If you’re not familiar with LUMAscape, it maps the entire sector-based ecosystem of companies in categories like mobile and search, to name just two.
The “content marketing/native” LUMAscape is typical in its overwhelming comprehensiveness: Hundreds and hundreds of logos from companies as large, medium, and small dots across 16 categories like content creation, content curation, content, and content planning and amplification.
But clearly the content marketing/native-sector LUMAscape has value. And you can bet that venture capital firms represent a large chunk of those clicks as they seek opportunity in what has been a booming market for content investment.
Investors take it as a foregone conclusion that content is going to be this massive opportunity,” says Edward Kim, CEO of SimpleReach, which works with brands and publishers on content measurement and distribution.
For all the investor enthusiasm for content-related plays now, it is still in the very early days. “There’s a long way to go if you think about new geographies, new targets, new markets, new channels,” Kiva Kolstein, Percolate’s Vice President of Sales and Account Management, said at a panel discussion on VC investments as part of Content Marketing World last year.
Omar El-Ayat, Vice President at Crosslink Capital and an investor in Visual.ly, Scripted, and other content marketing service providers, points to the fact that content investments are still a fraction of what has gone into email marketing, social media marketing, and marketing automation.
If we are indeed only at the beginning, content chiefs can delight in the fact that investments will gravitate to the areas where we still need the most help. For brands, this is the primary upside of the VC interest in content. As Kolstein points out, VC dollars can help us more effectively unlock new channels – specifically mobile – and new global markets.
The other major opportunity is in analytics. Figuring out the metrics that matter most – in collaboration with brands – remains an enormous focus for companies of all sizes and stages. For instance, it’s what drew MK Capital to be the lead investor on SimpleReach’s July Series A. “The key to unlocking this native-advertising market will be that analytics bridge that connects deep engagement with compelling brand-sponsored content with conversion into new customers,” says Kirk Wolfe, a partner at MK.
The explosion in the market has “made it very difficult for CMOs to understand who does what,” Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder and CEO of NewsCred, said at Content Marketing World.
The upside of the fast-rising number of companies, though, is the pressure competition creates. In NewsCred’s content marketing software space alone, you have NewsCred, Percolate, Kapost, Contently, Oracle, and others fighting fiercely for brand dollars. It puts negotiating power almost completely in the hands of the brands.
Kim, SimpleReach CEO, says he isn’t building a company for today’s market needs. He is getting ready for tomorrow, as the conversation on content distribution has only recently begun to heat up. And NewsCred has deployed its investment funds to beef up R&D. Islam is quick to point to its 70-plus engineers on staff.
Islam sees this as the primary reason why brand publishers should care about companies like his raking in the dough.
“Marketing is evolving so, so quickly,” Islam says. Maybe they can read the LUMAscape for you, too.