Session Recap

Martech: Delivering Next-Level Content Marketing

October 6, 2022 — During this Martechify discussion, four of our martech and content experts discussed approaches, best practices, and tools for upleveling content including using personalization.

In this session, Marie Martin of AxleHire, Penny Hill of Khoros, Stephanie McArthur of Demandbase, and J.P. Maxwell of Tipit explain how to uplevel your content game by getting the right content to the right person at the right time with the help of martech tools including CRMs ( Marketing Automation Platforms), CDPs (Customer Data Platforms), ABM Platforms (Account Based Marketing), Journey + CX platforms, and Channel-focused platforms and tools. In addition, they provide approaches, frameworks, and use cases to help you see your content game anew.

Featured Experts

Penny Hill

Penny Hill

Director of Marketing Operations


Marie Martin

Marie Martin

Director of Marketing


JP Maxwell

J.P. Maxwell


Tipit, LLC

Stephanie McArthur

Stephanie McArthur

Principal, ABX Expert


Session Expert Takeaways

Engage customer emotions – Cast your customers as the protagonists—the leading character/role in your content, and you’ll never go wrong. It’s starting with the customer content needs.  

Spray & Pray does NOT work – Instead, deliver engaging account experiences across the entire customer journey. Even if all you do is audit your content list to start to determine your gaps.  

Implement an intent platform to start – Helps you to see where your audience is in the buyer’s journey and provides insights so you can create a holistic integrated campaign. An intent platform can be the first step in migrating to account-based marketing (ABM).

Dirty data is still data – Leverage tools to clean and enrich your data (standardized fields). Make sure to address duplicates by merging or removing. Check your contacts against an up-to-date contact database to make sure they are current.

Right person. Right message. Right Time. – With data telling you the right person and content driving the right time and right message. (Hint: Use both a story arc along with the buyer’s journey. )

Don’t be intimidated – Use what you have. About 80% of the buyer’s journey is at the anonymous level anyway. Look at the data to find patterns. Use Google Analytics. LinkedIn. LISTEN! DON’T PLAN! LISTEN AGAIN. Then, create a content strategy.

The right time – The ability to be able to deliver a content piece to the user at precisely the right time (when they need it) is crucial to delivering the perfect customer experience—no matter the industry or use case.


When you look at upleveling your content game, remember that data is your content strategy’s foundation. Data tells us, among other things, who the right person is, and where they consume content. Who they listen to for advice. And data tells you the right time to offer up personalized content. Clean data is critical in enabling you to determine the right person with the right content at the right time. First, it’s essential to base content production on where the varied audiences are in the buyer’s journey. Next, your content needs to be ready to activate in any channel, including your website. Tools that can bring content to your target audience include CRMs, such as Salesforce; marketing automation platforms, such as Adobe Campaign and Salesforce Marketing Cloud; and CDPs, such as Segment, Tealium, Bombora. Then, let’s not forget ABM platforms, such as 6sense and Demandbase where you are marketing to accounts/teams and not just individuals in companies. All these tools are only as good as your data.

The right content

After you collect the audience(s) data and create personas, you will be well-served to go beyond just mapping your content to your buyer’s journey. Instead, map your existing content against both the buyer’s journey (1. Engage 2. Persuade, and 3. Commit) and a story arc (1. Context setting 2. Insights 3. Rational drowning 4. Emotional impact 5. New way to think about the problem 6. Show your solution, and 7. Provide next steps) to understand where you need to fill the content holes. Companies often miss early-stage “Engage” content, where they are called upon to relate to the audience’s pain points. They jump to offering the audience a solution before engaging them. 95% of companies have many content assets to fulfill the late stages of the buyer’s journey (2. Persuade and 3. Commit), where they tout their offering. Sadly, few content assets relate to the audience’s pain points in the “Engage” stage. But make no mistake, the “Engage” stage is critical in building trust and rapport and should not be overlooked.

The right person

How do you get that content to the right person? Most companies have the standard martech setup with a marketing automation platform and a CRM, like Salesforce. So, if you need to uplevel your content game, you must look at the data to try to understand your audience even if all you have are basic martech tools. Surprisingly, far too many companies still use the “spray and pray” method of communicating en masse, and no surprise, it doesn’t work well. Others have dirty data that is useless for personalization. One of the things you may consider is buying an intent data tool. An intent tool allows you to look at what’s happening at each stage of the buyer’s journey in real-time and create tailored content targeted to your buyers based on where they are in the buying stage. You’ll also be able to quickly identify the contacts and accounts to go after once you can see your audience’s intent. With an intent tool, you can start a personalized campaign by enabling something as simple as displaying a company name on a website campaign page. Again, it’s important to understand what your data is telling you through the lens of an intent or behavior platform. Next, you can get a little more sophisticated by creating a fully personalized web experience based on intent/behavioral data by personalizing key pages based on the buying stage and industry. For example, using intent data, Penny Hill of Khoros realized a 4X increase in demo conversions, a 16% increase in deal sizes, and a 42% decrease in sales cycle length. Also, pages-per-sessions were 2X higher for visitors that engage with personalized content.

The right time

ABM has exploded in the last three years because it allows you to meet your audience where they are when they are paying attention. But how do you engage your audience without annoying them? Did you know that 80% of the buyer’s journey happens in an anonymous state? Add to that the complexity of B2B marketing that asks for more than one person in an organization to raise their hand. So, your martech tools need to help you understand where people are at any given time. And to detect patterns, such as a topic coming up repeatedly. Patterns tell you, “Okay, this topic seems to be coming up a lot. Do I have something that supports it? No. Okay let’s write a quick blog post. Let’s get them unstuck from this obstacle.” And that’s what we call the right time—when the audience has shown interest.
Once you have sorted out onsite intent, you may want to add off-site intent analysis. Tools like Demandbase can show you off-site intent. You can then layer both on and off-site intent to get a fuller picture. For example, you can learn what your audience is doing, what events they are going to, what webinars they attend, what on-demand webcasts they consume, and what blog posts they read. Once you get used to sifting through the data and making it a regular practice, you’ll quickly start seeing patterns. Then, voila, you can say to your team each week, “All right, here’s our strategy for the week; see the patterns!” However, this requires that you listen rather than plan.


If you take your contact database, upload it into an email blast tool, and send an email out, you’ll get people scanning your email to see if anything applies to them. It’s the ineffective “spray and pray” method. On the other hand, if you can make that information tailored to the person you are talking to by recognizing what they’ve been doing along their journey, then you have a far better chance of getting their attention and making a connection and communicating with them directly. You can get someone to engage and stay in the buyer’s journey by reacting with personalized information. J.P. Maxwell of Tipit, an open-source event tool, explains how. Tipit allows you to follow people before, during, and after an event. You get to see the context with great precision because the platform provides a lot of contextual data signals. And then, you can have content, offers, and messages lined up and ready for your audience at each stage of their journey.

Content Upleveling Consideration

When creating a content plan, like most, you may not initially have all the fancy martech tools you desire. However, you can do a lot of listening, pattern recognition, and planning with just the basics. It’s about the approach, not the tools, though martech tools are beneficial. To help you uplevel your content even further, try asking these questions:

Where do I start?

What martech tools, content assets, and data do you have right now? What can I do with them? Knowing how to use martech tools to listen and learn is part of the content upleveling game. The other part is creating engaging content. Remember, outside of marketing your team is rich with content ideas. Prospects will care about content if you make them the protagonist in any story you tell them. For instance, sales spend all day objection handling and hearing the customers’ pain points. Engineering hears what service or platform improvements current customers are demanding. The CEO and C-suite hear from investors, customers, and partners. All these rich customer sources are a great place to start for creating content. And with just Google Analytics and a CRM, you can begin to look for patterns. Then you can build from there.  How can martech help?
Stephanie McArthur of Demandbase suggests that you can start simply by selecting martech tools that allow you to listen and see intent and behavior across the buyer’s journey. For instance, you may want to personalize a website page with a brand’s name after they indicate a particular benefit they want. Next, you can add pages with more content for a specific industry or market. Finally, your team can get more sophisticated by using martech tools to inform you of your audience’s needs by identifying intent and behavior patterns, such as asking the same questions repeatedly.

What does upleveling my content game mean?

Upleveling your content means engaging your audience more frequently and with content that matters to them. If you currently “spray and pray,” upleveling can mean diving deeper into the CRM data to see why deals were lost and writing a blog or e-paper to address the issue. It can mean using a couple of martech tools and moving to a more sophisticated tool that listens to intent both on and off-site. It can mean mapping your current content to the buyer’s journey, layering a story arc on top of that, and filling your content holes. Finally, it can mean picking up the phone, talking to ten or twenty customers, and simply listening.

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