Content Marketing in 2017: What’s Standing in Our Way?

January 17, 2017: Colin Withers, Brand & Communications Manager

Colin Withers is the brand & communications manager at Ariad Communications, Bluespire’s sister agency located in Toronto.
Shortly before the New Year, the Content Marketing Institute released their “2017 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” report. We thought it would be useful to look at some of the numbers to identify the roadblocks marketers need to navigate in order to achieve success in the coming year.

Here are three somewhat surprising stats that stood out to us.

Confusion around the definition of success.

Even if everyone agrees that content marketing is effective, success can look very different depending on business objectives. Are you looking reduce consumer churn or attract new consumers? Are you trying to gain more market share from the competition or grow the market of your vertical as a whole?

It’s vital to gain alignment on your success metrics before building any marketing campaign—yet it’s not something we do well enough or often enough. 

Best recipe for success? An excellent strategy with realistic timelines.

The biggest contributing factors to the stagnant success of marketing efforts were strategy issues and unrealistic timelines. Sound familiar? Content without proper strategy often results in irrelevant or un-actionable content. Solid strategy without realistic development or timing often leads to failure.

Before tackling your content marketing this year, ask yourself: Is the approach up to snuff? Are we addressing a specific consumer need? Are the development and execution timelines realistic?

Contextual relevance and the consumer journey—we’re not quite there yet.

If you aren’t focusing on creating content based on the specifics of the buyer’s journey, and not delivering the right content on the right channel at the right time, you’re missing out on opportunities.

It might be obvious but despite the power of marketing technology platforms we are still struggling with the most basic content fundamentals. If anything, this speaks to having well mapped out consumer journeys, and content strategies that are aligned with them.
In short, the will for content marketing is there, but the execution is not. It’s time for marketers to take a hard look in the mirror. To unlock the real benefits of content marketing, we need to plan better, be more creative and relevant, and execute flawlessly.
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