Content marketing for enterprises: Q&A with Percolate CEO Randy Wootton and VP of Marketing Greg Roth


Percolate’s content material marketing platform is utilized by enterprise firms together with Microsoft, Bosch, United Airlines, and BP. What makes Percolate distinctive and what’s subsequent for the corporate?

Percolate’s know-how falls someplace between a “content marketing platform” and a “marketing resource management tool.” Unlike another CMPs, they focus much less on the supply of content material and extra on orchestrating the group, planning, and evaluation of marketing campaigns. They’re aiming to assist create a brand new class of content material marketing instrument targeted on enabling extra refined planning and orchestration.

percolate enterprise content marketing platform
Image supply: Percolate

The firm is backed by main VCs together with Sequoia Capital, GGV, and Lightspeed Ventures. Their most up-to-date funding was a Series D spherical of $32 million in March 2019. 

We spoke with CEO Randy Wootton and VP of Marketing Greg Roth to be taught extra about their firm and the work they do round enterprise content material marketing.

(This interview has been edited for size and readability.)

CZ: Briefly describe your organization – what’s your elevator pitch?

Percolate: We’ve discovered that the challenges enterprise entrepreneurs are going through are fairly acute. In at this time’s world, many are being held accountable to drive outcomes and income. They should handle more and more extra  complexity throughout product strains, manufacturers, and useful groups. Furthermore, whereas they’ve a transparent image of their clients, they face extra strain to personalize these prospects’ and clients’ experiences. These elements additionally make the software program they select doubtlessly a important half of their marketing transformation. We consider the trail to an optimum marketing group requires creating agility in processes, programs, and know-how.

In some methods, Percolate has turn into the operational layer for marketing groups on the world’s largest organizations. Percolate allows these entrepreneurs to ship extra orchestrated, efficient, and clever marketing on a world scale.

Percolate was created for CMOs, marketing ops innovators, and creatives who get that earlier than you’ll be able to obtain any formidable objective, you want a robust basis, a plan of assault, and a strategy to monitor progress. At its core, Percolate is the place the place your complete marketing effort coalesces. It supplies a spot for groups to assemble, for briefs, belongings, and initiatives to stay, and for plans to be set into motion. 

Team members can get the knowledge they want shortly, and can collaborate throughout capabilities and geographies to drive a marketing campaign ahead. 

Most of all, it provides entrepreneurs full visibility into each dimension of their operations, from multi-year marketing campaign architectures to particular person items of content material. Every asset may be tracked and measured for effectiveness, giving groups granular insights they’ll use to optimize efficiency alongside each axis.

Today, Percolate works with over 600 manufacturers together with Bosch, Microsoft, Albertsons, UPS, VMWare, and BP, all of whom belief Percolate to offer their entrepreneurs entry to the best info, content material, and plans as they speed up in direction of digital transformation and operational excellence.

We at present sit on the intersection of Content Marketing Platform and Marketing Resource Management choices. As we proceed to see our clients’ wants converge throughout a number of classes, we develop business main capabilities that  are serving to to outline a brand new class targeted on marketing planning and orchestration on the pace of enterprise.

percolate product example of how it works
Image supply: Percolate

CZ: How / why was your organization based? 

Percolate: Our founders Noah Brier and James Gross noticed a core problem in the best way marketing was working. They recognized that  that marketing wanted a system of report to handle your complete marketing campaign course of, not simply the deployment or measurement of belongings. Organizations wanted software program and companies to assist them scale campaigns and content material successfully throughout their world markets and groups. 

CZ: Who is your goal buyer?

Percolate: While we accomplice with all kinds of firms, the purchasers that obtain probably the most worth out of our know-how and companies have the next attributes: 

  • Large enterprises with a globally distributed workforce (+3000 workers), who’re required to supply campaigns in lots of areas, markets, and cultures.
  • Companies with vital organizational complexity of their marketing division. Specifically, when success relies on aligning throughout sub-teams similar to model, product marketing, demand era, communications, public relations, visible merchandising, and so forth.
  • Companies with advanced product choices who want to supply marketing for a number of enterprise models and product classes or have to supply product-specific marketing for every product line or SKU.
  • Marketing organizations that produce the bulk of content material in-house, and subsequently must optimize their manufacturing processes, acquire visibility into their total marketing campaign operations, and enhance coordination between content material producers, administration, and management.

We have discovered these attributes are significantly frequent within the B2B know-how, manufacturing, B2B monetary companies, and retail industries.

CZ: What’s the most important downside you remedy for your clients?

Percolate: The rising demand for extra personalised, related content material over the previous 15 years has been rising marketing complexity and straining marketing’s capability all through the provision chain. The must ship ever extra personalised content material for extra buyer segments in B2C organizations, in addition to the shift in direction of account-based marketing in B2B firms, has   elevated the work for already strapped marketing departments.

In latest years, entrepreneurs have dealt with rising marketing complexity by procuring level applied sciences to deal with particular challenges. The majority of these programs – similar to marketing automation, digital marketing hubs, and multi-channel marketing campaign administration programs – concentrate on the supply of content material (‘downstream’ processes) fairly than the administration of content material planning and manufacturing (‘upstream’ processes). 

Due to under-investment in instruments that handle ‘upstream’ marketing supply-chain pains, many entrepreneurs come to Percolate trying to remedy their core orchestration and operational challenges. Strategically, these challenges fall into three areas: 

  • Maximizing marketing influence: The elevated capability to focus on and personalize experiences for clients throughout a large proliferation of each digital and conventional channels presents super alternatives, in addition to challenges, for marketing organizations. While entrepreneurs have methods for driving influence – and the distribution applied sciences to execute them – the calls for of these plans from a content material amount, high quality, and coordination standpoint make fulfilling plans more and more difficult. Marketers who fill the hole between technique and execution will maximize the influence of their campaigns on enterprise and income development.
  • Coordinating operations: Marketing leaders and the groups that they lead will more and more be required to react in real-time, producing and adapting content material to a myriad of buyer personas. The latest resurgence of formalized Marketing Operations groups and the proliferation of SaaS know-how addresses these marketing-specific operational challenges. In the approaching years, we consider that enterprises will concentrate on rising their agility and orchestrating inside processes to match the pace of change within the wider world.
  • Data-driven marketing: Today, all entrepreneurs aspire to be extra data-driven of their resolution making, however there’s a hole between knowledge and actionable insights that allow entrepreneurs to be taught and enhance. Marketing methods and info are unstructured knowledge that usually can’t be measured. Furthermore, marketing organizations have invested closely in channel, staff, and region-specific level options every with their very own metrics that make it tough to behave off a holistic image of actions. Finally, entrepreneurs lack operational knowledge, that means that conventional measures of the marketing campaign and content material efficiency and ROI solely inform half of the story. There is a chance to consolidate instruments and architect a tech stack that creates a extra cohesive knowledge language and delivers coherent insights again into the planning course of.

Marketing groups come to Percolate to unravel a quantity of upstream use circumstances. These contain each long-term strategic planning in addition to short-term editorial planning: briefing and coordination of actions, manufacturing of content material and administration of marketing work, asset and content material administration, and reporting into marketing actions. 

Many entrepreneurs wrestle to work throughout organizational silos and are considering a system to extend cross-functional collaboration and visibility. Other entrepreneurs should not in a position to reply quite simple questions on their marketing — for instance, which presents are at present available in the market? — with no laborious sequence of conferences, telephone calls, and emails. 

Many organizations have tried to unravel these issues by optimizing processes, trying to alter firm tradition or to rent new businesses or workers. Forward-thinking organizations have come to know that enterprise-ready SaaS programs like Percolate are a vital piece of the answer and allow profitable course of and tradition adjustments. 

CZ: If a buyer began at this time, how lengthy wouldn’t it take them to 1)onboard your product, and 2)begin seeing outcomes?

Percolate: All deployments are scoped and resourced based on scale. Typically, Percolate will deploy a number of core workflows — calendaring, briefing, global-to-local content material administration, or content material marketing right into a marketing group. 

Implementation time sometimes averages three months, relying upon the scope and scale of the group. The quantity of customers additionally varies, sometimes round 10-12 customers per staff. Roles and tasks fluctuate from the top of a channel or division (VP of marketing) right down to a person contributor (inventive producer, copywriter, or strategist). 

CZ: Briefly describe the earlier than and after of what influence your know-how or resolution would have if an organization have been to implement it tomorrow.

Percolate: The main impacts could be:

  • Increased income from marketing. Organizations utilizing Percolate noticed a rise in efficiency of marketing belongings. Due to the brand new content material creation insights out there by Percolate, one group detected a 5% improve in open charges of emails 
  • Facilitated cross-team collaboration, leading to new and extra compelling content material. By establishing a single platform for all groups to collaborate on, organizations gained perception into inventive skills throughout departments and divisions. Organizations leveraged these newfound inventive belongings to create new content material and improve current marketing efforts.
  • Improved buyer satisfaction. After implementing Percolate and rising cross-campaign visibility, entrepreneurs reported enhancements of their capability to plan, develop, and present that content material resonated with clients and straight contributed to their improved Net Promoter Score (NPS).

CZ: What are some examples of success stats from clients who’ve began utilizing your product?

Percolate: We’ll share a couple of:

  • An common financial savings of three hours per week of administrative work — or a three-year financial savings of $2,764,136 — from lowering time spent managing marketing initiatives and content material portfolios through spreadsheets, shared drives, and e-mail.
  • A 3-year financial savings of $826,878 and/or 10% financial savings of the annual asset creation funds. Percolate supplies a single supply of report for all belongings, and allows groups to reuse content material and cut back redundant spending, particularly the place separate areas, product groups, and departments had ceaselessly spent cash creating comparable belongings.
  • 83% discount of hourly manufacturing prices by shifting inventive work in-house. By rising visibility throughout their full portfolio of belongings and inventive expertise, organizations understand they might transfer manufacturing work from outdoors businesses to inside manufacturing groups, whose hourly charges have been 83% decrease, leading to a three-year financial savings of $685,920.
  • A 3-year financial savings of $590,627 from consolidating marketing staff instrument units and retiring legacy programs. After deploying Percolate, clients have been in a position to discontinue utilizing different undertaking administration, asset administration, and social posting instruments.

CZ: How many opponents are in your area and how do you examine to them?

Percolate: Over a yr in the past, we made a strategic gamble on reworking the Classic model of our product into Next. Percolate Next was our imaginative and prescient of a Content Marketing Platform — infused with the core collaboration, workflow, and course of options integral to managing and measuring enterprise marketing campaigns. 

Our imaginative and prescient of an enterprise-ready CMP included performance inherent in Marketing Resource Management, Digital Asset Management, and Collaborative Work Management merchandise.

Concurrently, we observed the growth of the CMP class and its convergence with different classes similar to Marketing Resource Management (MRM), Collaborative Work Management (Project Management), Digital Asset Management, Sale Enablement Platforms, Digital Experience Platforms, and Content Management Systems. 

This resulted in an expanded competitor set. The launch of the Percolate Developer Platform will permit us to concentrate on our core competencies whereas nonetheless offering ‘best-in-class’ options through integration for gross sales enablement, marketing automation, enterprise intelligence, and atomic content material – with an eye fixed in direction of constructing a sturdy community of integration companions throughout all related classes. 

CZ: Why do clients select you over your opponents?

Percolate: Unlike our opponents, Percolate is particularly targeted on enterprise marketing administration. With our versatile, hierarchical groups, giant enterprises are in a position to symbolize their organizational construction inside our system and mannequin permissions and approvals, straight from their real-world reporting construction. This targeted method has allowed us to deal with the size challenges that entrepreneurs face and assist world deployments with the world’s largest firms.

Our platform supplies marketing organizations a high-level of flexibility on the subject of modeling knowledge for content material sorts and representing strategic attributes as metadata. This not solely allows our clients to simply map and measure their strategic and tactical necessities but additionally allows us to assist a variety of use circumstances past typical content material marketing channels.

Many of our opponents’ skilled companies choices concentrate on licensing, curating, and creating content material for clients. We haven’t discovered this to be a necessity at giant, enterprise firms, who already make use of tons of of in-house content material creators on prime of company relationships. 

Rather, our skilled companies capabilities concentrate on aligning our know-how to the transformation initiatives and enterprise objectives inside their firm and enabling the client to make more practical and clever use of their content material and content material creation sources. 

Our Global Customer Success group ensures the success of these initiatives from implementation and coaching to integration and customization and embody change administration and adoption companies for organizations to get probably the most out of our know-how.

CZ: What are you specializing in for the subsequent yr?

Percolate: Going into 2020, we can be bettering our content material modeling capabilities to deal with Atomic Content and permit for content material elements to be dynamically composed on the fly.

Our most refined B2B and B2C entrepreneurs consider this can be their greatest problem sooner or later for delivering personalised content material at scale. 

Additionally, we can be investing in AI-driven content material and marketing campaign insights that make the most of knowledge gathered by consumer enter and by purposes developed on our Platform to connect with different programs.

CZ: What challenges do you see within the business and what are you doing to arrange?

Percolate: In latest years, entrepreneurs have addressed rising marketing complexity by procuring level applied sciences to deal with particular challenges. The majority of these programs – similar to marketing automation, digital marketing hubs, and multi-channel marketing campaign administration programs – concentrate on the supply of content material (‘downstream’ processes) fairly than the administration of content material planning and manufacturing (‘upstream’ processes). 

Due to underinvestment in instruments that handle ‘upstream’ marketing supply-chain pains, many entrepreneurs come to Percolate trying to remedy these core operational challenges. 

Strategically, these challenges fall into three areas: 

  • The capability to ship enterprise outcomes attributable to marketing actions
  • The capability to function effectively and adapt processes to market adjustments
  • The capability to be taught and enhance upon marketing processes and outputs over time

We consider the root-cause of these challenges is a course of bottleneck on the content material manufacturing stage. In the previous, marketing distribution channels have been restricted (a couple of TV channels, radio stations, magazines, and so forth.), that means that irrespective of how a lot time and cash manufacturers invested in creating marketing content material, its influence was restricted by out there advert area. 

Today, there are extra web related units (thus, channels) than individuals, that means that entrepreneurs now have a bottleneck round creating and coordinating high-quality content material throughout all these touchpoints.

CZ: Who do you look to for instance and perception?

Percolate: We’ve drawn inspiration from know-how platforms that play a really lively position in coordinating how a number of merchandise work collectively. We have gained perception from firms which have efficiently launched and mobilized their very own respective developer platforms that transcend APIs to supply capabilities to construct new Applications, User Experiences and Next-Generation Integrations on a constant knowledge basis. Examples embody:

  • SalesForce Lightning
  • Zendesk Sunshine
  • Atlassian Connect (Jira)
  • Workday Cloud Platform
  • Box Platform
  • Service Now: Now Platform
  • Hubspot Connect
  • Intercom Platform

CZ: Any new merchandise or options within the pipeline? Exciting information you wish to share?

Percolate: We’re targeted on making heavy investments into the APIs out there to each clients and third-party suppliers. In 2019, we’ll be launching the primary Developer Platform for Content Marketing which can mix our versatile knowledge modeling layer and REST APIs with new capabilities together with:

  • Subscription administration for all Percolate occasions as Webhooks
  • UI SDK to combine purposes into the Percolate utility User Interface
  • Robust utility lifecycle administration for clients to put in and configure purposes

We’ll even be launching a number of new integrations developed alongside our companions together with Allocadia, Domo, PageProof, Adobe, Google and others within the lead as much as a 3P market in 2020 that third events will be capable of develop and distribute purposes on.

Additionally, we’ll be launching a brand new automation and no-code integration system permitting clients to create workflow automations based mostly on Percolate occasions and hook up with over 200+ different programs with a easy drag and drop UI. This will permit our clients to attach extra of their ecosystem to content material and campaigns.

We consider various ecosystem of supply programs, CRM/CDP, content material intelligence instruments and content material creation will stay a difficulty for entrepreneurs to create visibility and orchestration into your complete course of. We intend for Percolate to be the hub that connects a entrepreneurs instruments all through the top to finish content material lifecycle.

In addition to the Developer Platform, in 2019 Percolate can be persevering with to spend money on areas of work administration together with collaboration with video and inventive proofing and undertaking administration performance to enhance market planning and content material manufacturing to offer the instruments to handle your complete content material and marketing marketing campaign lifecycle.

CZ: Can you present a quick overview of your pricing mannequin?

Percolate: We provide a versatile, three-tiered pricing mannequin with a volume-based low cost. The pricing mannequin is designed to scale with the client based mostly on their evolving wants.

CZ: Quick information about Percolate:

  • Year based: 2011
  • HQ: New York
  • Other places of work in: San Francisco, London, and Denver
  • Number of workers: 220
  • Number of clients: 150 distinctive enterprises, managing almost 600 subsidiaries
  • Latest funding: $32 million (March 2019)
  • Customers consists of: Bosch, Microsoft, United Airlines, Albertsons, UPS, VMWare, and BP 
  • Category: Content Marketing Platform (CMP), Marketing Resource Management (MRM)



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