Last year eMarketer predicted a 15 percent rise in content marketing, while the Content Marketing Institute reported that nine out of ten companies now market with content, and that companies with fewer than 10 employees allocate more than 40 percent of their marketing budget to content.
Social Media B2B provided an infographic reporting that businesses using blogs increased lead generation by 67 percent.
Last years hopes for B2B content marketing were high, but how have these hopes been reflected in this year’s trends?
New Media is King
Resources relevant to the audience are still the greatest contributors to B2B content marketing success, with engaging content and compelling calls to action close behind. What’s changed over the last year is the efficacy of white papers and press releases, which have plummeted in popularity and been usurped by more interactive content.
With smartphones now in the hands of half of the population, the emphasis is on easy-to-digest content like short videos, engaging images and small, shareable pieces of text and calls to action.
Facebook Users Rise, But…
The number of marketers using Facebook is declining. The new Facebook Hashtag function may be an attempt to retrieve some of the B2B audience lost to Twitter, but YouTube and LinkedIn have stolen the limelight. According to statistics from Holger Schulze, YouTube’s B2B content marketing popularity has risen by 20 per cent over the last year. This is likely due to the increase in smartphones and the demand for easy-to-digest content.
The Demand for Cross-Device Penetration
Your audience is highly mobile, regardless of demographics. People move, and as they move they switch between devices. Demand is high not just for mobile websites, but also for sites that will display easily across a range of devices. With mobility comes speed, and the increase in interactive content is reflected in the phenomenon of the media as the message. Even if you create a blog post you have to say everything in the first two sentences, and those sentences have to shareable on any device.
Old Data is the New Big Data
According to research from Gartner, one of the biggest B2B content marketing trends of 2013 is that many businesses now have ample data but don’t know how to use it. The need for tabulation and interpretation of data may explain a reported 30 percent rise in VoIP technology, which enables businesses to track all text, voice and even image data through one system. Traffic from mobile, smartphone, PC, tablet and any other device can be easily amalgamated, delivering usable data that can used to determine key performances indicators.
According to Social Media B2B, the use of automation platforms has increased by 43 per cent since last year, while Search Engine Land reports a 160 percent growth in revenue generated between 2011 and 2012. Marketing automation continues to expand, with the $600 million acquisition of Neoplane by Adobe a prime example of the big fish chasing a golden opportunity.
The Return of Direct Mail
While some clamor that digital marketing is reaching saturation, others claim that traditional marketing is dead. According to Oracle, an emergent 2013 trend is the strategic use of traditional and digital media in conjunction. Direct mail may even make a return.
Innovation is still…Innovative
We conclude with an enduring trend: innovation. Most of the above trends point to interactive content that spans multiple devices and can be implemented through content management systems. How you harness this is a case of spotting opportunities as they arise and responding with the requisite expertise.