Michael Brenner, SAP's VP marketing and content strategy, has joined content-marketing startup NewsCred as head of strategy.
In his new role, Mr. Brenner will help brands develop content-marketing strategies and advise them on how to use NewsCred's technology to execute their plans.
"I am leaving one amazing company and joining another with the goal of helping more brands create content that customers actually want, to engage with new potential buyers, to build trust and to forge new relationships," said Mr. Brenner in a blog post.
Mr. Brenner spent nearly seven years at SAP, holding three different positions, ultimately rising to VP in March 2013. By moving to NewsCred, where he started this week, he is essentially betting his career on the staying power of content marketing and the company, which has raised $45 million since its founding in 2008.
NewsCred is a content marketing workflow system with access to a large library of licensed content. The company also has a newsroom of over 500 freelancers, which it claims to have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars since the newsroom launched in October 2013.
"The majority [of marketing leaders] think that content marketing might be a fad, or content marketing is something we've always done," Mr. Brenner said in an interview. "I think it's going going to radically transform the way that we do marketing."
Mr. Brenner pointed to the rise of social media as one reason. He said social has given consumers the ability to tune out promotion, meaning that brands will have to give them something they want to engage with to stay relevant. "It's not advertising. It's storytelling and human connection and being funny," he said of content marketing. "All of those things are enabled by social media."
A booming business
The content-marketing business is clearly booming: 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing and 73% say they are producing more content than they did a year ago, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
But with that increased investment comes a need to produce better work. "There's not a lot of brands telling great stories," Mr. Brenner said. "At SAP we weren't alone in needing to make the evolution and I think every brand is at some stage on the journey."
Still, he said, CMOs understand the marketing world is evolving and are seeking those with knowledge of that change for advice.
Content marketing plays a critical role for b-to-b marketers, especially those relying on marketing-automation systems. CMOs, Mr. Brenner said, "are realizing that content marketing is the fuel that lights the fire."