2016 is going to be the year of the content brand. At least, that’s what Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute thinks the future of content marketing holds.

The future was certainly on the minds of brand marketers attending Content Marketing World 2015 in Cleveland. Even with sessions covering a diverse range of topics, from beginner-level SEO to advanced content promotion, it was clear that attendees were there to learn how to best position their brands for success.

But what, exactly, should marketers do to ensure future success?

During Wednesday’s opening keynote, Kristina Halvorson, CEO and founder of Brain Traffic and author of Content Strategy for the Web said, “The reason we are struggling with content marketing is because we haven’t started with the ‘why.’”

This was a common theme at Content Marketing World: Start with your “almighty why.”

When asked “Why do you do what you do?” a content marketer might launch into a discussion about attracting brand awareness, demand generation, or the importance of thought leadership in the current media landscape.

All of these things, while compelling arguments for content marketing programs, are not the answers to this question.

Jay Acunzo, vice president of platform at NextView Ventures, described “the almighty why” in his session The Content Wheel: Sustaining Momentum with Greater ROI While Punching Unicorns in the Face. “The almighty why’ is the reason you exist, the emotions you fulfill or the problems you solve. To really succeed with a content marketing strategy, brands can’t focus on the desired end result. They need go back to the beginning of it all.”

Acunzo suggests taking a lesson from unicorns–not the mythical creatures, although I’m sure they have many things to teach us as well. A unicorn is a start-up that seemingly explodes overnight, securing $1 billion in funding. These are the Ubers and the Snapchats of the world, and these unicorns are very frequently looked to as content marketing success stories.

Unicorns, according to Acunzo, are successful because they are clued into their customers’ needs and wants. They are clear on their purpose and vision, and have a distinct interest in creating content that addresses the same needs as their products or services.

“Don’t find customers for your content,” said Acunzo. “Find content for your customers. Involve your customer in everything you do. Everything gets easier, more effective. You build stuff people want, create content people want — if you listen to your customers.”

Similarly, Jay Baer, author and president of the social media and content marketing consultancy Convince & Convert, suggests that success comes from the integration of customer service into a content marketing strategy.

“In the U.K., social media complaints increased 800% in 15 months,” said Baer. “Answering those complaints can blow your customers’ minds and win their hearts.”

“Ignoring those complaints can decrease customer interest,” Baer continued, “while answering them can increase customer advocacy.”

The focus on customer needs is a brand’s raison d’etre—it is the answer to the “almighty why.” As brand marketers, we do what we do to serve our customers. Once we can confidently answer this why, we are able to link the work we are doing to customer satisfaction and the business outcomes that can and will define our future successes.

Your “almighty why” needs to extend beyond the type of content you create, to how and where you promote it. Download Why Content Marketing’s Really a Question of Marketing Your Content to learn more.