Where Content Marketing 2016 Is Headed

3 Key 2016 Content Marketing Trends

Where 2016 Content Marketing Is Headed Are your 2016 content marketing plans ready?

Don’t worry—you’ve still got time.

But you need to act soon!

To help you, here are my 3 key 2016 content marketing trends to include in your 2016 content marketing plans.

3 Key 2016 content marketing trends

These 3 key 2016 content marketing trends are based on the current state of content marketing. They’re the result of examining what marketers currently do to help improve their results. Where 2016 Content Marketing Is Headed

1. Reach content saturation

We receive 5,000 messages per day.

Mary Meeker continues to spotlight the growing amount of information we consume digitally.

Digital Content Growth Chart Measured in Zetabytes

We consume 5.6 hours of digital media, over half of it via a mobile.

Time spent with digital media continues to grow- Mary Meeker Chart

Time spent with digital media continues to grow- Mary Meeker Chart

Mark Schaefer dubbed the increased information trend beyond people’s ability to consume it, “Content Shock”. 

Content Shock Graph by Mark W. Schaefer

Content Shock Updated Graph by Mark W. Schaefer

This problem isn’t new. It dates back to Gutenberg’s printing press.

Each new content technology creates disruption and more information. With the Internet of Things (or IOT) expansion, the data we take in via personal and household items will increase.

Roughly 80% of marketers use content marketing as part of their business plans according to Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2016 Content Trends. (There’s a difference based on business focus, B2B vs B2C).

More than 4 out of 5 B2B marketers use content marketing - Chart

More than 4 out of 5 B2B marketers use content marketing – Chart

Content marketers have reached a market saturation point where increased effort yields diminished results. This trend is grounded in traditional marketing where it’s applied to advertising.

Advertising Saturation Yields Diminished Returns Chart (Similar to Content Marketing)

Advertising Saturation Yields Diminished Returns Chart (Similar to Content Marketing)

Over time, people have figured out how to handle this information overload. They select their inner circle of favorite information sources. For example, it’s about 10 television channels and 16 email newsletters. This inner circle includes the breadth of information options from necessary news to entertainment.

2016 Key Actionable Content Marketing Insight:

  • Become part of your target audience’s information inner circle. Otherwise, you’ll need to work harder and spend more to break through to attract attention.

2. Use data to create desired content (aka: practice Actionable Marketing)

2016 will be the year that gut-feel marketing died.

Going forward, marketers will need to base their plans on the results of past campaigns to ensure success. Content marketing will become a continual process of testing and improvement based on actual data.

Ruth P. Stevens’s latest book, B2B Data-Driven Marketing, is a harbinger of this trend.

Use Kraft Foods as your guide. Regardless of whether your firm is B2C or B2B, ultimately you’re marketing person-to-person (aka P2P). (BTW, Heather Meza called this trend back at  Content Marketing World 2012.)

Kraft has been a Nielsen Top 5 food and cooking site. It ranks with media sites such as the Food Network and About.com Food. In April 2006, 7+ million visitors spent 8.5+ minutes on Kraftfoods.com. This brand experience had no associated media buy or brand competition!

Kraft launched their print magazine with 1 million circulation, a number most small publishers can’t afford. They had no media cost! They used their house file, built from site visitors.

Kraft continues to use the data collected from their site to shorten marketing cycles and improve results based on their ability to address individuals.

Don’t take my word for it! Listen to Kraft’s Julie Fleischer discuss the ROI of Content at Content Marketing World 2014.

2016 Key Actionable Content Marketing Insight:

  • Use technology and data to constantly improve your content marketing. Determine what your audience likes and supports sales.

3. Measure content marketing ROI

Businesses continue to have trouble measuring their content marketing investment results. This includes budget and people.

B2B Marketers Have Trouble Measuring Content ROI - Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

B2B Marketers Have Trouble Measuring Content ROI – Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Despite this trend, businesses keep investing more money in content. At some point, marketers must show results in terms of MQLs (or marketing qualified leads) or sales. Money needs to be aligned with results or businesses will stop providing budget.

B2B Content Marketing Will Increase in 2016 - Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs (Chart)

Need more proof?

  • Businesses where marketing and sales are aligned achieve 20% revenue growth per year; by contrast, businesses where marketing and sales aren’t well aligned yield a 4% reduction in revenue based on Hubspot research. YIKES!!!

To show results, marketers must:

  1. Directly associate their content marketing with business goals. Use a call-to-action to—at a minimum—collect an email address or close a sale. Also, use content resources to improve the post initial contact interaction to support conversion.
  2. Eliminate redundant content efforts across the business. While cutting costs doesn’t contribute as much to performance as marketing investment, it’s necessary.  The biggest element of this is creating marketing and sales alignment. 

2016 Key Actionable Content Marketing Insight:

  • Integrate your marketing efforts across your organization to drive MQLs and conversions with less resources.

In 2016, your content marketing will need to be more accountable.

Translation:

  • Your 2016 content marketing will need to show bottom line business results.

You’ll need to take into consideration these 3 key 2016 content marketing trends:

  1. Reach content saturation
  2. Use data to create desired content
  3. Measure content marketing ROI

What do you see as the 3 top 2016 content marketing trends and why do you think so?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • Recently came across a software company – Local ID – that’s feeding local context/content to brands – great article