LinkedIn Content Intelligence – The content captivating CMOs

The first in our new quarterly series revealing the content engaging key B2B audiences on LinkedIn

March 29, 2019

LinkedIn Content Intelligence – The content captivating CMOs

LinkedIn data provides a unique window on the content that engages some of the most important audiences in B2B marketing. Through it, we can track the issues setting the agenda in different sectors – and we can surface valuable insights for content marketers about the subjects most likely to capture their target audiences’ attention.

Each quarter we’ll be using this unique source of content intelligence to reveal the content shaping the thinking of a key audience. For this first edition of LinkedIn Content Intelligence, we’re looking at a select group who exert huge influence over the direction of brands, businesses and B2B buying budgets: Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs).

We’ve used anonymised LinkedIn data to track all of the posts engaged with on our platform by members in EMEA who occupy CMO roles. By analysing this data, we’ve been able to identify the Top Ten posts that CMOs took the greatest interest in during the second half of 2018. And we’ve also gone deeper to reveal the broader patterns of engagement in our Top 100 – the themes and ideas shaping marketing leaders’ thinking.

To identify the posts that are really setting the CMO agenda, we’ve used a metric called the LinkedIn Engagement Index. This is a measure of engagement by CMOs relative [MC1] to the overall LinkedIn audience. In other words, it reveals the content that CMOs are particularly interested in because [MC2] they are CMOs, and screens out posts that are more popular generally. It removes noise from the signal and shows us the issues this audience are specifically interested in.

The Top Ten pieces for CMOs on LinkedIn:

1.    How L’Oréal drives marketing effectiveness and media neutrality

The story of a new tool for the brand that measures the ROI of media investments in real time.

1.    The death of Don Draper
Is advertising’s growing dependence on algorithms bad for creativity and society? That was the argument of this feature.

3. Martin Sorrell’s New Business Plan: Cut Creative Agencies Out of the Loop Altogether
Analysis of the business model for Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital, and what it suggests about the future structure of the advertising industry.

4. Airbnb CMO hunt continues as its former top marketers unite to launch own consultancy
News that Airbnb was still hunting for a new CMO, a year after the departure of Jonathan Mildenhall.

5. Accenture's Nikki Mendonca: 'There is a lot of incompetence within the current marketing services industry'
The former President of OMD Worldwide offered a critique of the current state of advertising and media following her move to Accenture.

6. Targeted messaging is only one piece of the advertising puzzle
Ogilvy Group UK’s Vice Chairman, Rory Sutherland, argues for the importance of creativity over message delivery.

7. The most influential out of home campaigns of 2018 so far
Advertising and media experts ranked their favourite outdoor campaigns of the year.

8. Omnicom Agencies Expand Strategic Teams
More news with implications for the future of the advertising industry model.

9. Ad firms among House of Fraser creditors: Google owed £1.3m, 18ft & Rising £90k, Merkle £184k
Story revealing the advertising, media and tech businesses in danger of losing money due to the retail brand entering administration.

10. Martin Sorrell Has A Startling Business Plan For His Agency: Disintermediating His Old Firm
Another take on Sir Martin’s next moves – and what it might say about marketers’ changing demand for advertising agencies.

What gets CMOs clicking? The key themes:
What broader content themes help to explain which posts made it into our Top Ten? To find the answer, we analysed the most significant topics among the Top 100 posts for CMO engagement. Here are the key issues that emerged from that analysis:

Digital soul-searching: Personalisation and AI tools impress – but there are concerns too
CMOs are under pressure to translate new digital technologies into bottom-line growth, and hunting out content that can provide inspiration. It’s a trend that drove the news story about L’Oréal’s new marketing ROI tool to the top of our ranking – and that piece is far from alone. CMOs are interested both in who controls consumer data (with Google, Amazon and Netflix of particular interest), and how best to use that data to drive growth (the subject of a popular post by McKinsey on customer experience and personalisation at scale).

However, there’s another side to CMOs interest in digital innovation. They are alive to the risk of digital media and metrics undermining creativity and branding, which is why opinion pieces like The Death of Don Draper and Targeted messaging is only one piece of the advertising puzzle both feature in our Top Ten.

Peering at peers: CMOs are hungry for news about other CMOs
Our Top Ten feature on Airbnb’s ongoing hunt for a new CMO is no outlier. The most senior marketers in EMEA actively hunt out news on one another, with nine of the top 100 posts in our ranking featuring the term ‘CMO’ in their title. It’s an indication of a small but close-knit community that face particular issues in evolving the role of marketing and meeting C-suite demands around business strategy and more meaningful metrics. Other frequently clicked-on posts included the ‘CMO Next’ ranking of up and coming chief marketers, an interview with myTaxi CMO Gary Bramall and news of Uber’s first CMO appointment.

Who’s winning? Rankings come out top
Like most audiences, CMOs can’t resist a compelling list of who’s better, who’s best and who’s outperforming whom (which we suppose, puts this post right on trend). The most influential OOH campaigns drove the most engagement of these rankings – but it had close competition from a further seven in our Top 100, including Generation Z’s favourite brands, a brand relevance index for the UK, the best social media tools for marketers and the top women under 30 working in digital in the UK.

Agency 2020: They keep a close eye on their closest suppliers
Why did Sir Martin Sorrell make our Top Ten twice? In part because he’s a marketing industry celebrity, perhaps because of the dramatic circumstances in which he left WPP, but most importantly, because his new venture represents a challenge to the traditional agency model. And that’s something that CMOs are consistently interested in. Content exploring how advertising and media are evolving draws a lot of chief marketers’ attention. That’s the real interest behind Nikki Mendonca’s take on the shortcomings of Marketing Services (also in our Top Ten) and Omnicom’s move to prioritise strategy. In a time of disruption, CMOs are alive to new ways of working, new ways of delivering campaigns – and new potential suppliers.

Brushing up on marketing theory: the fundamentals still matter
It’s not just marketing and advertising news that engages. CMOs make time to engage with the fundamentals of their discipline as well. Marketing Week’s star columnist Mark Ritson discussing the role of brand perception and legendary industry researcher Les Binet warning that digital marketing is putting too much emphasis on sales both made our Top 30.

Crypto-curiosity: Blockchain looks like the next big thing
None of them made it into our Top Ten – but the prevalence of posts around cryptocurrency and blockchain in our Top 100 shows the impact that CMOs expect this technology to have. In all, 11 of our Top 100 featured at least one of these two terms in the title. Together they explored new developments like The European Parliament greenlighting cryptocurrency as an alternative to money, whether Starbucks will accept it, and how blockchain can be used to solve real-world problems. The most popular of these posts, though, showed that CMO’s greatest need is for more understanding. Top books about blockchain and cryptocurrency ranked 34 in our list.

CMOs remain creative fans
In amid the advertising industry disruption and new tech, it’s worth remembering that CMOs are also big fans of creativity in marketing and advertising. It’s not just that two of our top ten posts specifically argue for the value of brands and creative advertising. From praise for Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign to criticism of Burberry’s new logo, to the story of Kodak leveraging its brand heritage, CMOs stay attuned to the creative zeitgeist – and they are always on the look-out for inspiration.

Where is CMOs’ attention going next?
CMOs’ attention is far from static. Looking at the fastest-growing topics in terms of engagement helps to highlight the issues elbowing their way towards the top of the marketing agenda.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Start-up Strategies both have a prominent place on this list. With AI, CMOs are actively seeking insight on where the technology is headed, and how to start integrating it into their strategy. They respond to in-depth analysis from the likes of Harvard Business Review, real-world applications of AI by pioneers such as Alibaba, and new announcements that could expand the range of what AI is capable of.

A similar need to stay informed about potentially disruptive technology helps to explain CMOs’ growing fascination with start-ups. However, there’s also a keen interest in the stories of entrepreneurs themselves – and an appetite for local success stories that leads CMOs to click on lists of the hottest startups in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Istanbul. Staying informed about rapidly growing businesses is a way of keeping on top of new technologies – but it might also be a means of prospecting for your next CMO opportunity.