Written by Vibhu Gairola

Content marketing may only have achieved buzzword status in the past five years, but Jen Evans, co-founder and CMO of SqueezeCMM, has long known its worth.

In 2008 she began bootstrapping to create a new kind of content performance platform, and by 2013 found herself pitching to companies like HP and ADP.

“We thought we were so on the nose with the market,” says Evans. “But we were 4-5 years early.”

Today, the company’s real-time dashboard has evolved into a popular product that offers clients critical info on content performance across platforms.

“Once we get them on the platform, it’s amazing how immediate the value is,” says Evans, who estimates the service’s renewal rate at approximately 96 per cent.

Evans credits the AI and fintech space with turning Toronto into an epicentre for startups and innovation, spinning off a new generation of entrepreneurs aiming to disrupt their industries. Often they’re following trails of hard-to-manage data to find these areas sorely in need of innovation. As a result, the marketing tech space has finally caught up to Evans’ vision, and she no longer has to evangelize her product or its implicit worth.

“I can’t tell you how many successful businesses have evolved over the years solving problems companies are using Excel to address right now,” she says.

Evans and her team found their niche with clients who want actionable data on how their content performs across different media. She notes that the overall importance of content to brand leadership, increased adoption of social channels, and the rise of influencer marketing all contribute to a situation where many analytics need to be consulted separately. That means new martech products may require a watertight focus moving forward or risk being lost in the crowd.

Many in the field forecast hybrid AI-marketing products that could leapfrog an entire generation of tools. The notion is exciting, but championing new tech isn’t always an easy sell, Evans cautions.

She harkens back to some timeless advice: “You can always start to expand once you start to dominate what you focused on.

“Make sure there is a problem to solve, and then talk to the people who are actually having these problems so you can tailor your response to them.”

Photo Credit: Rebecca Tisdelle