Content was initially a simple concept for most Online Marketers — any content would do so long as it moved their handful of keywords up the search listings.
Then, content marketing evolved. The swathe of keywords widened, and content marketers became newly concerned with content discovery on channels such as social and using content to build their brands and connect with their audience.
We’ve gotten comfortable with this mode in the digital marketing industry. But we can see that another major shift is taking place, since content marketing (as it’s laid out in phase two above) does not address all the needs of the modern marketer.
There are a couple persistent problems; first, marketers have no reliable way of knowing content’s ROI. The second is the enormous, missed opportunity of customer segmentation.
Problem 1: 7 out of 10 Marketing Executives Struggle to Measure Marketing Impact
We find that overall, marketing executives have great difficulty in measuring the impact of marketing spend. An amazing 70% of executives admit to not being able to show the impact of their marketing spend at all, or only having a qualitative but not quantitative sense of it.
The inability to effectively gauge the impact of marketing is a significant catalyst of the impending content evolution.
Problem 2: Marketers Know They Need Content Better Aligned with the Buyer’s Journey
When we narrow our focus to content, what we immediately see is that 68% of Marketers recognize the importance of aligning content with the buyer’s journey.
In fact, only 12% of marketers feel confident about how they are currently measuring their content efforts and report being “sophisticated in our content alignment with the buyer’s journey and measurement.”
Marketers are clearly aware that all is not well in content measurement. 49% of Marketers that say they are planning on working to change that in the next six months by better aligning content with the buyer’s journey. This also gives us another look into the next phase of content marketing’s evolution.
The New Content Marketing Will Emphasize Customer Segmentation and Measurement
If the first phase of content marketing was an unsophisticated ‘publish content to a broad audience with limited measurement’, the next phase involves a deeper understanding of audience segments and measurement of the effectiveness of content to those segments.
The content needs of buyers/visitors differ based on their stage in the buyer’s journey, and the metrics used to measure success may also differ based on the buyer’s journey. It is this awareness that will drive the next phase in the content marketing journey.
Get Ready for the Next Stage in Content Marketing: Web Presence Management
Driven by the implicit desire by Marketers to gain greater insight into Marketing spend and the need to better target content, Content Marketing is entering a new phase. This new phase, what we call Web Presence Management (WPM), ushers in an era of sophistication that allows Marketers to better connect with their audience, educate them through the buyer’s journey, and wring more value from their content dollar with better measurement of what does and doesn’t work.
To take steps to be prepared for this change, start by beginning to think about how buyers progress through the buyer’s journey in your vertical and how their content needs might differ at each stage along the way.
Read “What is WPM?” for more info on how to start leveling up your content marketing.