2014 content marketing trends: what's changed since january -- and where are we headed next?
DESCRIPTIONAt the start of the year, we wrote about 14 content marketing must-dos for 2014 (see presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/LImarketingsolutions/14-mustdos-for-content-marketers-in-2014) Now, halfway into the year, we wanted to revisit these imperatives and take a mid-year pulse on marketers’ performance -- are these key areas being sufficiently addressed by marketers? Have some must-dos already become table stakes, while others have been slower to become a priority? Take a look to learn more about which areas have seen notable improvements so far -- and which areas may present unaddressed opportunities. Learn more about how to take advantage of content marketing opportunities on LinkedIn: http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions?src=s-ss&trk=CMTrends2014
What’s changed since January, and where are we headed next?
Content Marketing Trends of 2014:
Proving the Value of Content Content Marketing 2014 Trend #1:
What’s changed since then: According to the Content Marketing Institute, effectiveness is on the rise: 42 percent of B2B marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36 percent last year. Marketers are gaining insight that influences the types of content they produce, with infographics seeing the largest year-over-year increase in usage from 38% to 51%. Among the most effective B2B content marketers, 80% cite lead generation as a goal, compared with 64% of their least effective counterparts. Given this, it’s also no surprise thatthe number of marketers measuring new leads has increased by 15% year-over-year.
What we recommended in January 2014: Noting that content marketing platforms will offer full integration with customer databases and CRMs, we encouraged marketers at the start of 2014 to identify which types of content are funneling visitors to converting pages through the use of site analytics.
Tapping into the Power of Story Content Marketing 2014 Trend #2:
What’s changed since then: As more marketers partake in social listening, they’re finding great value -- and even strategic insight -- in the stories they hear from their customers. Take 3M, for example: after identifying a large DIY-enthusiast segment of its consumers through social listening back in 2012, the company shifted messaging away from function and even launched a new line to appeal to the creativity of its DIY consumers. Taking these efforts a step further, 3M recently created an online portal, 3MDIY, as a content-first community hub for its audience. The company has since seen a 50% increase in the amount of time consumers spend on its site, as well as a 20% increase in time spent on pages of the site.
What we recommended in January 2014: Emphasizing the importance of compelling content to tell a company’s story, we pushed marketers to embrace the impact of storytelling -- particularly through the customer lens.
Integrating Lead Gen Efforts with Content Marketing Campaigns
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #3:
What’s changed since then: While it’s too soon to see a definitive outcome from marketers’ improved integration of their efforts this year, it remains clear that this is an important work in progress. When it comes to integrating data in particular, 89 percent of marketers agree that it’s important to see marketing data from all their disparate sources in a single dashboard, and 66 percent even say they would consume more marketing data if they could see it all in one place. Despite this aligned vision, only 19 percent of marketers report that they can actually see all their marketing data in a single dashboard, emphasizing the opportunity for many marketers to build a better (and more data-driven) approach to integrating their efforts.
What we recommended in January 2014: As highlighted by the importance of storytelling, a cohesive brand narrative is key – and like we noted in January, it’s a critical year for marketers to break down siloes in their organizations in order to build an integrated approach to reaching their audiences.
Recognizing that Small is Beautiful
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #4:
What’s changed since then: As marketers continue to experiment with new ways of driving toward conversions through short-form content, consumers aren’t slowing down on creating their own: in every minute of the day, Vine users share 8,333 videos, while Pinterest users pin 3,472 images and Instagram users post 216,000 new photos. Marketers, take note: Ipsos reports that user-generated content is 20 percent more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35 percent more memorable than other types of media.
What we recommended in January 2014: The most effective content doesn’t require volumes to have an impact – nor should it. We suggested that marketers test short-form content early in 2014, especially using it as a lead-in for branded content that aims for conversion.
The Personalization of Content Content Marketing 2014 Trend #5:
What’s changed since then: Fewer than one in four marketers (22%) say they are using personalization/dynamic content so far in 2014, according to a recent study by ifbyphone. However, Adobe reports that 33 percent of marketers have identified personalization as the area that will be most important to their company’s marketing moving forward. Given that 72% of marketers cite ‘too much content’ as a challenge that makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd, it’s clear that more marketers would benefit from adopting a personalized approach to content.
What we recommended in January 2014: Without context, content can lose a lot of meaning. With that in mind, we highlighted a growing need to understand your audience in order to create more personalized (and measurable) content marketing.
Acting on Insights with Real-time Content
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #6:
What’s changed since then: As expected, marketers are increasing their adoption of new measurement tools this year, and they’re getting more backing from leadership. Alongside a budget increase for 45% of marketers, many cited an increased demand from leadership teams for more frequent reporting of marketing metrics – making it no surprise that budget increases are likely to support measurement efforts, such as the 30 percent who have increased their budgetary commitment to web analytics and mobile measurement in 2014.
What we recommended in January 2014: With a new wave of capabilities also come challenges when it comes to successful integration. Whether adopting a new analytics platform or improving your targeting, we stressed the importance of cross-departmental buy-in – and many marketers seem to be taking note.
Customer-Centric is the New Social-Centric
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #7:
What’s changed since then: With marketing executives reporting their top two priorities for 2014 as acquiring new customers and increasing customer retention, respectively, it’s safe to say this may be the year of the customer. In addition to end goals of acquisition and retention, marketers are increasingly seeing the value of customer insight when it comes to informing strategy. Forrester recently described how The Clorox Company used social listening and “recursive analysis” to determine where flu outbreaks were occurring. This tactic allowed Clorox to continuously adapt its cleaning products and regional marketing campaigns – and the company even attributes improved sales of these products to a 17 percent increase in quarterly earnings.
What we recommended in January 2014: Citing increased customer expectations as a key driver, we shed light on the new ‘role of the customer’ and how customers are now influencing strategy, product development, service, and sales. Have marketers embraced the customer-centric theme of 2014?
Empowering Employees to Contribute Content
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #8:
What’s changed since then: Research from SocialChorus shows that your employees can actually reach an audience 10 times larger than what your brand is reaching – in fact, Dell recently found only an eight percent overlap between the company’s Twitter followers and those of its employees. Throw in the fact that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement of content on branded channels, and it’s no surprise companies like Dell are tapping into the power of their own internal network.
What we recommended in January 2014: If anyone knows your business, it’s your employees, so we encouraged marketers to get the most out of their in-house expertise this year by inspiring employees to contribute both content and feedback.
Embracing Entertaining Content Content Marketing 2014 Trend #9:
What’s changed since then: In a recent example, many marketers used the World Cup as an opportunity to grab the attention of consumers through relevant and entertaining content. The IAB reports that fans were nearly twice as likely to value the entertainment creative of an ad, compared to the relevancy of the product advertised.
What we recommended in January 2014: With so much content available today, there’s a challenge to attract initial attention amongst audiences. Much like our suggestion to use short-form content as a lead-in to longer branded content in 2014, we recommended that marketers embrace entertaining content that grabs consumers’ attention and gains their interest.
Personalizing Event Marketing & Accurately Measuring Success
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #10:
What’s changed since then: This year, almost one third of marketers will invest in CRM solutions that can track in-person interactions. However, we know that data integration remains a challenge for many marketers, often due to organizational siloes, and this can prevent a holistic understanding of event audiences and their potential needs. Remember, it’s just as important to understand your participants before an event as it is to measure their behavior afterward – especially when considering the impact a live event can have if targeted correctly. According to recent research, attending a branded live experience on average drives 65 percent of participants to recommend that brand, and 68 percent to search for additional information about the brand online.
What we recommended in January 2014: Along the recurring theme of making marketing efforts more targeted and consequently more measurable, we observed a trend of increasingly personalized content for attendees at events. By knowing the needs of participants, event marketers can target their efforts toward specific goals and more easily measure the value of such engagements.
Becoming a Social Business Content Marketing 2014 Trend #11:
What’s changed since then: Many marketers are still challenged by finding their target audience online – three in four marketing executives admit this is a major or moderate challenge to them in 2014.
Nonetheless, marketers are working hard to align their long-term strategies to key areas of opportunity, including the adoption of audience targeting (now used by more than 8 in 10 advertisers and 9 in 10 agencies).
What we recommended in January 2014: Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer Pam Moore said it best: “becoming a social business is a journey, not a destination.” We implored marketers to complete their social media worksheet to identify areas of opportunity -- first and foremost making sure they know their audiences’ goals and preferred channels.
Compelling Your Customers to Spread the Word
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #12:
What’s changed since then: According to Forrester, 30 percent of US online adults share content from companies on social networking sites at least weekly or monthly. With 92 percent of consumers saying they trust brand advocates (compared to 18 percent who trust influencers), marketers who have not yet identified their customer advocates miss an opportunity to engage through these valuable loyalists.
What we recommended in January 2014: Citing an imperative to activate potential brand advocates through social media, our advice to marketers in January was to first identify existing advocates by digging into your channels.
Rising Importance of Video in an Increasingly Mobile World
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #13:
What’s changed since then: As consumers’ mobile use continues to climb, so too does the percent of digital video ad dollars going toward mobile -- from 1.5 percent in 2013 up to 2.8 percent in 2014, with projections of 4.2 percent in 2015, according to eMarketer. In fact, total digital video ad spending on mobile is set to increase by a substantial 119 percent in 2014. Video is also proving effective for marketers: as of May 2014, 55 percent rated videos as a ‘very effective’ social media post type.
What we recommended in January 2014: Noting that video will play an increasingly important role in content marketing, we encouraged marketers to experiment with both long and short-form videos to increase brand awareness.
Understanding the Role of Influence
Content Marketing 2014 Trend #14:
What’s changed since then: As with several other must-dos, marketers have increased their measurement efforts to continuously improve upon content initiatives. Over the past year, the percent of marketing executives who use metrics quantifying increases in awareness, brand perception and purchase intent has doubled, pointing to an increasing emphasis on measurement aligned to the buying cycle. Marketers are also showing a significant desire to understand their customers’ path to purchase, as well as the impact of each specific medium they use – close to eight in 10 now cite these as important factors in measuring campaigns.
What we recommended in January 2014: Without context, content can lose much of its power. With this in mind, we highlighted the importance of mapping existing content to stages of the buying cycle and making adjustments to ensure alignment to key points of influence.
For more on content marketing trends, visit lnkd.in/cmtrends
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