Tech Duolog

Martech Interview with Director, Product Marketing, Kentico Kontent – Corey Hamilton

Corey from Kentico Kontent explores the digitization of content marketing and the current state of AI investments in marketing, along with emphasis to expand the same.


“It can be a matter of trial and error to figure out what content will resonate with your consumers “

1. Tell us about your role at Kentico Kontent?
I’m the Director of Product Marketing at Kentico Kontent. I’m responsible for defining the processes around how we bring our products to market and ensuring we execute on those initiatives. This typically involves product launches, messaging, enablement, and supporting marketing campaigns.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I’ve worked with content management systems for most of my career – originally as a software engineer and later Sales Engineering, Product Management, and Product Marketing roles.

While these roles have spanned almost two decades, the underlying theme across each of these roles was enabling Marketing teams to do more online. Early on, that meant simply being able to update the content on their websites. Later, it became more about enabling user-generated content and engaged communities, and today it’s evolved to include additional channels – customer portals, digital signage, chat bots and even some IoT devices.

3. How has digitalization enhanced marketing strategies?
For starters, it’s changed the expectations of everybody online – your customers, partners, and even just casual browsers who might end up on your website. In general, people no longer tolerate experiences that feel like a bunch of systems working in silos with no knowledge of how you’ve interacted with their business in the past and with no insights into what you’re looking to accomplish.

This has led most leading companies to invest heavily in delivering consistent experiences across all of their channels and anywhere they may interact with their customers. But, this isn’t new. We were talking about this when I left another content management vendor back in 2014. I think what’s changed (and will continue to evolve) is that cloud technologies have removed technical barriers (e.g. scaling, performance, global reach, etc.) and made it possible to actually start delivering on some of these end-to-end customer initiatives.

Moving forward, I expect more companies will continue evolving on this path to more consistent customer journeys across every interaction. I also expect it will be an ongoing process –

new channels will be created, new touchpoints, and deeper customer insights will create a moving target that Marketing teams will continue pursuing for the next several years – to the benefit of their customers.

4. Can you explain how content marketing is growing as a driving force in marketing campaigns?
With so many places that customers interact with brands online, Content Marketing teams have become critical to ensuring the ideal message gets delivered to every location, targeted to the appropriate audience at the right time in their journey with that company.

Despite optimizations that might be made for specific situations, each message needs to reflect the brand’s values, compel the end user to commit the desired action, and contribute to a positive experience every time. This type of thing doesn’t just happen-it requires skilled professionals who understand their company’s customer acquisition strategy and are focused on crafting varying versions of their messaging to fit every scenario.

5. How has your digital experience platform empowered your customers during this lockdown?
Kentico Kontent makes it easy for marketing teams to produce and manage their content no matter where they are in the world-including in their own homes. As a cloud-based SaaS offering, this solution is available everywhere and allows teams to collaborate on their content production in real-time, even when team members live on opposite sides of the world.

With features like Simultaneous Editing, Inline Commenting and Suggestions, and Task Management editors can work with project managers, subject matter experts, and stakeholders to keep ensure content gets created on-time and with the right messaging in order to keep their digital projects on track.

6. With AI and data coming in, what are your predictions about the future of content marketing?
As access to customer and user data increases and AI tools evolve, I expect content marketing teams will increase their investments in these services in the next few years.

But I don’t think we’re there yet. Today, I don’t think the average marketer has enough confidence in “AI tools” to implement them in a very meaningful way. It seems like every software company on the planet is offering some form of “AI” without any real explanation for what it does, or how it does it. The reality is that artificial intelligence is really hard to get right, and it requires huge amounts of data to draw appropriate conclusions. So, when every company you see claims they’ll display “the optimal” content to every user, marketers are forced to ask “how do I know you’re going to display the right thing?”

But I do expect this to change in the next couple years. Several large Cloud and Big Data vendors are making huge investments in these areas and making their services available to their customers-many of them SaaS-based MarTech companies. As a result, I expect these services will improve significantly to the point that content marketing teams (as well as other parts of Marketing) will eventually trust them enough to begin implementing these services much more frequently and in more meaningful ways. We just need to be a bit patient.

7. Can you share a check-list that you follow to ensure your strategy before applying it?
Honestly, no, I can’t. Because I think strategies should always be specific to whatever you’re trying to accomplish and dependent on your current situation-typically not something that can be properly captured in a repeatable checklist. But, I do have some initial steps I always take in defining any strategy.

To me,

Any strategy begins with understanding the current state of that objective, whether it’s a product strategy, a marketing strategy, or a sales strategy. And, when I say “understanding the current state” I mean *honestly* understanding it. Too often, companies define their current situation as closer to what they want it to be rather than how their customers and others in the market really perceive them.

So, my approach always begins with finding as many varied insights I can to form the deepest understanding of our true current situation. Critical to that assessment is understanding what resources we have available and where we may be lacking capabilities. After all, it doesn’t do anybody any good to create a go-to-market strategy that relies on bi-weekly feature releases if the reality is that half of your features get delayed on the way to market.

Once this work has been done, then I think you can form a checklist that applies to that particular objective. You’ll want to ensure all stakeholders understand the plan as well as any risks or dependencies that may affect them or their team before you begin. After that, frequent communication (perhaps overcommunication) is your best bet to ensure the successful execution of that plan.

8. What features of your CMS platform differentiates it in the market?
Kentico Kontent offers the same benefits as other Headless CMS products, but does it with a particular focus on the content teams that use the product every day. While many other products focus primarily on the developer aspects of the CMS, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what content editors, project managers, and other marketing stakeholders need to perform their jobs better than they’ve ever been able to in the past.

In terms of features, this includes real-time content collaboration, Simultaneous Editing, and inline commenting. We’ve recently also introduced a new product called Web Spotlight which is a set of features that sit on top of the headless CMS to give marketers better context into how their content is used within their websites. This has been a major blind spot for many customers of headless CMS solutions in the past, and we think it’s really going to help our customers manage their websites better while still giving them the flexibility to use their content on any other channels as well.

9. What advice would like to give to the Start-Ups?
In terms of digital initiatives, they should make sure they’re building their websites, applications, and other digital properties on an architecture that gives them the freedom to adapt in the future. New methodologies, products, and data services are being introduced constantly and successful start-ups need to be able to adopt the right technologies when they need them. This approach will allow them to start small and then scale as needed, as well as offer their customers the best online experience before some new competitor swoops in and does it better.

10. What work-related hack do you follow to enjoy maximum productivity?
I apply my to-do list to my calendar – almost every day. This does two things for me – first, it forces me to think about how long each initiative will take to perform and then account for that in terms of real time. This helps me set realistic expectations for what can get done in a certain timeframe, without ignoring other things that will take up portions of my time-like meetings.

The second thing this does is give me control over my own work day. I rarely have days that are filled up with meetings from other people, because they look at my calendar when they’re scheduling meetings and see that only certain timeslots are available. Some people I know are hesitant to “misrepresent” working time as actual meetings, but at the end of the day my job is to execute on various objectives and ensure things get done, not to spend all day in meetings.

11. Which book are you reading these days?
It seems like I’m always in the middle of reading two or three books at a time, but the one I’ve been reading most recently is The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.

This is a fascinating book that reminds me how even behemoths like Amazon have to start somewhere-often without having any idea exactly where they’re going to end up. In Amazon’s case, they actually had a much clearer vision than many companies I’ve read about, particularly how they could capitalize on new technologies to gain a huge advantage in the market. But, even in their (incredibly successful) case, Bezos and his team needed to make many hard decisions along the way and needed to find ways to adapt to changing circumstances as they grew into the massively successful company they are today. To me, it’s inspiring to learn about these things and to remember that success doesn’t always look rosy-especially in the beginning.

Corey currently is the Director of Product Marketing at Kentico Kontent, where his responsibilities include defining and executing our Product Launch Program, messaging and positioning within the headless CMS market, competitive and market intelligence, and sales enablement.

Kentico’s products include Kentico Xperience, the award-winning digital experience platform that combines content management, digital marketing, and commerce, and Kentico Kontent, the world’s leading cloud-based headless CMS platform. Kentico Xperience empowers companies and brands to increase customer engagement, deliver personalized content to the right audience, and optimize performance to win more clients. Kentico’s headless solution, Kentico Kontent, simplifies content production for marketers and frees developers to focus on building engaging online experiences. Robust APIs, webhooks, and flexible content models give developers full control over the structure of their content and how it’s delivered to their websites and applications.

For more information please visit our Website.

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