Major Content Marketing Trends for 2015 Live

By Leah Betancourt

Hello 2015. Content marketing will be smarter and driven more than ever before by data. AOLPlatforms predicts a "rise of the data-driven creative" in 2015 and that brand advertisers will see their "programmatic investments pay" off. "Forty-nine percent of buyers and sellers say the ability to target and track consumers through programmatic technology is leading to new forms of creativity and storytelling in advertising", according to AOL Platforms.

Find out how the ScribbleLive platform can help you plan, create, distribute, and optimize your campaigns.

Here is our list of top marketing trends for 2015.

1. Data will drive marketing more than ever before. U.S. programmatic digital display ad spending is projected to hit $14.88 billion or 55 percent of total digital display ad spending, which is up from $10.06 billion and 45 percent in 2014.  “2014 has proven a pivotal year, and with the majority of infrastructure now laid and testing well in progress, we’ll see programmatic ad spending explode from 2015 into 2016,” said eMarketer Analyst Lauren Fisher, according to eMarketer.

That means smarter marketing through data. Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft Corp., said data visualization is no longer limited to just a few in an organization; machine learning is becoming accessible to small and mid-sized businesses, which is a recipe for a data driven, innovative, growth hacker culture -- and the future of marketing.

"Predictive marketing is a way to leverage data in a way that adds value and positive impact to your end users like never before," he said. Predictive marketing is going to have major impact in the next five to 10 years in these five areas, according to Marcoux:

  • Automate optimization processes

  • Lead generation and content

  • Taking customer loyalty to a whole new level

  • Predicting campaign success before they ever launch

  • Predictive personalization

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2. Understanding the audience continues to be key. Beyond data and analytics, understanding prospects and your customers will continue to be critical in aligning your company's products and services with their needs.

MarketingLand suggests mapping out customers' empathy and asking key questions to pinpoint your target audience. Documenting a content marketing plan is as important as the planning itself. Eighty-three percent of marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 35 percent have documented it, according to the Content Marketing Institute's report “B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America”.

"The act of documenting your content marketing strategy is absolutely critical. In fact … those who document their content marketing strategy are far more effective than those with a verbal strategy -- or no strategy at all. In short, you need a plan if you want to be successful,” said Michele Linn, Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute.

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3. Connecting with people still matters. Data are not conversation starters, ice breakers or hand shakers. Research is important for planning and strategizing, but it doesn’t replace human interaction for learning about and engaging with people.

“For marketers to make 2015 the year of true digital transformation, the first focus has be on Customer 101, emphasizing personalized interactions. Real-time, online, and in-person focus on clients will foster customer loyalty and a better return on marketing investment. CMOs need to ensure that their marketing teams purposefully synchronize traditional and all digital and social marketing efforts,” Matt Preschern, CMO, HCL Technologies, told in its report “Will 2015 Be The Year Of Digital Transformation? Marketing Leaders Predict”.

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4. Working across departments is a must with content marketing efforts. Breaking down silos and having demand gen, social, content, and PR working together seamlessly is critical because the content person is creating content that is used in demand gen programs, Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn told Engage Magazine earlier in 2014. When they work together, according to Miller, demand gen discovers which content is working based on how sophisticated their marketing automation system and reporting metrics are, and where it is in the funnel. The demand gen group can ask the content team for more of the type of content that performs well. Then more relevant content based on hard metrics -- what’s working, what’s driving revenue and what’s shortening the cycle.

"Moving into 2015, if you are serious about content marketing and social media then you are going to need to dedicate budget and headcount. The next step is to align those folks with your demand gen and PR functions. The idea here is that content fuels social, demand gen and even PR to some extent, and unless you have those teams aligned and working together cross-functionally, you will likely not see the success you are looking for," Miller said.

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5. SEO in 2015: Think big picture, not just links and keywords. Search and content marketing aren't necessarily interchangeable, but they work together. SEO makes up the technical parts of online marketing, is a subset of content marketing, and content marketing itself drives search rankings, according to Forbes.

“People are searching for information many times -- way before they are searching to transact, way before they decide to make their purchase, they’re researching or they’re thinking about something and they’re looking that up,” Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin told Engage Magazine. "Search is an incredible opportunity to be in front of people through … the entire life cycle of a purchase. Search is also tremendously powerful, of course, because it’s so actionable in nature. Someone is telling them exactly what they want and when they want it, and they can be in front of them right at that time versus other form of content promotion."

Resources to navigate this marketing trend:

How To Measure SEO Results In 2015 - Rand Fishkin Moz
by theseomethod via YouTube

6. Advertising itself is changing quicker than ever and agencies must adapt too. The definition of an ad is changing rapidly, and the agency functions are changing drastically along with them, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The business of advertising is no longer just about creating an ad and buying the media space to run it. Now, agencies are being asked to engage consumers in new ways that are less intrusive than traditional advertising. Ad agencies have to know how to make 'content' of all kinds, whether that means ads that work on social media, ads that are 'native' and can look similar to editorial content or ads that function as a mobile app," according to The Wall Street Journal’s blog post “Five Issues Facing Madison Avenue in 2015”.

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7. Live events raise visibility and content engagement opportunities.  Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer of Heidi Cohen's Actionable Marketing Guide and President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, predicts that live events will become increasingly important for all kinds of businesses in 2015. After all, it’s face-to-face networking and relationship building. Furthermore, the digital impact of those live events can increase visibility for the event, raise awareness and growth around the event itself. This can be accomplished with real-time content engagement during the event itself. See ScribbleLive's infographic for steps on event planning.

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8. Mobile will become more engaging. eMarketer predicts mobile search will reach its tipping point in 2015, when most organic traffic and paid clicks on smartphones and tablets will surpass desktop/laptop search activity. Location and engagement will likely play big roles in branded mobile consumer experiences.

Those experiences will be personalized and geotargeted. "2015 will be the year that our smartphones will actually be smart, understanding and connecting context and data between apps to create unique, personalized experiences that delight," Charlene Li, CEO and Founder of the Altimeter Group told Marketing Land.

"In 2015, we are finally going to see the maturation of location-based data. For the last two+ years, we have seen an upsurge in the discussion about the availability and usage of consumer data in a highly localized way, but in many respects it has just been discussion," said Chuck Hemann, Manager, Analytics Digital Marketing & Media, Intel to Marketing Land.

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