Here’s the thing about the future: it’s a lot closer than you think.

This statement rings even truer at the end of every year when we hear colleagues say “where did this month go?” or “it’s already December?” The answer is always, “I just can’t believe how time flies.” The future comes up so fast, becoming our present for a bat of an eye, and then fading quickly into our past.

For marketers, we’re always looking ahead. Planning, strategizing, thinking about what is coming around the next corner. And right we should – we need to stay ahead of our customer’s expectations and know at this moment where we need to meet them three months from now. This dynamic couldn’t be truer than in content marketing – an industry that is ever-evolving at a blindingly fast pace.

A year ago, we were talking Author Rank. Today, it doesn’t exist. 1500 word blog posts used to be all the rage. Today, short, digestible quips live to see another day. Less and less people at our cocktail parties have a completely blank face when we tell them we’re a “content marketer”…but we still have a long way to go.

Life moves pretty fast Ferris

Ferris Bueller knew what he was talking about when he said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” So let’s follow Ferris’ advice and take a look around, right now. Let’s take a temperature check of where we are as content marketers, where the industry is as a whole, and where we’re moving. Because before long, we’ll be in the future, not just thinking about it.

So what will the future of content marketing look like?

The Future According To Robert Rose

Robert RoseSomeone who can hep us with that question is Robert Rose. Robert graciously guest presented our monthly webinar last Thursday called The 2020 Content Marketing Strategy, and he had a lot (of really awesome things) to say. I frankly felt like I got a bit of a kick in the rear to get myself in gear for his vision of the future of content marketing. As Robert said, we’re closer to the year 2020 than the advent of the iPhone, from your first possible tweet, and from the creation of any Facebook page…and if those analogies don’t shake you to show how close we are to the future, not sure what will.

Here are my main takeaways from his talk. P.S. My fingers were tip-tapping so fast, I got as much as I could… but you should review our recording and slides anyway to get all the gold Robert dug up for us:

  • There have been six stages of marketing up until now: Trade Era, Production Era, Sales Era, Marketing Department Era, Marketing Company (Brand) Era, and Relationships Era. Robert Rose argues we’re stepping into a 7th stage: The Experiences Era.
  • Consumers have adapted. Marketers haven’t. We need to know how content is going to become a function within a business.
  • How marketing is now: we have moved beyond relationships; there is a democratization of content and experiences; marketing must create innovation within a business.
  • Marketers can’t just describe value, they have to create it.
  • Create great experiences for your customers so they become loyal and your evangelists.
  • Marketing must get un-siloed so content can flow, be agile, flexible, and independent of the structure of your departments.

The Future According To Vertical Measures

Future of Content MarketingRobert also did us a solid and contributed to what I’m excited to announce: our own Vertical Measures perspective on the future in our free downloadable guide (available today!) called The Future of Content Marketing in 2015 & Beyond. In our guide, he said:

“My ‘safe’ prediction is that 2015 is the year that the major content marketing business challenge goes from how to build a business case for a project, to how to build a process that scales across the company. My fun “out there” prediction is that 2015 is the year that officially Google kills Google+ and buys another major social networking platform (I’m betting on Pinterest at the moment).”

We had other very smart people contribute to our guide like Michael Brenner, Niih Ahene, Andrew Davis, and more. Andy Crestodina had one of my favorite quips to share:

“Prizes will be awarded to those who are good at making things and great at promoting them. Meanwhile, some marketers who drank a lot of Kool Aid will start to feel a bit nauseous…”

Overall, this is a 15 page download the covers a broad look at the landscape of the coming year, including:

  • A Look Back to Move Forward
  • Convince Your Boss. Convince Your Team
  • The Strategic Importance of Content Marketing
  • A Dream Partnership: SEO + Content
  • What the Future Holds
  • What We Should Leave Behind

Internally, this was a huge team effort. Many people contributed to the last page of our guide which we felt was an important tool to synthesize the year’s outlook in “The Ultimate Checklist to Content Marketing in 2015.” Erin Pritchard was the talented designer and our biggest champions were Dave Murrow and Zack Jones, who wrote the bulk of the guide, sat at roundtables with me and my endless revisions, and generally helped drive this whole idea forward from the beginning.

But as everything we do here at Vertical Measures, this guide is for you.

Step into the future with us, share what you think of our predictions and the experts’ insights, what you see coming around the next corner, and how you think our whole industry is shifting and evolving. Download the free guide today to start the journey, and we hope to see you in the future.