Content: A Marketing Trend for 2014?

Marketing trend articles have been swarming my social media feeds and email inbox for the last five or so weeks. As a marketer, I was initially keen to open these articles to discover some insights of what lies ahead, and what I need to add to my continual development. 

Content seemed to be a key trend for 2014. Businesses must focus on their content marketing.

My initial reaction was “That’s good, I’m already doing that.” But then I realised “I’ve been doing that for years!” So either I am really innovative or these articles on marketing trends are all a bit of reflective fluff (no offence if you’ve written one).

I am an unabashed MadMen addict. If you don’t know the TV series, it is a show set in the 1960s (Season 1 is 1961) following characters in a Maddison Avenue, New York advertising firm. Don Draper is the main character and love or hate him, he is the go-to man for advertising. And what makes him so good? He is able to get to the heart of a brand’s story.

Now, this is obviously fictional TV, but the reality of the history of advertising and marketing success is rapped up in content, in connecting consumers with your product that they purchase from you. The only thing that has actually changed in content marketing is the platform the content is delivered on. Print to radio to film to TV to online.

Whether businesses and marketers are good at content marketing that connects with a marketplace is a different matter. But there’s no trend here, I’m afraid.

To be fair, many articles talked about the nuance of content marketing – stories, personalisation, data influenced and, of course, online and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and these are all great tips, but, again, nothing new or revolutionary.

The most honest and well-summarised “trend” article I have read to date is by Adam Ferrier in his article My Top 5 Trend Predictions for 2014 (read here).

So what’s my point? Don’t let marketers and the industry confuse you. Don’t let marketers’ self-analysis on what they should have done better in the year just finished overwhelm you in how to market your business to your ideal customers.

As for marketing trends in 2014, I have no prediction but a wish: I hope marketers conduct their work with integrity and honesty and keep content and messages simple. Actually, I’d love to see that in all industries.


This article first appeared in Australian Businesswomen’s Network on 8 January 2014 

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