We have several items this week from or about marketing technology companies that point to some interesting gaps in what those tools can do. It looks like automation doesn’t automatically yield big results, much like what we saw in our last news digest.

The takeaway? I’m biased, of course, but I think this week’s news reinforces the need for skilled hands-on content strategy and planning. Alignment between business business goals, marketing methods and the actual everyday work habits of the sales team isn’t plug-and-play.

Honored more in the breach

Content is a key part of the sales process, and it helps most when sales and content professionals take their time and collaborate, according to a survey by martech SaaS company Qvidian.

Easier said than done, though. Only 17% of those surveyed say it is sales reps can locate relevant content when they need it. They believe content is a crucial part of sales but admitted they were not reviewing it sufficiently.

B2B marketing technology sitting unused

Meanwhile, many B2B marketers do not believe marketing technology significantly improves performance, according to a report from demand gen research firm Ascend2. (Reported in eMarketer.)

The research shows B2B marketers value the technology itself but doubt their leadership’s ability to properly integrate it. Few of those surveyed were using the martech they have access to, and even fewer felt they were using it effectively. Since marketing budgets are increasing, this seems due to logistical obstacles or bad planning.

Content is a key factor in ecommerce, but . . .

Around half of respondents in a survey from content automation company Zmags think content is the most critical factor in gaining consumer attention, but 40 percent don’t feel they have enough time to create what they need. They surveyed blue chip retailers and found:

  • 22% need stronger technical skills and knowledge.
  • 15% lack the right tools or technology.

More enthusiasm for big data

Marketers do have a positive attitude toward big data, IoT and cloud-based data warehouse technologies, according to a survey by cloud management vendor 2ndwatch.

Approximately half of the study respondents are likely to expand big data to support digital marketing. They say data-based digital marketing campaigns have been effective and they plan on expanding IoT-based digital marketing programs.

Another acquisition in martech

In any case, the martech sector is heating up. Oracle is acquiring marketing automation company Maxymiser in an effort to compete more effectively with Salesforce and Adobe, according to an article from Fortune.

Proof that views are a pointless metric

Ad agency Solve spent $1,400 successfully promoting a YouTube video with absolutely nothing on it, reports Adweek. The blank 4-minute video garnered more than 100,000 views, demonstrating Solve’s point: vanity metrics like views are not a valid measure of engagement and successful content.

The campaign was billed only if visitors “watched” 30 seconds or more, which a remarkable 46 percent did, and 22 percent ran it all the way to the end. Presumably no one was actually “watching” but the videos were just playing in the background after being started by accident.

Related reading: End the Analysis Paralysis: Content Marketing Metrics and Tools You Can Use Today

The value of notcom

Don’t overestimate the value of grabbing a .com for your website. Usage of other domain suffixes by tech startups has increased significantly, according to a report from CB Insights. They analyzed new tech businesses in recent years and found that .net, .co, .io and country specific TLDs are on the rise.

FYI, we looked earlier at Google’s own memo on how it will handle these lesser-known TLDs in search results.

Pew dives deep on social media users

Pinterest and Instagram users have doubled since 2012 while growth on LinkedIn and Twitter has slowed, according to telephone surveys by Pew research. More women than men use both Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook and Instagram users are the most engaged on a daily basis.

On every platform, the mobile apps are where all the action is, most of all for younger users.

Joseph Rauch contributed research and writing to this article.