Gartner offers first Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing tools

The category’s vendors report brisk growth rates, but the research firm warns that the category term is destined for oblivion.

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If you’re familiar with the term “content marketing,” don’t get too attached.

According to the first Magic Quadrant report on Content Marketing Platforms (subscription required) from research firm Gartner, the term will be dead within three years — because all content will be marketed as a way of attracting attention-limited audiences.

For the moment, though, a variety of vendors employ that term to describe their software solutions for planning, distributing, optimizing and analyzing content that is created for specific marketing purposes, like educating customers about a given technology or promoting a notable case history.

The Leaders in this report are NewsCred, Kapost, Contently and Percolate, which are tops in both Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. Skyword, ScribbleLive, Spredfast and Sprinklr are pegged as Niche Players, which are on the short end of both those metrics.

No vendors are assessed by Gartner in the middle categories of Challengers or Visionaries.

Functions frequently found among these vendors include editorial planning, creative workflow, talent network management, content distribution, analytics and integration with other kinds of platforms. New kinds of personalization, content targeting, content tagging, and even content creation are emerging, usually with the help of artificial intelligence.

The need for targeted content is driving brisk growth, co-author Kirsten Newbold-Knipp told me via email. She noted that most vendors in this report’s Magic Quadrant are “growing between 20 percent and 50 percent year over year and a number of smaller vendors [are] entering the space, while near neighbor categories are adding features to compete.” In particular, she points out, “social marketing vendors are positioning themselves in this space with several adding enough basic features to compete — particularly for social-centric, B2C content marketing use cases.”

Among this year’s Magic Quadrant vendors, for instance, Spredfast and Sprinklr are better known as social management platforms. But since social media has become such a huge arena for marketers, creation and management of content for that space is essential.

It takes a lot of effort, the report noted, to consistently create high-quality content that is targeted at specific needs. Tools in other categories are also helping, including those in work/project management, web content management, digital asset management and sales enablement.

Although Gartner believes the category name is headed for oblivion, the report noted that the need “for tools that help develop, produce and deliver branded content” is urgent. Content creation and management were the two top digital priorities in a Gartner study conducted at the end of last year among marketing decision-makers, with about 7.4 percent of marketing budgets allocated to content creation.

Newbold-Knipp pointed out that only 40 percent of organizations have adopted some form of content marketing solution. “Many marketers are still using fragmented productivity and file sharing applications to cobble together their processes,” she wrote, “leaving room for improvement and growth.”

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About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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