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Content Marketing Predictions: 6 Big Themes for 2015 [Infographic]

As 2014 comes to a close, many content marketers have been looking ahead to predict the biggest changes and trends in the industry for the coming year.

To give you a better idea of what 2015 will look like, we compiled predictions from eight different posts on the topic (and added a few predictions of our own!). We’ve also mapped out these predictions by six major categories: measurement, technology, distribution, personalization, content supply chain and organizational structure.

Ring in the new year with the top predictions in the following infographic, then read on to see the best of the rest.

predictions-infographic

Measurement:

The smartest content marketers will understand that analysis leads to a better strategy and more successful content initiatives.

  • “As social networks become more sophisticated and streamlined with data collection, targeting options for paid media will become more focused. Twenty-fifteen will yield greater demographic/psychographic inclusions into platform analytics reporting to help inform paid media targeting. This will result in more in-depth and actionable social media reports.”

-Kent Lewis, President, Anvil Media (iMedia Connection)

  • “We live in a “show me the money!” kind of world. But you have to connect if you want to convert, and digital offers a big marketing opportunity. U.S. adults spend 43-plus hours per month on a mobile app or browser. However, our research shows that 39 percent of mobile ad impressions do not reach their intended audience. In 2015, digital will need to prove its worth. That’s only possible if marketers measure and optimize their campaigns holistically—looking at the reach of their ads, whether they resonate, and how they drive sales.”

-Jeremy Allen, EVP, Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen (CMO.com)

  • “In 2015, businesses must evolve how they plan and measure content. There are still too many marketers who are not understanding the value of content marketing. This is common when strategies, goals, and metrics are not clearly spelled out up front. Better planning will lead to better results.”

-Tommy Landry, Founder, Return on Now (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Digital analytics sophistication and (effective) usage increases: we know from research, talking to users and being an active part of the industry that marketers are increasing emphasis on measurement. Our team even launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to provide a free and robust resource to educate marketers and help them succeed. An ever-expanding mix of devices and channels is creating even greater pressures for digital teams to quantify their efforts, but the technology is here and the market demand for talented analysts & data-savvy marketers has been in place long enough that 2015 is the year digital measurement finally comes of age. Smart brands have already formalized their efforts across organizations and efforts. If you’re not there it’s time to catch up.”

-Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate, Google (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • “As a result of more advanced skillsets and new technology, 2015 will be the year that content and social media marketers get serious about determining their impact on marketing and sales’ pipeline. New metrics will emerge to improve the management of content and better demonstrate its impact on the organization; for example, number of marketing leads or sales opportunities generated as a result of specific pieces of content; and number of marketing leads or sales opportunities influenced by individual writers.”

-Michael Gerard, CMO, Curata (Curata)

Marketing Technology:

Content marketing and marketing operations teams will join forces to use new technologies to better manage content marketing investments and demonstrate its impact/ROI.
  • “In 2015, marketing analytics reporting tools will become just as common as Web site analytics tools. The end has come for making marketing decisions based on gut instincts; everything marketers do in the digital world can now be tracked, from the first click all the way to the deal close. CMOs who do not embrace and accept this concept will likely not be CMOs for very long.”

-Kurt Andersen, CMO, SAVO (CMO.com)

  • “Marketing technology will allow marketers to create smarter, more targeted, and more effective content marketing campaigns in 2015. The most effective content marketers will make it their business to understand, not necessarily exactly how particular technologies work, but rather what can be achieved with certain technologies — i.e., the potential of marketing technology. They may not have a marketing technologist in place (yet), but they will structure their teams and agencies in such a way that they have access to tech skills.”

-Karen Webber, Marketing Director, Axxon Media (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Coding will become a necessity for digital marketers. As the modern marketer strives to understand how social, content, demand gen, PR, and SEO call all work successfully within a fully integrated marketing strategy, the next skill is to add coding to their resume/ LinkedIn profile. The ability to understand how front end web development and coding can affect, enhance, and optimize a content strategy will become a necessity for marketers instead of a nice to have.”

-Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Marketing Solutions (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • “In 2015 we will see marketing systems start offering prediction models out of the box, which will help the marketer find the “needle in the haystack.” The marketer can then spend the time building and optimizing campaigns based on relevance, timing, and customer insight. 2015 will also be the year where we will see companies start to integrate technology for iBeacons and wearables to give the customers a better omnichannel experience and bring the online and offline worlds together, facilitated by the smartphone. This will be a revolution in retail.”

Christian Agger, Ecommerce and Marketing Director, Saint-Gobain Distribution Denmark (CMO.com)

  • “With the multitude of consumer data available to today’s marketers, one of the keys to success lies in being able to sort the need-to-know data from the nice-to-know data. To accomplish this, marketing and information technology leaders have to both agree on adopting a consumer-focused frame rather than a technology-driven one. Therefore, the one step marketers need to take in 2015 is to establish a fluid, cooperative, and dynamic relationship with the information group within their organizations. Without such synchrony, the wealth of available data will be underutilized, and we will not see the transformation that could be possible.”

-Dr. Kurt Carlson, Associate Professor of Marketing at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University (CMO.com)

  • “Remarkable content and storytelling isn’t enough. Marketing technology, specifically marketing automation and analytics platforms, will play an increasingly important role in the planning, creation, and distribution of content. The technology enables marketers to be more sophisticated in targeting the right content, to the right audiences, at the right times. High-performing content marketers must become hybrids — part marketer, part technologist.”

-Paul Roetzer, CEO, PR20/20 (CMO.com)

  • The one thing marketers need to concentrate on is the adoption of new technologies and their frictionless integration into the customer experience. NFC, RFID, and geolocation push services are going to drive intelligent marketing, and the data harvested from them will supercharge the decisions of the smartest CMOs.”

-Nihal Pekbeken, VP Marketing, Ticketmaster (CMO.com)

  • “As digital marketing is extended through and more tightly integrated with technology, the walls between Marketing and IT are weakening. If marketers are truly to harness the power of our content management, customer relationship and measurement platforms, we must not only communicate but “co-operate” with IT. We must build a common vision, leverage one another’s skills, and be respectful of each other’s resource and time pressures. And it won’t be easy. In fact, it will be culturally disruptive for many companies – but absolutely crucial to the success of technology-enhanced digital marketing.”

-Denise Dilworth, Content Strategist, Fusion Alliance (Forbes.com)

Content Distribution:

Companies will dedicate more investment in 2015 to promotion, and spend more time optimizing for mobile.

  • “Content creation has gotten a lot of attention lately, but content management and distribution will rule the day in 2015 (watch out, here comes the analogy…). You can have the nicest car (read: content) in the world, but if no one knows about it, you won’t be able to sell it.”

Mike Myers, Consultant, Content Marketing, NationWide (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “A year of digital transformation is a year where mobile is at the center of all marketing–not just digital marketing. As a marketer, if you’ve figured out how to reach people through their mobile devices–the ones that are always within arm’s reach and accessed constantly–then you have a fighting chance at getting your message across through a medium where people may be paying attention.”

-David Berkowitz, CMO, MRY (CMO.com)

  • “2015 will be the year of “mobile-first.” Get it to work on mobile-first and let all other platforms follow. We’ll all be sick of hearing it by the end of the year.”

-John Fox, CMO, Venture Marketing (CMO.com)

  • “I am seeing lots of advertisers & everyday folks switching from putting videos on YouTube to putting them on Facebook. I think in 2015, Facebook will be at risk of junking its news feeds with all this stuff and it may backfire and drive users to users to Google or other platforms.”

-Karyn Gavzer, Consultant, KG Marketing & Training, Inc. (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “This may not sound like a revolutionary prediction, but the reality is most brands are still not to the point where mobile is woven into everything they do. It’s viewed as just another channel in which to deploy marketing tactics or even as a nice-to-have. 2015 is truly the Year of Mobile. Marketers need to view how mobile is invaluable in their personal lives and take that to their brands–both organizationally and in practice. With adoption rates as high as they are in all demographics, the pendulum has swung. If brands are not thinking and acting mobile first now, you fill in the blank.”

-Jen Gray, VP, Marketing & Creative, HelloWorld (CMO.com)

  • “Like many others, I believe 2015 will be a breakthrough year for mobile marketing. The introduction of Apple Pay and other NFC payment solutions, combined with geolocation, geofencing, and beacon technologies finally make real-time, one-to-one marketing a reality. Marketers can now use the variables of time, proximity, and person to create compelling and relevant offers that will drive incremental sales. This new paradigm creates the need to assure apps deliver as much utility as possible and are as functional as possible. The mobile phone has truly become the 21st-century Swiss Army knife.”

-Eric Lent, Chief Marketing & Consumer Technology Officer, Herschend Family Entertainment (CMO.com)

  • “Marketing teams will recognize the need to reinvent their organizations around customers who expect an amazing mobile experience. Mobile is no longer a “test” for marketing leaders who are making sizable investments in people, processes, and technology. I expect marketers to shift investments from what they know: desktop Web marketing, to the new world of mobile marketing, where acquisition, engagement, and conversion tactics address apps, mobile Web, and mobile messaging. In addition, more companies will prioritize the use of mobile analytics and optimization technologies to drive relevant, personalized, and location-aware experiences in their mobile apps.”

-Ray Pun, Strategic Marketing for Mobile Solutions, Adobe (CMO.com)

  • “Digital transformation will be achieved when digital is embedded and optimized in everything that a marketing team does. In that sense, marketers will need to stop distinguishing between online vs. offline and instead create seamless customer experiences that embrace the true zigzag that is the customer journey. The customer no longer makes the distinction between their digital experiences and any other experiences–they are all simply part of the customer’s life. To that end, marketers will need to think multiplatform, multichannel, multidevice, and multitouchpoint. The bottom line will be the overall customer experience.”

-Tom Shapiro, CEO, StrataBeat (CMO.com)

  • “Mobile analytics is going to become a much bigger factor in 2015. No one is doing a great job of tackling this right since the world is still transitioning to a more mobile world.”

-Eric Siu, CEO, Single Grain (Forbes.com)

  • “The emphasis on helpful content with paid visibility will continue to grow. Content will always be a priority but getting visibility to it will not be as free because Google and other properties will continue their push to keep the visitors on their sites giving users direct answers such as contact info, stats, game scores, etc. Site owners will have to pay for visibility for their entire web presence which extends far beyond their website and social properties and includes how they look in the SERPs, review sites, etc.”

-Geoff Karcher, President, The Karcher Group, Inc. (Forbes.com)

  • “We’ve already seen the massive ripple effects mobile has had on the digital marketing industry. I believe we’re going to see this accelerate in 2015 and beyond. We’re going to see further advancements in how Google indexes apps in search. And we’ll see it become harder and harder to track and measure important data across users and devices.”

-Dan Shure, Owner, Evolving SEO (Forbes.com)

  • “2015 will be the year when B2B marketers will wake up to hyper-targeting. Only 10% of online visitors find what they are looking for when interacting with online content. Savvy digital marketers will be able to match traffic with business attributes, identify segments they want to grow and serve them with a very targeted message.”

-Christophe Primault, CEO, GetApp (Forbes.com)

  • “The content creation engine has been fired up across most enterprise marketing teams; however, many companies continue to underestimate the resources needed to market their marketing. Enterprise marketers will begin to address this gap in 2015. Technology and service offerings to distribute and promote marketers’ content will quickly expand in response to this need.”

-Michael Gerard, CMO, Curata (Curata)

  • “If you want your content to be great, get customers to participate! I think we’re going to see a lot more of what I like to call “participation marketing.” The value of co-creating content with the very audience you want to do business with is very powerful. Participation marketing is co-creating content with existing customers, partners and especially with prospective customers in the community, and I think we’ll see a lot more of that kind of crowdsourcing, which will affect content development and promotions.”

-Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing (Content Marketing Institute)

Personalization:

Content marketers will begin experimenting with personalization: Getting the right content to the right person at the right time, place and format.

  • “2015 will be the year when person-to-person planets align. Leading B2C brands (Netflix, Amazon, Facebook) and some B2B brands have been priming the pump and raising customer expectations to engage with brands on a personalized level. In fact, personalization ranked as the No. 1 capability for marketing in the future, according to the 2014 “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” (PDF) study from Adobe. Importantly, the study also revealed that brands that were focused on delivering more personalized experiences to their customers outperformed competitors in sales and revenue.”

-Steven Cook, Founder, FortuneCMO.com (CMO.com)

  • “In 2015, customers will become less satisfied with mass personalization. For years, companies in the financial services sector have been able to store, manage, and deliver data per individual, in real time. Going forward, marketing organizations need to do the same, connecting with customers in ways that are fluid, seamless, ongoing, meaningful, and personal. It all starts with a vision of what you want your customer’s experience to be. Then, you’ll need a comprehensive data strategy that will tear down silos, unravel snarled data streams, and implement integrated processes designed to put the customer at the center of all you do.”

-Lisa Arthur, CMO, Teradata Marketing Applications (CMO.com)

  • “We will see a shift from discoverability-oriented content development and distribution (SEO driven) to context-aware content. It’s a shift from utility to utility-in-the-moment. Think about how you can create and distribute content triggered by weather, location, or news events. The bar will be raised on hyper-relevance.”

-Julie Fleischer Director, Data & Content & Media, Kraft Foods (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Excellence in curating customized experiences should be the goal for digital/multichannel transformation in 2015. Marketers should fully embrace the transition to true personalization based on finding consumers and providing, per individual preferences, customized and curated communications and experiences. To do this, marketers will have to shift from focusing on channels, data, and content to focusing on customers solely. This change in strategy will reverse today’s troubling decline in engagement and retention rates.”

-Ernan Roman, President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing (CMO.com)

  • “Your messaging will be lost in the future if you aren’t optimizing content across channels and keeping in mind the unique nuances of each community and platform, while remaining consistent. It’s not about focusing on SEO over social and vice versa, it’s about ensuring one piece of content your company produces lives on each of your marketing channels in the right format to better scale your efforts so your organization can make quicker actions that reap more results. This doesn’t mean it’s important to be active on every channel, but it is important to create a consistent experience where your audience is active and make smarter marketing moves to stay relevant with the resources and talent at your disposal.”

-Brian Honigman, Marketing Consultant, Honigman Media (Forbes.com)

  • “2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!”

-DJ Waldow, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Marketo (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • “Marketers will become obsessive about becoming relevant to their audiences and buckle down to do the work that informs the development of a digital strategy.”

-Ardath Albee, CEO, Marketing Interactions (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • In B2B in 2015, we will see:  More emotional content as we take on our B2C peers, budgets shifting from creation towards promotion, the return of email and outbound, the rise of interactive — more marketing apps, marketing ops will come of age & we will graduate from “data kindergarten”

-Doug Kessler, Creative Director, Velocity Partners (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Marketers have been advised to create and tailor different formats of content with customized copy for highly fragmented marketing channels from TV and print to various social media platforms in order to reach their target audience. It’s the right thing to do. Digital marketing will continue to morph and promotion channels will be further fragmented. The major change for 2015 is NOT about digital marketing. The major change will come from Marketers by Going Back to Basics: reevaluate the target audience, determine what works and what doesn’t. Re-prioritize and be smart about resource allocation and investment.”

Pam Didner, Author, Global Content Marketing (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • “Brands that want to better understand their customers’ needs will finally accept that asking how they want to be communicated with is often better than guessing. . . .In 2015, preference management will takes its place as a key item on the marketing road map.”

-Luca Paderni and Shar VanBoskirk, Analysts, Forrester (Loyalty360.org)

  • “2015 will be the year of cooperative content. Companies want to create more and more content, but how can they do so efficiently (and affordably)? Increasingly, the answer will be found in their customers and their employees. 2015 will bring decentralized content creation programs with participants across the company (not just marketing), as well as content initiatives that rely on user-generated content in expanded and highly strategic ways. The best source of content in most companies may be right under your nose: your employees and customers.”

-Jay Baer, Founder, Convince & Convert (Content Marketing Institute)

Content Supply Chain:

The most strategic content marketing practitioners will replicate the best practices established by media companies, such as:

  • Fortifying the content supply chain,
  • Prioritizing owned and earned media over paid media,
  • Tapping into the journalist talent pool.
  • “We will see a surge in print magazines from brands in 2015. As most brands continue to focus heavily on digital, the smart ones will realize that it is much easier to cut through the clutter by leveraging “the post” — where there isn’t much competition at all, comparatively speaking.”

-Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Brands will recognize the role of editor as the missing link to true content marketing effectiveness. We’ve figured out how to create content and how to publish, but can’t move firmly into brand journalism until we adopt an editorial discipline.”

Sarah Mitchell, Head of Content Strategy, Lush Digital Media (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “I predict 2015 as the year of content-as-process. Brands will stop looking at content marketing as “campaigns” and instead will look to create smart processes.”

-Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, Content Marketing Institute (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “We will begin to see well-known B2B publishers and editors at media companies getting recruited by and joining large B2B brands, with technology companies leading the charge.”

-Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “2015 will continue a trend that has caught steam this year, which is mixing paid media with owned media to accelerate content distribution. The best “native” advertising helps build an audience into a a long-term business asset, and that’s a goal worth spending on in conjunction with owned content creation.”

Brian Clark, CEO, CopyBlogger, (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

  • “Medium-sized and large businesses will begin to purchase niche media companies because they thirst for creating real relationships with their target audiences.”

-Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “We’re taking the notion of “”brands are publishers”” and pushing the boundaries of that further. How that plays out: We’ll focus on enormous empathy and customer experience (and not just more blog posts). (That doesn’t mean blog posts aren’t important, for the right company and the right customer. But it means we consider if that’s the best approach, rather than making a post the default.)”

-Ann Handley, Founder, MarketingProfs (TopRank Online Marketing Blog)

Organizational Structure:

Marketers must break down silos between teams and departments to create a truly digital marketing presence.

  • “To impact true digital transformation, we must stop thinking about digital in the context of nontraditional versus traditional advertising. The marketing landscape, as well as media consumption, has evolved to the point where the only people left who silo digital and TV are actually CMOs. Silos are created through the annual budget process, as well as legacy organizational structures. It’s not about, “What percentage of your budget is digital?” Rather, it’s about how are CMOs telling and communicating brand stories, and, based on your consumer journey, how you are engaging those consumers in a meaningful way?”

-Sean Blankenship, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Coldwell Banker Real Estate (CMO.com)

  • “Borrowing from the idea of getting the best players with the right skills on the baseball diamond, marketing leaders should make an effort to understand and bring the best digital skills to the table-regardless of their organization or affiliation. For example, the IT organization likely has experts in evaluating vendor offerings, creating data designs utilizing multiple sources, and integrating heterogeneous software. Understand and bring these and other aces to the table early in the process to help you make the best decisions and achieve your digital transformation goals. Cross-functional teams will lead to more wins in the market.”

-Chris Curran, Chief Technologist, PwC (CMO.com)

  • “In a word: agility. Marketers have to change the way their organizations get work done to match the pace of our always-on, digital market. While facing a nearly constant state of disruption, CMOs are expected to deliver more growth and to act faster than ever. As a result, they’re seeking ways to improve how they go to market and move toward enhanced collaboration, shorter planning cycles, and a more data-driven, iterative approach. I believe transformational approaches like Agile for Marketing will help marketers respond to the market more quickly, champion the customer, collaborate across functions, and achieve better results.”

-Barre Hardy, Senior Director, CMG Partners, (CMO.com)

  • “In order for 2015 to be the year of true digital transformation, marketers will have to give up their current silo-based functional approach to “going digital” and help build a new cross-enterprise governance model to enable digital to cross the chasm and become the accepted new business model in their companies.”

Peter D. Moore, President, Wild Oak Enterprises (CMO.com)

  • “Rather than trying to publish as much content as soon as possible, we’ll move towards content marketing that’s both sustainable and reliable. We’ll build up content suppliers (both internal and external), and work more closely with other teams to act as content distributors (such as ad or social media teams).”

-Pawan Deshpande, CEO, Curata (Content Marketing Institute)

  • “Phil Kotler had said that “marketing takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master.” Unfortunately, even if the individuals in your teams do become masters in (digital) marketing, your marketing organization will fail if you’re unable to get them to work together. High-impact digital marketing requires the strategic and tactical alignment of content creation, asset production, search engine optimization, promotion, and analytics all connected along a common backbone of technology. For true digital transformation to take place in 2015, marketers will need to put the right organizational structure and processes in place to break down the silos between their different teams.”

-Michael Gerard, CMO, Curata (Curata)

Do you agree with with these predictions? Did we miss one of your favorites. Let us know in the comments below!

To continue planning your 2015 content marketing strategy, consider using the metrics provided in our free eBook, The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics & Metrics.

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Alex Barca

Alex Barca is a Content Marketing Specialist at Curata. Alex serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Content Marketing Forum which has a readership of over 40,000 where she frequently blogs about content strategy and marketing. She also is the community manager for the largest content curation LinkedIn Group. Alex can be found at industry conferences such as the MarketingProfs B2B Forum and Content Marketing World. She earned a B.A. in Public Relations at Penn State University in State College, PA.

  • Awesome piece! What a great roundup of SEO voices and 2015 predictions.

    I especially liked and agree with these points:

    -In the infographic, where a freelance writer stated that the knowledge of content promotion will be just as important to writers as creating content. Content promotion is a skill set all by itself, more than just a social post/tweet here and there — I fully agree. (And this content promotion beyond-a-social-post can include commenting on other high quality blogs in your industry with a link to your related blog.)

    -Absolutely. People are attracted to what’s relevant to them and what speaks to them. That requires a human voice. — “2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!”

  • Excellent post. I wholeheartedly agree with what Jay Baer said on collaborative content. I’d add vendors as a collaborative resource in that vein.

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  • Anna09

    Very interesting infograph! I love the way you explain it. Here I found another infograph for effective content marketing. Have a look: http://visual.ly/4-tips-effective-content-marketing

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