Looking ahead, content marketers are probably wondering what changes they will need to make to ensure their assets remain effective in engaging leads, nurturing relationships, and converting sales. To explain what is to come in content marketing, let’s examine where we are currently. According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:
- 92% of marketers use content marketing
- 58% of B2B marketers and 60% of B2C marketers will increase content marketing budgets in the next 12 months
- The top 5 B2B marketing content used are social media, articles on websites, enewsletters, blogs, and in-person events
- The top 3 social media sites for B2B content marketing are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
So in the future, what trends are emerging?
Blurring of Offline and Online
Mobile devices are popping up like crazy, and there are currently more smartphones and tablets in use than there are adults in the United States. By 2017, it is expected that 87% of all Internet device sales will be smartphones and tablets. Thus, to reach the modern consumer, marketers must adjust their tactics to be mobile-friendly with responsive websites, ads, landing pages, etc.
But the boom in mobile does not mean other channels are dead or less relevant. In fact, the mobile revolution is bridging the gap between several different channels, making the customer experience more sophisticated and complex. Consumers are now hopping between various online and offline channels throughout a single sales cycle, which means marketers must have their messaging consistent on all mediums.
Furthermore, measurement of marketing activities should be thorough and capture leads and interactions on all channels before integrating the information and analyzing conversion rates and ROI. For example, call tracking should be used to collect data on the number of content-generated phone calls coming into businesses from mobile devices, and that information should be combined with other data derived from website visits and in-person interactions.
Create a Conversation
Another trend that has already started, and will continue to grow in the future, is the evolution of content marketing from sales pitches to one-on-one dialogue with key audiences. Many marketers have theorized about the impending content shock consumers will experience as the volumes of content marketing distributed on all channels continues to rise. To overcome this roadblock, content marketers paying more attention to what pieces of marketing customers are responding best to and curating similar assets. The information in these content pieces are not only the direct result of data-driven insights gathered from previous campaigns, but they are designed to engage the consumer in a conversation rather than a one-way delivery of product or service information.
In addition, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is rewarding online content that is written the way individuals speak to one another. This means marketers will be focused on the customer experience from start to finish searching for, reading, responding, sharing content when they brainstorm topics, develop content, categorize assets, and distribute on different channels.
A long-form research report, for example, may provide valuable insight, but is difficult to consume or share on a mobile device. An infographic breaking down the report’s results, however, can engage more consumers quickly and encourage them to pursue the full report or ask questions directly.
Much of content marketing will also take on different tones to attract a wider audience of consumers. This means marketers will experiment with:
- Humorous pieces
- Visual-heavy content
- Customer feature stories
- Journalistic branding
- Industry thought leadership
To achieve these and many other voices in content pieces, marketing teams will have to be part newsroom, part design team, part stand-up comedians, and part industry experts. Better start practicing!
One way marketers are tackling these trends efficiently is by making data-driven decisions on current and future campaign strategies. To do so, marketers are measuring their activity and interactions more frequently across multiple channels. See what other trends are emerging in our 2014 State of Marketing Measurement Survey report and compare your own best practices to industry benchmarks.