, it's crucial to reflect on the past and make informed decisions based on acquired knowledge. Companies possess a wealth of information and valuable tools that can propel them to great heights if applied to the right endeavors. While relying on past trends to anticipate the future isn't flawless, it remains our most effective option. As Mark Twain aptly put it, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes."