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Jackie Kahle
Vice President of Research and Content Marketing, CA Technologies

In the latest chapter of her extensive career in enterprise technology marketing with companies like Digital Equipment Corp., HP, Gartner and CA, Jackie Kahle took over a new position as Head of Research within the content marketing team for CA to build CA's commitment to thought leadership and content in recognition of its critical role in today’s B2B marketplace. 

In the latest chapter of her extensive career in enterprise technology marketing with companies like Digital Equipment Corp., HP, Gartner and CA, Jackie Kahle took over a new position as Head of Research within the content marketing team for CA about two years ago. The enterprise software leader has steadily increased its commitment to thought leadership and content in recognition of its critical role in today’s B2B marketplace. In her role, Kahle oversees major survey-based research and the creation of a wide range of content products that reach the marketplace through numerous digital channels, including CA’s own thought leadership portal, Rewrite.CA.com. In addition, CA’s content marketing team acts as a best-practice leader, helping the rest of marketing stay ahead of the curve in this quickly evolving discipline.

How have your investments in content changed in the past couple of years and why? 

We have become a lot more strategic in our content investments. We are very focused on aligning content to the buyer’s journey and making sure it is speaking to the issues and challenges our customers are facing. The second area of emphasis is integrating our content across the company so that we can connect the dots and draw what we call a plumb line that goes from the top-level thought leadership content on industry trends all the way down to what services and solutions CA can provide that address those trends. This helps to ensure we are always telling a consistent, integrated story.

How does content fit into your overall marketing strategy, messaging and plan?

It’s critical. As content continued to grow in importance, we elected to create a corporate content marketing team whose responsibility is to be a center of excellence for content creation and distribution and to provide examples and best practices that all marketing teams—field marketing, product marketing, communications, etc.—in the company could leverage. This team also provides cross-company thought leadership content that is focused on enhancing overall brand value and ensuring our strategic messages are being consistently reinforced across everything we do. For instance, over the past two years, CA has been focused on issues around the app economy, digital disruption, digital transformation and the critical role that software plays in every company’s strategy, so our content strategy has been completely aligned with that and amplified across the company.

How are you measuring the performance of your content investments?

It is really multi-dimensional, but for the content we develop at a corporate level, we look fundamentally at three areas. The first is overall awareness and determining whether we are enhancing brand equity, improving share of voice, and showing up in the places and social conversations our customers are participating in. Also, we look at whether we are engaging our audience by reviewing how much time they spend with our content and what actions they are taking as a result. Events are also a key way in which our content helps drive overall awareness and engagement, whether it is at company-sponsored events like our annual CA World or major industry events such as the recent World Economic Forum, where we premiered a new documentary produced with The Economist Intelligence Unit called Crystal Balls: the Future of the App Economy.

The next is lead and demand generation. We have a nurture process that takes the initial top-of-funnel registrations generated by our thought leadership content and develops them into well-qualified leads that our sales teams and partners can act on, so we can track all of that. Last is sales enablement. We want to provide tools that our sales executives can use to open new doors in their accounts and engage in conversation with potential clients that speak to the issues they and their industry are concerned with.

How do you ensure the relevance, quality and freshness of the content that is being developed?

Making sure that our content is relevant to current issues on the minds of our clients and prospects is critical. Every year, CA sponsors several primary research projects with established researchers, such as Oxford Economics, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Harvard Business Review Research Services and others. These surveys are around topics such as digital disruption, digital transformation, agile development, mobility, new approaches to security in the app economy and many others. We use these annual research studies to create intriguing, thought-provoking content that we know will resonate with our audience.

We’ve also been very focused on ensuring we have a near-continuous content engine that is always refreshing our websites with fresh, timely articles, blog posts, visual content, videos and so forth that speak to current, up-to-the-minute issues. This helps keep our content fresh and ensure our consumers want to check back with us regularly.

How do you set your thought leadership and content agenda?

It really is both a top-down and bottom-up process. The surveys I mentioned certainly help inform our editorial agenda. At the same time, we work with our senior executives and other leaders who are close to our customers and the major market and technology trends. Our fiscal year begins in April, so that’s when we kick off our research and content marketing campaigns. We start thinking about next year’s agenda in November. We rely heavily on input from executives such as our Chief Technology Officer, Otto Berkes, our Chief Products Officer, Ayman Sayed, and others. We also look to the heads of our business units to bubble up topics and issues in their areas, as well as our senior sales leaders. We combine all of that together, and in January, we start developing our agenda.

The agenda is also informed by our overall brand strategy. A year ago in September, our CMO, Lauren Flaherty, led the company in the launch of a new brand campaign around the app economy and how every successful company today has to be a software company. It’s a powerful brand story for us, and it’s also a thought leadership topic that has grown to encompass other themes like digital transformation and digital disruption.

What types and formats of content are delivering the greatest value to your company and why?

In the last year or two, we’ve seen several major trends. First, attention spans are very short; people do not have a lot of time to digest long pieces, so shorter pieces like quick infographics or videos perform very well, but they also lead people to want to download longer pieces of gated content. Related to this is the need to be a lot more graphical and engaging in our content. We have experimented with interactive approaches that have resulted in people spending more time with our content because they are being engaged in an interesting way. A great example is an interactive piece we produced in conjunction with the New York Times, which you can view at APIs: The Building Blocks of the App Economy. Lastly, there is a huge interest in anything that shows how industry leaders are actually addressing digital disruption and transforming their company or industry, so short case studies, customer-focused articles and videos also perform very well.

What channels of distribution and engagement are you utilizing beyond your own site and why?

A year ago, in conjunction with Wired, CA launched a premier thought leadership website and content hub called Rewrite. It is designed to provide current, thought-provoking content that will attract people who are likely to have never visited CA’s main site before. Since its launch, Rewrite has been averaging approximately 35,000 unique monthly visitors (almost all of whom had never previously visited www.ca.com), and the site was recently awarded the top honor of Best in Class in two categories in the 2015 InterActive Media awards. You can take a look at http://rewrite.ca.com.

Today, Rewrite focuses on editorial and thought-leadership content in areas such as the app economy, business transformation, agile development, APIs, DevOps, security and other IT topics, and we will soon be expanding its focus to explore key vertical industries as well.

Other than Rewrite, we have also been having good success with channels such as SlideShare and YouTube because they tend to be sites that attract many of our buyers, as well as social sites like LinkedIn and even Facebook. We make sure that all of our content is designed to be leveraged across all of these social channels. Lastly, in order to provide more direct engagement, in the past we have conducted regular Twitter chats and used Google Hangouts, and more recently, we started experimenting with Blab to connect some of our experts and thought leaders with our customers and prospects.

“"We are very focused on aligning content to the buyer’s journey and making sure it is speaking to the issues and challenges our customers are facing."”