The Content4Demand team meets in person several times a year to assess trends in B2B content marketing and identify how we can improve our portfolio of services in response. The most recent discussion surfaced many trends, but these three are the ones having the biggest impact: 1. The need for a renewed focus on the buyer: The content marketing universe now has a plethora of apps, formats, platforms and planks, so there are lots of questions to ask and decisions to make. Is content curation more important than content amplification? Are white papers still relevant? At what stage in the buy cycle does video work best? Do I have to have highly detailed personas? With the expanding choices and accompanying questions, we’ve identified a need to stay sharply focused on buyers, letting their needs and behaviors guide decision-making from strategic planning to content creation. If any content marketing effort does not start with the buyer, then it’s not going to be successful. 2. A growing demand for content-strategy consulting: When the invention of marketing automation software birthed the content marketing industry, pioneering IT companies were all at the same starting line. Now, a wider variety of organizations use content marketing, and more join the charge every day. While content creation is still a huge part of what we do, more of our clients need help with content strategy, either because they are just beginning or they’ve built up content libraries and now need help assessing what content remains useful, what should be expired, what can be repurposed and how to fill content gaps. In response we’ve refined our processes for persona development and buyer assessments; content library audits; content mapping and gap analysis based on buyer knowledge; and ideation for filling gaps. 3. More noise in the vendor marketplace: Digital marketing and advertising agencies are all “doing content” now, but many of them aren’t offering complete content services or have just put a new name on an existing service. This can be confusing for marketers, so we are emphasizing our sole focus on B2B content marketing and our inherent knowledge of demand and lead generation, and marketing automation technology. After all, our parent company launched Content4Demand based on requests from readers of our online publication Demand Gen Report, a leader in covering the marketing automation industry. We expect these three trends to have a big impact on what we do in 2015 and how we do it. Our clients are changing, and we’re changing to better serve their needs. Tonya Vinas is Senior Editor at Content4Demand.
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