Above being a great communicator, fearless leader, or calculated analyst, staying ahead of the curve is one of the key things a strategic marketer does best. Neglecting to adapt leaves the door open for your competitors, and no marketer wants that.
To aid in your 2019 planning, I’ve rounded up my top three content marketing predictions that will help you build out your strategy and place your focus on the initiatives that will actually drive results.
Marketers Will Need to Justify the Content They Create
When content marketing first came to be, marketers neglected to think ahead and look at what they were actually going to do with all the content they were creating. (I must admit, there was a time when I was certainly one of those marketers.) But the trouble now is that 60-70 percent of the content that marketers are creating is sitting unused.
My prediction is not that marketers will stop creating net-new content altogether, but rather, they’ll get more strategic about leveraging the content they’ve already invested in. Smart marketers will be starting their year off with a content audit in order to evaluate what content they have and what gaps they need to fill in order to create a seamless content experience that stretches across the entire customer journey.
In many cases, we’re putting massive budgets behind content marketing initiatives, but not actually marketing with it. This one is more than a prediction, but a call-to-action—there’s way too much content out there. What are we as marketers going to do about it?
Spotify-Level Personalization Will Become the Expectation for B2B Marketers
Putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time has never been more important. Consumers spend their downtime enjoying the hyper-personalized experiences of Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon—and their expectations don’t change when they’re evaluating a purchase at work.
If a room of 1,000 people all opened up their Spotify apps, each of them would have a different “Made for You” playlist. This level of personalization isn’t out of reach for marketers—all they’re doing is simply leveraging data at scale.
In 2019, I predict that marketers will lean on content experience platforms to help them leverage intent data and serve the right content to each unique visitor at the right time. There are already marketers doing this, so anyone who doesn’t start this year is at risk of falling seriously behind the pack.
Content Experience Will Rise as a Marketing Focus
Content experience is a term that is becoming more widely used every day. At the end of 2018, peer review site G2Crowd saw the confusion stemming from the broad term “content marketing” and chose to break the category into three: content creation, content experience, and content distribution. Creation is just the first step in an organization’s investment in content. Now, marketers are placing a heavier focus on creating experiences with their content, and I expect this mindset will become even more dominant in 2019.
In 2018, Adobe finalized the acquisition of Marketo with a quote that hit on the importance of experience from Brad Rencher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Digital Experience: “The imperative for marketers across all industries is a laser focus on providing relevant, personalized, and engaging experiences.” And when it comes to content, the same applies.
It’s Time to Take Action
If you take anything away from this article, let it be that marketers are already shifting their focus to creating experiences over creating new content—and you need to get on board. Gone are the days where a “Hi [[First Name]]” email with a link to a static landing page cut it. Buyers’ expectations have evolved, and you’re going to have to give them a lot more if you want them to engage.