The best way to foresee the future is to take a look at the past.
The old world of marketing was solution selling. Sales aligned to solutions the buyer’s needs.
Our attention spans have been decreasing as time goes on. The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. To put this in perspective, the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.
That means your attention is a valuable resource marketers compete for a.k.a the attention economy. Whoever creates the most attention-grabbing content, wins.
It’s why you don’t see as many purely promotional advertisements that once flooded radio, billboards, and television. Emotional marketing messages are twice as effective as promotional ones. You lose people’s attention, and trust, once you get all sales-y.
Today, buyers are the ones that decide what solutions they need. They do some research, usually with search engines or digital assistants. Then they reach out to a vendor for pricing.
People have the power in their hands to decide what content they want to consume, what they will be, and where they can go buy it. Advertisers have lost their tight grip on consumers.
How have marketers adapted? By adopting a customer-centric marketing strategy. The old mindset was to create a product, then “push” the product on people. Now, companies base all their actions on what would be beneficial for the customer.
Legendary management consultant Peter F. Drucker accurately explains, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself…”
No longer are brands relying on general demographic information to target consumers. Now, the riches are in the niches. Niche markets, that is. The more specific and targeted products, and services are, the better they can sell themselves.
So where is this all going? What will the role of content be in the future?
Content will morph to fit specialized, niche markets. Personalization, the systematic tailoring of content to individual preferences, will be more widely available thanks to quickly advancing Artificial Intelligence.
Content Marketing teams will have access to more resources and talent than ever. Creative and technical smarts will join forces to solve really interesting problems. Gone are the days of unpaid interns writing roundup posts and listicles.
We already see brands evolving into publishers and entertainers. Content will entertain, inspire, inform, and create relationships between brand and consumer.