Marketing Leader Series: Steve Peck, Contently
At Antenna, we’re always interested in learning how marketers got where they are, and what they do to keep growing and improving. In this blog series, we’re interviewing marketing leaders we respect and admire at companies across industries. We recently talked to Steve Peck, a marketer whose winding career path has landed him in an interesting cross-section of content marketing and analytics.
As a marketer, Steve Peck used to be skeptical about the value of Twitter.
Until his company’s recent acquisition all started with a single tweet.
Steve is the co-founder of Docalytics, a content analytics company that was recently bought by Contently. “They found us on Twitter,” he says. Someone at Contently saw a tweet about Docalytics. They reached out, became a customer, grew the partnership and ultimately purchased the company.
Now, Steve is working on ways to build Contently’s presence in the Twin Cities through meetups, learning events and other gatherings that will bring marketers together to share ideas and insights. Here’s how he got there.
The Data Side of Content
Docalytics is a helpful tool for marketers who want more information about how their audience engages with downloadable content. Another co-founder, Evan Carothers, came up with the idea and has built several tech products in the Twin Cities market.
The idea developed because content marketing seemed like a broken system at first, Steve says. Companies were spending a lot of money, time and effort to produce content like white papers and ebooks, then putting them behind a lead gen form and only getting a 5 percent conversion rate. Instead of putting those shiny new pieces of content behind a gate, “we wanted to let readers get into the content, see a few pages, and then once they’re hooked and want to keep reading, we ask for their contact information.”
The result was a huge jump in conversion rates -- from 5 percent to 20 or 30 percent. The team knew they were on the right track, so they started looking at ways to figure out how audiences engage with content. “For most marketers, it’s a black box,” he says. “Are people actually reading it? What content is performing better than others? What kind of content should we be producing?”
In the early days, the company had to spend a lot of time educating would-be customers about the importance of analytics. “People thought, if I get the lead, who cares?”
But since then, the company has seen a lot of inbound interest, typically from larger organizations that have been using marketing automation for some time. “They’re getting orders from the CMO to become more accountable for the content they create. Senior leaders are saying, you need to do a better job of tracking your content and making sure it’s engaging.”
Contently was a leader in providing analytics for web-based content, and with Docalytics doing the same for documents, the company is now integrating the products.
As part of that process, Contently is building out its presence in the Docalytics team’s home base, the Twin Cities, joining the active marketing community here. The company will be holding events and bringing in thought leaders to help educate and learn from local marketers, cementing Minneapolis’ role as a marketing hub.
Different Industries, Different Perspectives
Steve got his start in biology, but found he enjoyed interacting with people too much to spend his time in a sterile lab. He transitioned into healthcare sales with Microsoft Health Solutions Group, where he got a strong background in sales fundamentals.
“I’m a big believer in the need for sales and marketing to collaborate,” he says. “That’s a challenge for pretty much every organization I meet with, so my sales perspective has made a big impact on me as a marketer.”
When his team founded Docalytics, he got thrown headfirst into marketing, building a content strategy, helping create content and immersing himself in the marketplace.
He says he still sees many organization struggle with content marketing. “I think a lot of people are questioning the effectiveness of content marketing, because it’s not something you can just dabble in. You need the full support of senior leadership to fully dive in.” Steve says the most successful marketers are always looking for new ideas and perspectives they can apply.
“I’ve learned a lot about the importance of bringing in outside perspectives,” Steve says. “My advice for new marketers: Learn about different industries and find out what marketers are doing in difference spaces, because it’s a great way to get new ideas,” he says. “For me, having a broad set of experiences across many different industries and types of companies has given me a much more robust toolkit.”
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