Lost interest

It’s not even the middle of November and – just like the gratingly premature Christmas decorations going up in retail stores across the land – marketers across the globe are firing up their Word docs to pen visionary (and uniformly bland) “The Future of Content Marketing in 2014” posts.

Across the twenty or thirty I’ve scoured in the past day or so, the usual suspects appear. In 2014, we are going to see brands “do more native ads”, “Editorial homepages” and curiously uninformative infographics.

To be blunt: the future of content marketing in 2014 looks exactly like content marketing did in 2013. And 2012. And 2011.

Boring. Bloated. Samey. Uninspiring. Lumpen.

Where are the big leaps? Where is the innovation? Where is the ROI?

At idio, we are absolutely passionate about content marketing and its potential to not only create more profitable interactions for brands but also as a means to improve people’s lives in numerous ways by being helpful and non-interruptive.

Yet the content marketing industry as a whole seems to be in a state of complete ideological stasis.

In 2014, we want to see:

  • Content marketing measured by sales conversions not just ‘engagement’

Enough with the soft ‘engagement’ metrics.

Please put a stop to the inane triumphalism (relief?) from your marketing team every time they get a retweet, a share, a linkback or a ‘Like’.


Businesses exist to make money. Engagement around your content may make you feel warm and fuzzy but it won’t ‘move the needle’.

Publishers and media outlets have lived and died on the strength of their content generating sales, not engagement. In the new world of content marketing, as brands seek to become publishers, they will need to adopt a publisher’s commercialism too.

Read our whitepaper with ExactTarget to learn how idio helps brands such as Econsultancy measure content by sales conversions.

  • Content marketing generate greater customer insight

What do you mean you don’t know who’s reading your content and why they’re reading it?!

In 2014, there will be no excuse not to understand who your reader is as an individual, what their unique contexts are and what they are planning to do next.

All of this can be revealed by simply understanding your content (through using content analytics) and tracking your readers’ content consumption.

Current content consumption habits are far, far, far more relevant and reflective of us as individuals than merely relying upon inaccurate and historic demographic, transactional or even social media data.

Read our article for The Guardian – “You Are What You Read: How content marketing reveals the real you” – for a guide to how content marketing can generate far greater insight into your customers than you ever thought possible.

  • Content marketing become personalized

Brands who are trying to become publishers are making the same mistakes as the (now dying) publishers who came before them – publishing content at aggregate with no appreciation for readers’ (customers’) individual contexts.

When content marketing becomes more personalized, the ability to calculate the improvement of lifetime customer value, reduce customer acquisition costs and – perhaps more importantly – measure the monetary value of each customer engaging with each item of content will become much more realisable.

Furthermore, we all like being catered to and treated as individuals. There is case study after case study of personalization leading to increases in engagement and sales.

It’s why we believe the popular aphorism “Content is King” is dead, and that in fact *context* is King. Read more about that here.

  • Content marketing used for pre-targeting

The earlier you have insight on a prospective customer, the earlier you can influence and measure their journey.

Not only does this give you a MUCH better forward visibility of buying behaviour, but allows you influence that journey earlier. This has a massive impact on business value.

In a ZMOT world, companies can often only heavily influence the final 10% of a customer purchase decision; ie when they walk in the store, click on the site, or similar. But if you can get visibility earlier, by talking about the aspirations, lifestyle interests, needs and wants of your target buyer (i.e. doing good content marketing), you can build a process of pre-targeting; predicting the customer journey and therefore helping them solve the problems they need to faster and easier, and obviously whilst buying your product or service.

You can read more on our thoughts about using content for pretargeting here.

  • …And re-targeting, too.

At idio, our US President Damon Ragusa coined the phrase “Interest Abandonment” to refer to brands that send sales messages too early and end up chasing customers away.

Content is great for maintaining interest, even when a prospect is not ready to buy. Indeed, that’s the raison d’etre of content marketing.

It’s also useful for maintaining a relationship when someone has abandoned basket at the last moment unlike those weird, creepy and annoying product ads that follow you around the Web.

Read more on using content to build a relationship and add value to potential customers lives.

idio’s vision of Content Marketing in 2014 – Content Intelligence

Yesterday, at ExactTarget’s Connections event in London, idio CEO, Ed Barrow unveiled our vision for content marketing in 2014.

The future of content marketing idio

We call it “Content Intelligence”.

In short, it’s our unique way to enable get more ‘intelligence from content’ (insight) AND ‘use content intelligently’ (deliver more relevant marketing communications).

You will be hearing more about “Content Intelligence” in 2014.

We can assure you that it’s a lot more exciting (and profitable) for your content marketing than agonising whether your brand campaign microsite should be updated once or twice a day with a new blog post.

If you’d like to learn more about Content Intelligence and how your content marketing could benefit from it – get in contact – we’re always happy to chat!