Content marketing has resulted in a market flooded with digital marketing articles, research and white papers. If you are like me, you see a fair number of self-serving white papers that have great titles, but in reality are thinly veiled product/service promotions.

When I come across great content, I like to share it. I share it with our clients, our potential clients and my industry colleagues. Below is a list of the best content I have seen in the last quarter.

The conversation about each of our customer experiences is what brings a good study to life and makes it valuable. You agree, disagree and walk away with deeper knowledge. Ideally, knowledge that is actionable.

These conversations are the root of innovation. We are always researching, exploring and looking for the next big thing.

Check out these 5 white papers and let me know what you think.

1. Learn how to shrink or eliminate the consideration and evaluation phase
McKinsey & Company — Competing on Customer Journeys, October 2015
This article is spot on with its advice for taking control of the consumer’s decision journey. We have seen these strategies in action. The report, written by David Edelman and Marc Singer, stresses that a company needs to possess four interconnected abilities if it wants to take back control over the consumer buying process. The article focuses on the customer lifecycle and the importance of automation, proactive personalization, contextual interaction and journey innovation.

2. Create better Millennial personas
CDK Global — Millennial Car Shoppers, September 2015
As marketers we all know that THE most important aspect of any solution is a rock-solid understanding of your customer that is well grounded in data. This special report by market research analyst, Tess Karesky, dispels the myths that Generation Y, or the millennials, do not want to own cars. (Never believed that one.) In fact, they spend far more time online researching their vehicle purchases than other consumers. Our user feedback validates Karesky’s insights when it comes to the dealer websites. She does a good job of sharing how to reach this critically important target audience.

3. How do you get a handle on the overwhelming amount of customer data?
Adobe — Smart Moves for Data-Driven Marketing, 2015
Big data, little data, CMOs are swimming data. They are also saddled with legacy systems and disparate data sources that prevent them from developing a 360-degree view of the ideal customer. Adobe explains how to mine the data in 3 steps and stresses the importance of focusing on the individual.

4. Learn how to identify trade-cycle disruption opportunities
AutoAlert — Shorten the Trade Cycle to Sell More Vehicles, September 2015
This white paper is chock full of stats. While the study sample is small, 400 vehicle owners, the premise resonated as the findings are verified in some of our own lease-end solutions. This article has information that finance people can use to increase loyalty and satisfaction. While the paper focuses on automotive, the insights translate to other loan products as well, such as adjustable rate mortgages, as well.

5. Brick and mortar companies are expanding online
Marketo — The Definitive Guide to Mobile Marketing, 2015
Lofty title aside, with 150+ pages of content, this guide does provide a deep dive into the world of mobile marketing. Unlike most mobile marketing white papers, Marketo’s guide goes far beyond why mobile marketing and responsive design are important. It gets into cross-channel marketing with information on SMS, MMS and apps. Any company that is deciding which channels to leverage, especially apps and websites, should read this one. It provides good mobile marketing informaton for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B), or in our case, the B2B2C programs. The focus on strategy, especially KPIs, is on point.

There has been a refreshing switch in trending topics for digital marketing. No longer are headlines focused on how the sales funnel is dead or how to navigate the Internet’s Wild West. The conversation is changing.

It is time to change the boardroom discussions as well and talk about taking control of the customer journey. These articles are great resources to help you jump-start those discussions.

Do you like the content I shared in this list? Share it and spark some ideas.