The maturation of content marketing: What’s next?

The maturation of content marketing: What’s next? Rachael Power writes for TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.

It’s no secret content marketing is ‘growing up’. Simply waiting for a piece of your own-hosted brand content to go viral isn’t an option anymore, and with the myriad of tools available right now in addition to 77% of companies willing to increase spend in this area, there’s no reason not to innovate.

And a new report from Oracle and Econsultancy, The Future of Content Marketing explores exactly that: what marketers can do to help their brand content fully mature.

It’s clear from the report that the key to the future of content marketing is data that’s looked at intelligently by an organisation to fuel personalisation, bolstered by automation.

There are multiple channels to help marketers do this, more so than ever, from chat apps to chat bots to cross-channel campaigns – which appears to be the sweet spot for brands to get their content noticed.

Value is key

Ultimately though, the content needs to provide relevant value for a consumer, and even better if your content marketing ties into a cause or project your target audience is close to – such as Shell’s Power of Sport campaign.

The main tools that will enable marketers to do these things will be programmatic TV, native advertising and even the internet of things, the report says.

According to Andrea Ward, vice president of marketing at Oracle: “All marketing depends on content but with automation and digital engagement increasing, marketing touches across such a wide variety of engagement channels such as web, mobile, email and social, marketing activities are more dependant on a steady flow of the right content for the right prospect of customer.

“Each communication needs to provide something of value to the recipient, and increasingly the value is contained in the content itself.”

Content should be owned by everyone

In addition, content shouldn’t be owned by any one particular section of a business – certainly not just by some poor woebegotten copywriter sitting in a corner with a copy of the brand’s guidelines, the report says.

The non-ownership of content within a business is a good, the report adds, as it’s then got an opportunity to grow and evolve. This doesn’t always help content marketing strategies, but Oracle and Econsultancy did outline some elements that makes it effective as a good starting point, which are ensuring it is:

  • Multichannel: The best campaigns feed off each other and encourage dialogue
  • Multidiscipline: In many cases content is not the product of a single department
  • Intelligent: Winning content campaigns encourage sharing and interaction which creates a trackable, measurable data trail to help customers move along purchase and advocacy journeys
  • Authentic: Messaging that adds value to customers’ shared interests is a huge draw for brands

Importantly, the report notes that brands can no longer think of content as just a generated asset which gets pushed into the ether, only for the marketing department to then focus on another piece. Customers take content, talk about it and share it, and this needs to be an integral part of the content marketing mix.

Personalisation needs to get smarter

But personalisation only exists with the help of automated technology, the report says. The use of bots, artificial intelligence, predictive personalisation and management of content across multiple territories with specialist help is also central to delivering a seamless content marketing experience for customers. And content should be viewed by marketers as a good market research tool and not only a “data pipe for personalisation”.

One area where marketers fall down occasionally is measuring the conversion rate of a piece of content marketing. This shouldn’t be any different to other outputs, such as ads, the report argues.

KPIs, the report says, should include uniques, geography, mobile readership, bounce rates, heatmaps, page-views, comments and social sharing and sales/conversion.

But while tracking and measuring content and conversion, marketers will also need to become less controlling in other aspects and be more ‘authentic’ with outputs as somewhat unpredictable content types such as live video are becoming more prevalent.

What you can do 

Actionable insights from the report when it comes managing and creating content marketing incIude:

  • Understand data and your appetite for data
  • Don’t just personalise, contextualise
  • Automate but keep the human touch
  • Follow through
  • Use existing resources
  • Beware legislation
  • Use the same rigour and KPIs as you do with other comms
  • Spray and pay (no such thing as viral or organic reach anymore)
  • Be creative
  • Messages are the future
  • Be inclusive – it’s an organisation wide issue


The artificial intelligence (AI) market is set to reach $3,061 billion by 2024 according to recent research. The AI Expo world series looks at the future impact of these technologies, including business intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots. Find out more here.

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