Interview with Hana Abaza, VP of Marketing at Uberflip

8/6/2015
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Uberflip is a content marketing platform that allows its users to aggregate marketing content into a well-designed, easy-to-update content hub. We interviewed Uberflip’s VP of Marketing to talk about the company’s positioning, differentiation, and perspective on content marketing trends.




What are the core capabilities of content marketing software?

When we take a look at the space in general, there’s the broader content marketing cycle. First, there’s content creation, ideation, authoring. Then there’s the creation of the content experience – how is it presented to audiences? Is it responsive and optimized for lead generation, or whatever your goals might be? There’s also content distribution, and then there’s the ROI metrics component, which runs through the entire cycle.

With bigger organizations there’s also the issue of content marketing operations, especially if they are creating a lot of content. They need to coordinate content with many different stakeholders. Most content marketing software falls into one or more of those buckets.


Are there all-in-one products, or do most products focus in on a part of the content marketing cycle?

That’s a very loaded question. A lot of content marketing software overlaps. While you do have solutions that claim to be all-in-one, I have yet to find someone who uses only one solution for all of their content.

The content marketing space is actually quite fragmented, and this extends to the marketing technology space in general. Industries tend to go through ebbs and flows where they become very consolidated and aggregated—hence the Oracle days when everything was pushed into one big platform, same thing with IBM—and then things become more fragmented when big solutions can no longer fulfill their promises. People end up using a system of marketing software made of different solutions that can meet their needs.

Right now we need to be focused on creating an integrated system of tools, and as marketers, we have to make sure all these tools are really working together to optimize our goals.


What part of the cycle does Uberflip address?

We focus on creating, managing, and optimizing the content experience in order to give better insight to the marketing team.

Uberflip lets marketers aggregate their content—be it blogs, ebooks, videos, social media content, etc.—into what we call a content Hub. That Hub can then be seamlessly integrated into a broader website. You can use it to power your resource center, for example, or you can set up a content library. Uberflip gives you control over updating that front-end experience, so that you’re organizing content in a way that is not only visually appealing and compelling to the audience, but that is optimized to boost lead generation.

We also provide the tools necessary to actually generate those leads. Unfortunately most marketers these days are at the mercy of the IT department to create and optimize the content experience. If you have to wait months for the developer to change a button on your blog, that’s a really big problem. Uberflip gives you the ability to add calls to action, fill-out forms, all of that kind of stuff. Now you’re not at the mercy of your developers every time you want to restructure a resource center or add new content or create a new item or change the menus. You can do that all within Uberflip.

In the spirit of making sure it fits with your broader marketing ecosystem, we also integrate with marketing automation tools. Content can’t be looked at in a silo, it has to work with the entire system. For example, as a content marketer you also need to think about lead nurturing. So everything we do at Uberflip integrates with Marketo, Eloqua, Act-On, HubSpot, all those guys.


What is the benefit of integrating Uberflip with a marketing automation tool?

If visitors are consuming content in Uberflip they’re filling out calls-to-action and forms in Uberflip, and all of that data gets linked directly to your marketing automation tool. You can use it to automatically trigger your workloads, your campaigns. You’ve bridged the gap between content and demand generation. The process is simplified; you don’t have to throw up a landing page every time you want to gate content. You can do that right within Uberflip. And anytime we can help speed up that process, we also help speed up sales and help accelerate the lead qualification process. It’s all trickling down from that improvement.


This sounds similar to a value proposition we’ve been hearing from web content management systems, and sometimes from A/B testing vendors. Do you compete with CMSs as well?

Uberflip is starting to become a next-generation CMS, but it’s still specifically for content marketers. WordPress and Drupal are great for your website, but what marketer wants to manage their contacts in Drupal? I’m going to bet that most of them don’t.

So in a sense, it could potentially compete a little bit with your CMS. But when you take a look at the space, most content management systems aren’t built for marketers, and aren’t necessarily built for B2B content marketers. B2B content marketers, at this stage, need a more sophisticated way to optimize the content experience, and to make sure that they’re able to generate leads. That’s our sweet spot.

If you want to continue to use WordPress you can do that, and Uberflip integrates with it. We’re more about managing the assets, and then if you want to use us as your CMS, by all means go ahead.


You mentioned B2B marketers—what does Uberflip’s customer base look like?

Predominately B2B. We definitely have some B2C customers, too, but I think we’re seeing the most traction with B2B because Uberflip works so well within the B2B marketing stack. It really enables teams who are using marketing automation to be able to move a lot faster, and to generate better results overall.


Where is your focus in terms of company size and industry?

Customer industries tend to run the gamut. We have a lot of technology companies, but we’ve also got financial, health care, insurance, etc. In terms of company size, we’re aimed at the mid-market to enterprise level. Most of the companies we have coming onboard at Uberflip are 10 million+ revenue all the way up to a couple billion in revenue. Some of our customers, for example Schneider Electric, are probably more than a couple billion in revenue. We do have some on the smaller end.

It’s really more about whether the content marketing team is ready for this type of tool. When you take a look at our smaller customers, they’re still pretty savvy on content marketing—it’s probably core to their overall marketing strategy. We’re targeting people who are using marketing automation; they’ve already bought into content marketing. In some cases they have too much content that’s gotten disorganized. There are a lot of different ways it can be leveraged within an organization, but the primary use case that we see is helping the content team create a compelling experience that’s actually driving results, generating leads, and giving them insight into what’s working and what’s not working. This is something to help them improve the content experience, and also help them improve their internal processes.


Does Uberflip address the distribution or promotion of content on other channels?

We don’t. We’re the experience or management side of it. We make sure the content is as engaging as possible, and that it has all the mechanisms for distribution. We can optimize it for distribution—for example, when you create a Hub you can create all of your share buttons.

We do have integrations. We have a Hootsuite integration, so you can schedule something from within the Uberflip application. But we don’t handle the distribution side of it ourselves.


What about personalization—is this something you address, either through integrations or natively?

Yes. One of our goals is to help you tailor the experience as much as possible. Right now, we give users tailored content on a macro level, so, for example, based on segments of my user base. You can also do A/B testing or change your headlines depending on where the traffic source is coming from. We do that through an integration with Optimizely. We’ve also integrated with BrightInfo, which can push recommended content throughout the Hub. This aspect of the Uberflip platform is continuing to develop. We’re looking at doing more with personalization, and working to automate it.


What are some of the other trends you’re seeing in content marketing, and how do they affect your product development strategy?

The other trend I’m seeing is better insight into how content is performing. We’ve been talking about content metrics for a couple of years, but just now it’s getting mainstream. Tracking is really important, and I think applying the idea of closed loop reporting to the content side of marketing is going to be more important moving forward. Not only because people need to know if their stuff is working for them, but because marketers in general are become more accountable than they ever were before. A recent report from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketingsoft found that only 21% of content marketers can successfully measure their performance, which is a huge indicator that a lot of people are falling behind the times.


How do you address the problem of accountability?

Within Uberflip you have access to both at-a-glance metrics and deeper metrics, so you can dig into more granular data. The content score shows you which pieces of content are performing best, based on six parameters—page views, leads generated, social, etc.—depending on your goals. That gives you a quick look. A week or two after you’ve published your content, if you see that it’s generating a lot of leads and converting really well for you, then you can turn up the page promotion. Or, if it’s not converting well, you might turn down the page promotion. This helps you form your content strategy. Then you can drill down into a specific piece of content to see how the CTA, links and forms to subscribe, or downloads are performing relative to that content. This kind of granular data, which you can’t get from anywhere else, helps you develop a CTA strategy. It also ties into the integration with your marketing automation tool, because the more data you have about how people are consuming your content, the better you can segment your database and the better you can qualify your leads.

So we address accountability with three layers: content score at a glance, Uberflip metrics for a deeper dive, and the integration with marketing automation tools.


What are some of the most common integrations you see among your customers?

Hands down, it’s the marketing automation integrations: Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Act-On, Pardot, and MailChimp.

Outside of marketing automation, some of the most popular integrations are simple things, like AddThis, for example, so you can get social media metrics quickly and easily. Another simple and useful one is Disqus, if you want to add commenting.

We can keep our own platform very clean and very fluid, since people can already use the tools they have in play with their workflow.


What are Uberflip’s plans for integration development?

For our existing integrations with marketing automation, I see us going even deeper. Right now we pass contact data over and we pass behavioral data over. But we’re asking ourselves, how can we make the demand gen team and the marketing team and the content team’s life easier? What other insights can we uncover? That will be a big push for us moving forward.

Down the road we’re look at integrations on the optimization side of things.  Potentially, we’ll develop integrations with tools that handle the marketing operations side of things, for customers who manage big teams.

It’s hard to speculate, because we’re still thinking about what to develop ourselves and where we’ll integrate with partners. The focus, though, is on making our existing integrations even better than they are now.


Where are content marketers headed next?

The shift towards content is in full swing, it’s already happened. If you’re not on board by now, you’ve already missed the boat and you need to go there. I think we will continue to see content becoming a bigger piece of most marketing strategies. We’ll see people not only creating content, but also paying to get that content distributed, which a lot of marketers don’t necessarily think about right now because it’s so noisy. You really have to be cognizant of how you slice and dice the broader audience. You have to find interesting and clever ways to get your content in front of them. Yes, it all starts with creating ridiculously good content. That’s the foundation, but the reality is that creating great content is not enough now.

Too many people think, “I’ve got to create a really good ebook, and then I’m done.” Most marketers focus on creating the content, but they don’t think about optimizing the experience. If you’re not smart about how you deliver the content—both the experience and the distribution—you’re sacrificing leads, subscribers, and conversion rates. Those are the weakest links for most people.  You have to be able to optimize the content, to optimize your distribution strategy, and make sure you’re considering all of the pieces of the content cycle.

Megan Headley - Research Director at TrustRadius
Megan champions research at TrustRadius. Her mission is to ensure we gather the highest quality data from authenticated reviewers, and provide useful curated reports for prospective software buyers. Prior to joining TrustRadius, Megan was Director of Sales and Marketing at a media company. She holds MA degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas.