We're closing in on the tail end of 2014. That means marketers are rushing to get first SEO dibs on year's-end, round-up posts (like Consumer Report's Best & Worst of 2014), a bunch of awards (like the annual Content Marketing Awards hosted by CMI), and way more futuristic posts about the upcoming year than you could possibly want to read (like, everyone in marketing).
In fact, a simple Google search reveals there are already at least eight full pages of Google results that have "content marketing 2015" in them (and that doesn't include derivations on "content marketing" like marketing, digital, social media, etc.), including:
- 4 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015 | DMN3
- Content Marketing Strategy 2015 - Flipboard
- Four Content Marketing Predictions for 2015 - Scribewise
- These Finance Content Marketing Trends Will Dominate 2015
- 18 New Content Marketing Benchmarks for 2015
- Over 100 B2B Content Marketing Statistics for 2015
- B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC]
- 11 New B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks for 2015
- 17 Content Marketing Predictions for 2015
- 21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015
- 21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions For 2015
- 5 Digital Marketing Predictions For 2015 - WSI
And about 200 more.
Don't bother reading them. Half the predictions never end up coming true, and the other half you could have guessed on your own, like the importance and use of content marketing will continue to rise, mobile marketing is ever more important, and marketing automation isn't going anywhere.
What's more interesting to me are the more provocative, and unexpected content marketing predictions for 2015. The predictions that are at the fringe of expectation, or simply elicit an emotional response. They're a little hard to find. You actually have to read several dozen of the most-repetitive prediction posts to get to something unique (hey, I'm guilty of it, too....not throwing anyone under the bus here). But those fringe predictions are really where the future gets interesting, and marketers can really start stretching their brains about what's to come.
So here they are:
*I should be clear, this roundup represents my personal opinion.
"There will be a surge in print magazines from B2B brands,"-Joe Pulizzi, Founder at Content Marketing Institute (source)
Print in 2015? Joe Pulizzi astounded every marketer with this prediction. The point here is that while the web becomes a cacophony of content, intelligent marketers will take the conversation (pardon my corporate-jargon) "offline." The move could potentially feel more personalized and special to B2B buyers, and thereby making stronger returns on investment. Our question is, who's going to bring ink back first?
The term "snackable content" will mercifully be put out of its misery. -Sam Slaughter, VP of Content, Contently (source)
If "snackable content" isn't a term in 2015, what will take its place? Does Sam suggest that content will become more long-form? Or will small doses of content simply become the norm, desensitizing a need for a specific noun?
"Joe Pulizzi switches from orange to purple." -Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer, Contently (source)
Great prediction. Sometimes even the best brands need a refresh.
"#SocialPredictions: Marketers will create more original audio content in 2015." -Offerpop (source)
Audio content? As in, the radio? Maybe. Spotify, Pandora and NPR seem to still have a dominating command over the general population, but it seems like every time marketers overwhelm audio outlets, a new music outlet is created. I'd be interested to see the diverse channels that emerge to support audio content.
"A major agency will make a high-profile acquisition of a content marketing platform. Without the technology and talent to power content marketing at scale, agencies are like New York Jets fans-totally f*cked, and completely aware of that fact." -Joe Lazauskas, Editor-in-Chief, Contently (source)
At least one major acquisition of a content marketing platform has already occurred when Oracle bought Compendium in 2013. But will another acquisition occur in 2015? If the past year was any indication (LinkedIn bought Bizo, Twitter bought Gnip, etc), we think this prediction could come true.
"A Giant, Free Stock Photo Website Will Emerge" -Brian Overson, StoryTeller (source)
Hilarious language choice. This makes me think that a giant, gooey stock website will ooze out from under a rock in the Amazon somewhere (the country, not the website). But the point is taken. The growing demand for more visual content presses marketers to use more stock imagery. Undoubtedly some entrepreneur will figure out a way of perfected the stock photo well. The burning question, though, is: will it be free? Or not free?
"Journalists, after a decade of worrying that their careers will end any day now, will take the National Truck Driving School's phone number off the refrigerator and instead set up LinkedIn searches for leadership roles in content marketing." -Neil Chase, Content Strategist, Contently (source)
Hahaha. As an ex-journalist, myself, I had to throw this one in here. A flocking of reporters into the corporate writing landscape has already started, but I agree there is more to come.
"The stigma around sponsored content will diminish." -Jessica Lawlor, Scribewise (source)
This one is certainly unexpected and unique. Will people become accepting of sponsored content in 2015? If Jessica is right, sponsored content could be increasingly important marketing channel. If buyers start appreciating the personalization and targeted messaging (as they seem to with emails, etc) it'll be a game changer for marketing budget allocation.
"Sales teams will buy into revenue marketing," -Debbie Qaqish, Chief Strategy Officer, Pedowitz Group (source)
Well I certainly hope sales teams will buy into revenue marketing...but it's hard to say. The disconnect between sales and marketing teams is as old as business itself. If 2015 proves to be the year sales reps and marketers agree, it will be big.
"As brands strive to create authentic connections online, especially with Millennials, more will understand that a clever laugh or the vulnerability of silliness is the most efficient path to earning trust and loyalty. Mark 2015 as the year of humor in digital marketing." -Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media, Cisco Systems (source)
Humor has already proven itself as powerful in digital marketing. Humor was why more than 126 million people have viewed the "David After Dentist" YouTube video. Not just that, but humor is a universal language conveys connects positive messaging. If you give a marketer the chance to reach millions of people and have a positive response, he's going to take it. Good prediction.
"In 2015, marketers will find out calls are the new clicks. Mobile traffic has already exploded and calls driven by mobile search are expected to be 65B by 2016. Marketers will invest to track calls and optimize that experience." - John Gagnon, Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft (source)
Did John Gagnon just say "calls" as in phone calls? Could 2015 be the year of the cordless phone? This prediction is definitely one of the most unexpected. I haven't thought about the phone for its "calling" function since 2001. We shall see..
"In 2015 I think there's about a 50% chance that Google could completely kill of Google Plus. I do not recommend companies spend much time investing in the platform." - Ross Hudgens, Founder, Siege Media
Could it be true?! Just kidding. This announcement is interesting and represents the contracting marketing, and social media technology landscape that has also been predicted. The 2014 marketing and social media technology landscape was overgrown with nearly 1,000 companies in the industry. By 2015, this ecosystem will shrink to the basic necessities. And G+ might not be a necessity.
"ROI Will Become Even Easier to Prove" -Brian Overson, StoryTeller (source)
Was ROI ever easy to prove? My guess is that ROI will always be hard to prove. Big Data tied with privacy concerns and Internet law will likely inhibit digital marketing ROI.
"Facebook Offers Better Tools for Businesses" -John Haydon, co-author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (source)
Wasn't it Facebook's original mission NOT to be an advertising hub? I thought that's what they said in The Social Network. Anyway, Facebook might be trying to appease businesses with new tools, but it might be a little too late. Too many marketers are shying away from Facebook's announcement of a 10% decrease in organic reach.