The future of content marketing

Should marketers be left-brained or right-brained. Numbers or ideas people. Creative or Quantitative. Ruled by algorithms or imagination?

As technology has developed to aid marketing analytics, automation and process, the ability to dissect the data has become a necessary evil (depending into which camp you fall), impacting on the day-to-day marketing role and content marketing in particular. But how will this evolve?

Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 research concluded that 85% of Australian marketers will place importance on building their audience this year, with over half focusing on producing content for their audience, over their brand. This is good news all around.

But strategy and good intentions are one thing, putting them into action is quite another. Core technologies support the process of deepening the understanding and connection between brands and their audience and blur the lines between the definition of marketing as an analytical or creative role.

  • Marketing Automation (MAP) manages multiple channels, automate, attract interest and manage campaigns.
  • Content Management (CMS) was originally developed to manage web content, but has evolved in capabilities to cover many digital channels and shape user experiences online
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) supports customer interaction and help businesses to maintain a record of leads, prospects, clients customers and partners, as well as learn more about them and tailor to their needs
  • And lastly, the link in the chain, the hub that ties all this functionality together  –  brand asset management. A vital piece of the mar-tech puzzle, which allows companies to have a single source of truth from which all their creative content can be stored, searched and shared.

So the question remains, that as the tools to aid marketers in their quest to attract, engage and convert become more sophisticated, will the marketing job spec of tomorrow be searching for an analytical-wizz to stand at the helm of the mar-tech ship, or a creative, whose strategic thinking and big ideas fill in the emotional intelligence void, that a machine will never be able to achieve.

Scott Brinker, Co-founder and CTO at Ion Interactive and guru of all things mar-tech, stated that “marketing has fundamentally become a technology-powered discipline”, enough to send shivers down the spines of all the creatively-inclined marketers out there.

But let’s explore this in the context of the next evolution in content production: intelligent content.

The rise in ‘intelligent content’ adds a further layer to marketing technology and one that has exciting futurist implications. Amongst many other components, it encompasses highly sophisticated methods and strategies in meta tagging image, video and written content so it can be easily organised, found and used.

Brands have specific keywords and filing systems that are relevant to the business, an airline may name their files according to aircraft models, employee roles, pilots or cabin crew, global destinations they service and general aviation jargon. A fast food restaurant may name and save according to restaurant locations, menu items, customers, cooking, specific offers or occasions.

This is bespoke keyword tagging and essential to any good content management. Intelligent content takes tagging to the next level, opening the doors to brave new worlds in terms of how brands can produce personalised content for our audience.

Imagine taking a 1 minute piece of video advertising content, within that content, individual elements can be tagged; from location to weather, to objects, animals, people even emotions, making each component highly searchable.

Now imagine a brand has hundreds of pieces of content, each with different elements, all tagged using scene, facial and emotional recognition. The brand now has the ability to search for particular parts from all these videos and amalgamate them to create a bespoke piece of footage, in infinite numbers of compilations.

This leads to a time in the not too distant future, where a marketer can create content so bespoke that it speaks to an individual member of their target audience, through a process that is almost completely automated, creating huge return on the investment to produce it.

Upon initial inspection, you may conclude this means the future of the content marketing role to be tech-led, but this is not necessarily the case.

As more brands shift their marketing capabilities inhouse, first Foxtel launched inhouse agency, Felix, then Optus’ Yes Agency and more recently Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) following suit with Speakeasy, all in the quest for more streamlined processes and flexibility. In the midst of this transition, Chris Maxwell, Director of Speakeasy made an interesting and valid statement to their existing agency, Clemenger; they would still be heavily relied upon for the ‘big thinking’. And this sums it up quite nicely.

The scaremongering media would have us believe that we’ll all lose our jobs to bots in the next 20 years, while the sensible voices argue that AI could never replace creativity and abstract thought, and this is the crux of the matter.

The future looks automated, robotic and tech-heavy for the marketing industry, with the exciting capabilities introduced through concepts such as intelligent content, but the flipside is that this frees up space for us humans to do what we’re good at. Whichever side of the brain their strengths might lay.


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