2015 Content Marketing Predictions: The Accountable Marketer

As we approach the end of the year, B2B marketers (and lots of other folks) are rolling out predictions for 2015. Much like the past few years, we are seeing a lot of talk about the increased use of analytics in marketing, and a trend toward holding marketers accountable for bottom-line results.

Backbone Media Predictions

Predictions_Shel Holtz

CMI Expert Predictions for Content Marketing 2015

Marketers need to become more analytical. More and more marketers need to go back to Excel 101 and Testing 101. They need to refine their ability to look at data, extract what matters and “pivot table” it. They need to be able to say, “When I talk about topic ABC on my blog, it generates three times the traffic and two times the leads.” This is not a natural step for marketers—especially those who have been marketers for a long while.
Expert Predictions for Content Marketing 2015

Kirsten KnippMarketing Director, Hubspot

Obviously there is an ever-increasing focus on measurement and monitoring, to ensure that we are tying results back to our business objectives (and more specifically, revenue). I hope that this will help us get away from producing crappy “click-bait” that might drive short-term traffic and eyeballs but doesn’t result in any revenue.
Expert Predictions for Content Marketing 2015

April DunfordVP Marketing, Huawei Enterprise

Analytics undeniably provide a deep level of insight into the impact of marketing efforts. As is often the case with any new technology, we are seeing a tendency to disregard older methods and rely on analytics as the end-all, be-all in measuring success.

But that begs the question: how were marketers held accountable before the advent of advanced analytics? What lessons can we preserve from a bygone era, and how do we reconcile those lessons with our new level of analytical insight and impulse to measure everything?

Let’s go way back in time and borrow Brian Honigman’s old-school benchmarks of content marketing success from the B2C world:

 

1. Create demand

Jello“…When Jell-O was first invented no one was quite sure what to do with it. After the patent for its sale and manufacture was passed around to multiple ambitious entrepreneurs it finally ended up in the hands of a high-school dropout named Francis Woodward… He believed consumers would love Jell-O once they understood the product. The problem was most home cooks at the time did not understand what they were supposed to do with pre-packaged flavored gelatin, and without customer demand stores wouldn’t stock the Jell-O. To remedy the situation Woodward printed tens of thousands of pamphlets full of recipes showcasing Jell-O’s culinary versatility… After blanketing the town with these pamphlets, the salesmen would go to all the stores in town and inform the owners that they were about to get a bunch of customers coming in asking for Jell-O and that they would be wise to buy it now.

The audacious advertising plan worked and Jell-O ended up becoming one of the first and most iconic packaged desserts.”

 

2. Add value

Radio_Collection-_Vintage_Large_Wood_Westinghouse_Tombstone_Radio,_Circa_1930s_(8617610296)“During WWI, the technology for wireless communication advanced rapidly and the ancestors of the modern home radio were born.

However, in the years after the war, the technology still had little appeal beyond the scientist or the hobbyist… The technology was there, and the potential demand was considerable; it was just a question of content. Although radio had not broken into the mainstream, a small community of amateur broadcasters began to spring up. One of these amateur broadcasters was an employee of the radio manufacturer Westinghouse named Frank Conrad. After becoming familiar with the technology during wartime manufacturing he started broadcasting on a small network to Pittsburgh hobbyists.

One local department store noticed they could capitalize on this growing group of hobbyists and started advertising a $10 radio kit to listen to Conrad’s broadcasts. Conrad’s supervisor, Westinghouse VP Harry Davis purportedly saw the advertisement and realized the potential benefit of mainstream radio adoption for his business. He instantly told Conrad to build a stronger antenna and establish a local network using funding from Westinghouse.”

The new network named KDKA became the first commercial broadcast network and almost instantly thrust radio into the mainstream…

What Harry Davis realized was he could use content creation to increase the value of his existing product without changing it at all. Investing in the content attracted customers because it provided value, but the only way of accessing this value was to purchase a radio.”

 

3. Be authentic

Chex_Quest“In 1996 Chex decided instead of stuffing its box with a cheap plastic toy they would include an entire Chex-themed video game in the box. General Mills estimated the real retail value of the game at $35 – making it the most valuable offering ever included in a cereal box by a wide margin.

…What was intended to be a three-month promotion flew off retailer shelves in half that time. Chex Quest also led to a 295% increase in incremental sales and a 42% spike in share price.

Perhaps the biggest testament to the campaign’s success though is the fact that the game still maintains a cult following to this day. Yes, a six-week cereal promotion from nearly twenty years ago still has rabid fans… the lesson from Chex Quest is that content marketing gives you the unique ability to engage consumers in a far more authentic way than you ever could through traditional advertising…Chex’s content marketing deepened the relationships they already had with their customers.”

 

In 2015, when analytics are more important to marketers than ever, it’s important to remember the basics. Analytics should shape the framework of your marketing activities (e.g. what types of content does your audience engage with? On what channels? How does the conversion rate of tactic A compare to tactic B? etc.). But when it comes to content creation, marketers need to step away from the numbers for a moment, take a breath, and ask themselves, “Does this content create demand? Does it add value? Is it authentic?” Stick to this old school checklist, and we predict you’ll see a big impact in your numbers.