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When the internet was new, a lot of people predicted it would kill the trade show. Why spend all that time traveling and walking the aisles when you could stay at home Googling?
Not only did that not happen, live events are bigger than ever before – especially in B2B, where they’re eating up budgets and absorbing entire marketing teams for months on end.
Events like the Festival of Marketing just go from strength to strength, proving that people still want to hang out with and learn from other people.
But today, a different kind of B2B event has emerged and is dominating the genre: the single-vendor supershow.
Everyone thinks content marketing is the only way to win a market.
Here's a little story that might disprove that.
I hate naming names, but there’s a company out there which just doesn’t get content marketing.
It’s a big tech company with excellent products. But it hasn’t yet figured out that people really don’t care about products.
Everyone celebrates the magic of the internet because it removed the obstacles between any of us and all of us.
For the first time, someone with zero resources could reach an audience of billions and change the world.
But every sliver lining has its cloud and content marketers are experiencing the unintended consequences of a barrier-less world...
An innumerate marketer begs the new species of click-sniffer to make a bit of an effort and translate your undisputed brilliance into some language other than Klingon or Ithkuil.
If you believe the bloggers (and who doesn't?), marketing departments all over the world are clearing out the desks of their PR, advertising and 'corporate communications' dinosaurs to make room for the new breed of data geek.
On the whole, that’s good, but data is only useful if the lessons it provides can be communicated in terms that people can understand.
You know what I hate more than anything? I hate the people who won't let me hate.
Here's why Polyanna Positiveness is a bad thing for content marketing.
Content marketing is a voracious consumer of content. Where do you find yours?
We get this all the time.
A company will approach us to talk about B2B content marketing (which we love, by the way) and we'll ask what content they have already.
"Nothing," they say, "We don't have any content."
In our experience, this is... how do I put this... not true.
Your number one challenge as a B2B marketer today: evangelising the new dynamics of content marketing to the folks who grew up on old-style marketing.
There are two kinds of B2B marketers. Those who have noticed that B2B marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years and those who haven't.
The problem for those of us who have noticed: most of us are reporting to people who haven't.
Let's face it, content marketing has gone mainstream. That kind of sucks, really, because it used to be a hugely powerful differentiator in most markets.
Soon it will just be the price of entry. Everyone will have a rich content library, so a new eBook or video won't be enough to make you jump out from that pack of pesky competitors.
So how will the world of digital marketing change when content marketing becomes the norm for everyone?
Here are ten predicions and what you can do about them...
In B2B content marketing, what you write about can be as important as what you write.
But there's a hell of a lot of so-called 'thought leadership' out there that isn't leading anyone's thought at all. That's because it isn't written from the company's true sphere of authority -- from the 'sweet spot'.
If you're committed to content marketing (as I'm sure you are) it's incredibly important to think about your sweet spot and keep your content inside it.
As content marketing leaps 'the chasm' and lands in Geoffrey Moore's back garden, more and more marketers are on the lookout for a B2B content marketing agency that can make them famous.
That's a good thing. But almost every B2B agency out there is hurriedly carving a new 'Content Marketing' sign for their front door.
So it pays to have a think before you get yourself committed.
As content marketing goes mainstream in B2B, it's becoming something of a religion. And like all religions, a lot of it is based on articles of faith that are handed down, tweet by tweet, until they're considered gospel.
To question them is to risk being denounced as a heretic and made to do any of those horrible things religions do to their heretics (many involving fire or flaying or feathers).
I'm not in the market for a flaying or a feathering but there's one article of faith that I'd like to challenge here.
The one that says, "Content marketing is not about you, it's about your customers. Great content marketing is as far from old-school, interruption-based, broadcast-style marketing as Jamon Iberico is to Pepperami".
Let's pick that one apart...
Your audience's opinions abut your content depends largely on their expectations, but few B2B marketers think about managing expectations around their content marketing.