Content marketing – are you bullish or bearish?

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When Seth Godin claimed in 2008 “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left”, marketers sat up and took notice but very few embraced it wholeheartedly. Fast forward a few years later and content marketing represents the new wave of content creation and communication for many companies in 2013.

Increase in the number of brands utilizing content marketing techniques
This trend is marked by an increased confidence in marketers and widespread adoption of content marketing tactics by big brands. Cisco, for example, has completely transformed their marketing function by transfusing content marketing in it. The B2B giant has recognized that push messages and intrusive marketing are largely irrelevant in creating awareness or increasing reach in capturing their customers’ attention in today’s world. So instead, they provide their target audience with treasure troves of valuable content devoid of sales pitches and sometimes even mentions of the company itself. For instance, their much talked about web documentary series, “The Network Effect,” focuses on entertaining stories about 12 young entrepreneurs who built the network and the impact it has on economic growth. Although the documentary is sponsored by Cisco itself, there is no mention of the company anywhere till the last few seconds before the conclusion of the videos. The whole idea is to showcase to their target market their passion for network technology via these videos.

Another example of a B2B company
Spends for Content Marketing Increasing Year-on-Year leveraging content marketing techniques is VMware. VMware’s content marketing extends beyond customers to include partners – by focusing on specific sales enablement content marketing strategies. They provide an exclusive Mobile knowledge portal as an itunes app which gives valuable content in the form of white-papers, installation videos and more. As more and more B2B companies adopt content marketing practices, it definitely points to an upward trend.

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the average amount of marketing budget spent on B2B content marketing initiatives is 33% up from 26% in 2011. The study also found that the B2B marketers who were most effective were the ones who incidentally also spent a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing. Being effective would mean attaining the overall objective of a content marketing plan. To explain this further, we take the example of Xerox, which devised a content strategy to increase visibility and to drive sales and attained it brilliantly with a targeted campaign called “Get Optimistic” to connect with 30 top accounts and also partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips to its target audience. The result was : 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, they added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and yielded a phenomenal $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue!

Bullish or Bearish? Definitely Bullish.
As consumers’ preference shifts towards a more content-centric less salesy communication, coupled with an increase in investment in content marketing, we predict a bullish trend for this form of marketing. As any trader will be quick to point out that bullish or bearish, it doesn’t matter which direction the prices move, as long as you ride the wave and make profits accordingly. Similarly, a smart marketer would capitalize on this upward trend in content marketing practice and strike while the iron is hot.

What are your predictions for the future of content marketing? Do you think this bullish trend will persist? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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