MarTech Interview with Greg Sheppard, CMO at Templafy

Greg Sheppard, CMO at Templafy chats about a few top content marketing trends in this catch-up with MarTech Series:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Greg, take us through your marketing journey through the years and what inspires you about marketing today?

Although I have held a series of roles throughout my career, I have always felt that my heart was in marketing and how the success of that team can drive forward the overall growth of an organization. I made the move to CMO here at Templafy in September 2021 after successfully leading our sales team through the worst of the pandemic as CRO. By far, what inspires me most about marketing today is how technology and content are driving industry change in response to our new “digital HQ-centric” world.

Marketing is all about understanding your customer and/or audience, then translating your brand or product into a narrative that will resonate with this group. I think what we have seen over the past two years, and will continue to see, is an amazing amount of creativity from marketing teams – not only in how they leverage the ever-growing technology out there to connect with customers, but also in what narratives they create to start a conversation between their customer and their brand.

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How have you seen martech and B2B marketing trends shift in the last few years and more so, as a result of the pandemic?

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen the importance of personalization continue to grow rapidly. Customers are being bombarded with more and more products to choose from, which increasingly means that impersonal marketing materials aren’t going to cut it. Your prospects don’t want another vague email outlining your products; they want highly relevant content about how your platform solves their unique needs. As such, we’ve seen data become even more important so marketers can adequately dig into customer profiles to make both macro and micro adjustments to marketing content for better success.

We’ve also seen a huge move towards marketing automation. Tailored, personalized marketing takes more time and effort from teams, so marketing automation services have become incredibly valuable. The right marketing tech stack can enable teams to offload some of the more tedious aspects of marketing so they can focus on the smarter, more impactful work that drives results.

A few thoughts on the key areas of focus you feel will be a priority for marketers in B2B through 2022? And also, what you think newer marketing teams of younger teams and startups should be doing to make way through the noise?

In 2022, I think we’re going to see successful marketing teams be the ones that adequately enable the rest of their organization to utilize the content they create. Far too often, we see marketing teams creating amazing collateral that simply never gets used because people don’t know where to find it, or spend most of their time responding to custom content requests – even though their time would be better spent on strategic work and measurable value creation.

At Templafy, we hear anecdotally about this problem from customers all the time so we wanted to dig deeper. We recently conducted a survey of over 600 individuals working full time at enterprise-level US-based companies to determine the role content plays in brand activation, and we found that a lack of content infrastructure can have serious repercussions on business success. In fact, we found that 68% of respondents said reviewing content is the most important component of their job. But despite lengthy review processes (an average of 10 employees are involved in reviewing external-facing content), only 4% of content makes it through error-free. With 93% of respondents agreeing that even small errors can damage client trust, this should be of major concern.

There’s no more time for less-than-perfect content in 2022. Organizations need to prioritize finding the right technology tools that allow for  “connected content” – the idea of actively ensuring all content within an organization is connected to people and workflows in order to drive value. That way marketing teams can deliver the latest content to where it can’t be missed, while also enabling teams like sales or customer success to create their own high-performing content. This in turn allows  marketing teams to focus on valuable work and unlock the full potential of their team.

A key aspect to driving better marketing output lies in stronger messaging and content marketing initiatives, what are some top best practices that come to mind that have worked for you through the years that you’d like to talk about?

To be successful with messaging and content, marketing professionals must always focus on understanding their customer. Make sure you are speaking their language and creating content they will actually care about on the platforms they pay attention to.

To best do this, you have to listen to the data you have available. Pay attention to the nuances in those insights and delve into any adjustments you can make to create a stronger connection to your customer. Focus on finding and utilizing the data you have access to that showcases content performance. This will allow you to see what’s working well, what’s not, and to make the necessary changes.

Furthermore, our research found that less than half (49%) of respondents have access to a company-wide database of company-approved content. With the latest messaging and branding inaccessible or difficult to track down, employees are turning to Google of all places to find materials for their collateral: 87% of respondents said they’ve used the search engine to find a company image or logo to use in content or a presentation. Businesses must prioritize centralizing and standardizing branded content to set their marketing teams up for success.

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A few thoughts on how you feel content marketers should use certain martech tools to achieve or drive goals and output?

The past two years have allowed martech and other SaaS tools to evolve at hyperspeed. This means that marketers have ample tools at their fingertips that make connections and results easier to achieve.

Here’s my advice: don’t be afraid to test different tech to see what’s going to work best for your team. As I mentioned, connected content is key to success across marketing teams. Teams that prioritize integrating the right technology that allows content to be connected across their tech stacks, especially with a remote workforce, will come out on top.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing and martech thoughts, tips and best practices before we wrap up!

This year, we all need to keep an eye on the burgeoning Digital HQ and the focus it will bring to the role of connected content and teams within marketing. Millions of employees are now working remotely or in a hybrid environment, which brings a new focus from leaders on how to keep workforces fully connected and efficient no matter where they are working.

Within any organization, and especially in marketing, content is a driving force to success and revenue. From documents to presentations to emails to pitch decks, ensuring all employees at your organization have up-to-date and easily accessible high-performing business assets (like standardized templates, new logos, email signatures, etc.) is key to winning. When employees are served the content they need directly within the applications they already are working in, such as Microsoft Office or Google Workspace, they’re able to create on-brand, high-performing business documents faster.

This concept will be essential for 2022 as it allows employees to not only produce better work that requires fewer edits, but also execute that work faster and more accurately. This allows content to do what it does best – drive business results.

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Templafy | Investment | Insight Partners

Templafy is a content enablement platform that aligns workforces and enables employees to effortlessly create on-brand, high-performing business content faster.

Greg Sheppard is the CMO at Templafy.

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