I recently asked several marketing professionals in my network the following question:

Is there a brand that you would consider an innovator or leader when it comes to their content marketing?

The growth of Content Marketing keeps growing and with growth comes the need to differentiate and innovate in order to garner attention through the noise. Dozens of case studies, polls, statistics and white papers prove that Content Marketing drives engagement, trust and conversions. Some of the brands that popped up frequently as I surveyed these marketing professionals were: Hubspot, UPS, American Express, Salesforce, GE, IBM, LinkedIn.  All the brands that the marketing professionals mentioned below share one thing in common. The brands are able to illicit an emotional connection, provide relevancy and have an overall “WOW Factor” that make their content marketing pop and stand out from the masses. Brands that are able to be innovative and creative with their content marketing will have a higher probability of success with their campaigns. The various brands mentioned by the 27 marketing professionals below are sharing and producing the most innovative content…but what exactly is innovative content?

MarketingProfs, Anne Handley puts it:

“The best content has elements of all three; or, said more simply: Useful x Inspiration x Empathy = Innovative Content.”

P.S: Thank you all the all awesome folks that helped me with this informal survey! You input was valuable and much appreciated. 🙂

Question:

Which B2B Brands Have the Most Innovative Content Marketing?

Danny Schreiber, Zapier

Danny Schreiber, Marketer at Zapier

Danny Schreiber, Marketer at Zapier
Xero, Wistia, Flywheel (awesome videos) –
Help Scout, Intercom, Groove and in the marketing industry I think Unbounce is doing a great job of content marketing.

Lisa Cawley Ruiz Digital Media & Communications Supervisor Kaufman

Lisa Cawley Ruiz, Digital Media & Communications Supervisor at Kaufman, Rossin & Co.

Lisa Cawley Ruiz, Digital Media & Communications Supervisor at Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
American Express’ OPEN Forum: Business blog and online community for entrepreneurs is a robust B2B content marketing initiative. GE does some pretty cool and innovative stuff with data visualization. IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative has had a global reach. UPS is reaching small businesses through a targeted ad campaign, video case studies that show success stories of their customers, and UPS CONNECT which offers insights, advice and support for entrepreneurs. And as far as companies in the marketing industry go, Salesforce does a great job with videos about their products, news, events and more. Like Marketo, Salesforce has built a real user community, that is active and visible both online and in-person at their annual conferences and other events. Moz has informative blogs, educational videos, white papers and other great resources that are available for free. HubSpot also has multiple blogs and case studies that demonstrate the value of their product.

Brendan Cournoyer, Director of Content Marketing at Brainshark

Brendan Cournoyer, Director of Content Marketing at Brainshark

Brendan Cournoyer, Director of Content Marketing at Brainshark
I think ExactTarget does a great job with their web and content strategies, for example, and there are smaller companies like Lattice Engines and UberFlip that do some pretty cool things. As for other B2Bs, there are a lot of tech companies that do a great job with content. I know that SAP has a pretty impressive blog with a lot of activity – they definitely invest quite a bit in thought leadership. IBM, Intel etc. are also pointed to as large companies that invest quite a bit in content, though I don’t follow too closely. Also, while not strictly B2B, I’ve found insurance companies tend to do have some really great content marketing strategies. AllState and Farmers jump out as 2 that create a steady stream of creative content to educate and inform.

Scott Linabarger, Senior Director of Multichannel Content Marketing at Cleveland Clinic

Scott Linabarger, Senior Director of Multichannel Content Marketing at Cleveland Clinic

Scott Linabarger, Senior Director of Multichannel Content Marketing at Cleveland Clinic
We love Atomic Reach and Chartbeat, each for different reasons. Atomic Reach has helped us improve the quality of our writing, while Chartbeat helps us make decisions about what to write about and promote on social media and also gives us a sense of the correct velocity of posting. Plus, it just satisfies my insatiable need to just know what’s going on.

Dan Hutson Be Group

Dan Hutson, VP of Communications & Marketing at be.group

Dan Hutson, Vice President of Communications & Marketing at be.group
I like Maersk and GE and in the marketing sector, Hubspot and the Content Marketing Institute.

Ellen Sirull, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Experian Consumer Services

Ellen Sirull, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Experian Consumer Services

Ellen Sirull, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Experian Consumer Services
I would say Intuit does a great job with B2B content. Although they cover several areas, I’ve been impressed most specifically their work with small businesses. Their blog and campaign to have a small business win a Super Bowl spot (Small Business, Big Game) was very engaging and got lots of exposure.

CarolL300

Carol Lustig, CEO Word of Mouth Marketing & Productions

Carol Lustig, CEO, Word of Mouth Marketing & Productions
UPS does deliver on its promise of providing valuable content and useful information for the B2B space as well as for entrepreneurs.

Jay Thomas Marketing Manager at SourceAmerica

Jay Thomas, Marketing Manager at SourceAmerica

Jay M. Thomas, Marketing Manager at SourceAmerica
Years ago I recall firms like Blackbaud doing a good job of posting content that hit many of the modern term’s touch points, before it was known as such.

 

Samantha McDuffee, Director of Marketing at TeamBonding

Samantha McDuffee, Director of Marketing at TeamBonding

Samantha McDuffee, Director of Marketing at TeamBonding
The top ones that come to mind right now: OfficeVibe (on site content and guest posting like crazy + brought back infographics), 99u (although, I’m not sure that they actually had a product), Big Ass Fans (social all the way), Black Cat Rescue (again, dominating social for a small org) – full disclosure, I’m on the board, The Boston Calendar came out of nowhere this year (UI is definitely their strength), Fab.com was on the forefront, but not sure what took the wind out of their sails, DoSomething.org (really knows how to make content feel like part of something bigger), Fashionably Geek (I want to buy all the things and I don’t know what most of them even are), The Welcoming Committee (they know how to build a tribe like no other).

Kerry (Scott) O'Leary Marketing Director eschoolview

Kerry O’Leary, Marketing Director at eSchoolView

Kerry O’Leary, Marketing Director at eSchoolView
Hubspot!

Dean_Nicolls

Dean Nicolls, VP of, Demand Acquisition at Infrascale

Dean Nicolls, VP of Demand Acquisition at Infrascale
I think Hubspot and Box.com do an excellent job. They have awesome white papers, great videos, and a really engaging tone that makes you want to learn more. There content is all about educating their users/prospects.

Sheryl (Gatto) Cattell Marketing Professional

Sheryl Cattell, Senior Director of Marketing at Cross Country Home Services

Sheryl Cattell, Senior Director of Marketing at Cross Country Home Services
Salesforce does a great job.

Kelly J Waffle Market Bridge

Kelly J. Waffle, VP of Strategic Solutions Group at MarketBridge

Kelly J. Waffle, Vice President of Strategic Solutions Group at MarketBridge
Who I think are showing innovation around content marketing would be: ADP, Dell, Humana, GE, Sungard and Xerox.

Andrea Contres, Marketing Manager at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Andrea Contres, Marketing Manager at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Andrea Contres, Marketing Manager at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
The companies that initially come to mind are Marketo, Eloqua, Target, PwC, Deloitte and LinkedIn.

Cheryl Wiegert Content Strategy Manager Lowe's Home Improvement

Cheryl Wiegert, Content Strategy Manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement

Cheryl Wiegert, Content Strategy Manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement
There are lots of companies doing great work but I’d have to say LinkedIn has done a great job with Pulse, Influencer network, etc. You can argue if they’re truly B2B but the work is solid either way.

Fernando Larez Director of Marketing at VUE Software

Fernando Larez, Director of Marketing at VUE Software

Fernando Larez, Director of Marketing at VUE Software
In our space, IBM and Xuber. Their stuff is intense.

Amaury Blondet, Managing Director idea939

Amaury Blondet, Managing Director at idea939

Amaury Blondet, Managing Director idea939
Zendesk, American Express & Oracle

Brian Breslin Refresh Miami Founder

Brian Breslin, Founder of Refresh Miami

Brian Breslin, Founder of Refresh Miami
Kissmetrics does great content marketing. asmartbear.com is great, but its indirect, he is doing it as his personal stuff.

Jill Rowley Social Selling Evangelist

Jill Rowley Social Selling Evangelist

Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist at JillRowley.com
Hubspot!! I think GE is doing a really good job as well.

Mic Adam, Social Media Policy Creator at Vanguard Leadership

Mic Adam, Social Media Policy Creator at Vanguard Leadership

Mic Adam, Social Media Policy Creator at Vanguard Leadership
Splunk are in the software industry but with operational intelligence and business analytics.

Chelsea Duran, Social Media Marketing Manager at Vintage Wine Estates

Chelsea Duran, Social Media Marketing Manager at Vintage Wine Estates

Chelsea Duran, Social Media Marketing Manager at Vintage Wine Estates
The best ones I can think of are in the marketing world. Two brands that come to mind are Hubspot and Hootsuite. They deliver quality content that I can use on a regular basis.

Maritza Lizama Direct Response & Digital Marketing Strategist | Brand & Content Champion

Maritza Lizama, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist of LiMón, LLC

Maritza Lizama, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist of LiMón, LLC
Segue Technologies comes to mind. They’ve taken content marketing and incorporated into their business. Have seen incredible growth.

Scott Hauck Channel Marketing - Investments & Life Insurance; Mountain America Credit Union

Scott Hauck, Channel Marketing Manager at Mountain America Credit Union

Scott Hauck, Channel Marketing Manager at Mountain America Credit Union
Some that come to mind are Galco, American Home Shield and FedEx.

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Question:

WHICH B2C BRANDS HAVE THE MOST INNOVATIVE CONTENT MARKETING?

Martin Jones Social Media & Content Marketing - Cox Communications

Martin Jones, Social Media & Content Marketing at Cox Communications

Martin Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Cox Communications
Two that I particularly like are Red Bull and Taco Bell. Both go well outside of their core products to engage, delight and build relationships with potential consumers. They’re not afraid to experiment and meet consumers on their own “turf”.

Jason Jue, CMO at Triblio

Jason Jue, CMO at Triblio

Jason Jue, CMO at Triblio
Coca Cola. I’m not sure they are the best, but anything Coke does make leader headlines in the marketing world.

Lauren Basinger, Senior Marketing Manager at Office Depot

Lauren Basinger, Senior Marketing Manager at Office Depot

Lauren Basinger, Senior Marketing Manager at Office Depot
I think the following brands/retailers are best-in-class as it relates to social, in-store and interactive marketing (not in any particular order):Target, Coke, Samsung, L’Oreal, REI, Nike

Shane Barker VP of Digital Marketing at Kamere

Shane Barker, VP of Digital Marketing at Kamere

Shane Barker, VP of Digital Marketing at Kamere
Locally, California State University, Sacramento is doing a great job. They have great content and are building strong communities through engagement.

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Which brand do you think has the most innovative content marketing?

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