After the current content marketing craze runs its course, what comes next? Here’s a look into the digital marketing crystal ball.
At the moment content marketing is the hottest thing in marketing. Social media marketing is slightly on the wane and SEO is in a state of confusion and reinvention. Today, all things marketing seem to end in content.
It’s not yet a mature discipline, and it will probably be another 12-18 months before content marketing hits its peak. How will we know? Industry consolidation and the attention of an ever-fickle marketing industry will shift to a new darling.
The landing is likely to be soft for content marketing, though. It is the best and most efficient way for organizations to meet customers. Content marketing will continue to be very dominant in B2B companies, where its implementation can transform marketing and sales teams and agency relationships, and not always comfortably.
Content co-creation with customers and customer/agency/brand dynamics will also be areas of considerable movement that will generate both creative brilliance and marketing tension over the next two years.
So once content marketing adoption and budgets start to normalize, what will be big next? Two trends loom: native distribution and customer journey analytics.
Trend One: NATIVE DISTRIBUTION
As platforms like Facebook make it harder and harder for marketers to reach fans and followers, brands and enterprises will start to appreciate the power of their existing, untapped, organic distribution networks: customers, partners and employees. They will start formalizing these networks and creating distribution infrastructure to tap into the power, reach, influence and comparatively low cost of these relationships.
These formal networks can then be used to facilitate increased proximity of the people within the networks to the company/brand, some going from follower to subscriber to community member, a few to employee or evangelist. Some social media marketing platforms will be retooled and redeployed to focus on this kind of organic reach.
To illustrate the continued importance of content, these native distribution networks will need to have content to share and talk about. This type of native network distribution will start to take a greater portion of advertising budgets as it proves its effectiveness.
Trend Two: CUSTOMER JOURNEY ANALYTICS
Digital engagement analytics will shift in focus from point-in-time and campaign-based to lifecycle digital narratives based on customer behavior, visible through digital engagement patterns, answering questions like:
- If someone follows our brand on Twitter, are they more or less likely to become an email subscriber than a Facebook fan?
- How many of our Twitter followers become email subscribers every month?
- How long are they Twitter followers before they convert to email subscribers?
- Are they more likely to be repeat customers than subscribers who opt in after a search?
- How should these metrics impact budget?
Smart brands are realizing that the marketing process is not linear or static; it is dynamic, evolving and customized by the prospect and NOT the marketer. Learning to set this flexible tracking will give businesses a competitive edge in their industry
To learn more about Customer Journey Analytics read: Tracing the Customer Journey: Lessons from Deep Linking.