Peter Bakker, Managing Director and Partner
Empathy and essence
While many of us will try and erase the year 2020, it has deeply affected the world around us. It has stirred our human psyche and (re) ignited our more empathic qualities. This has also affected the way in which we create content — it has evolved to become more inclusive and empathetic to the audience(s) we are aiming to reach. And although some companies have greatly benefited from the economic transformation that was caused by the COVID pandemic, most have had to tighten their spending sprees and refocus on their core competencies. This will also bring into question their quest for in-house content and social media management and production. With the increasing role and application of smarter technologies — organisations will adopt more innovative tools to deploy and distribute their content but they will also revert back to external agencies for the actual production process. Bring on 2021 as we ready to assist!
Richard Jones, CEO and Partner
Utilising technology to maximise content performance
Although gut feel still has a role to play in strategy development and content creation, the world we move into in 2021 will demand data-driven, audience-centric rationales underpinning all budget requests. This will be across all functions from business development, IT investment or product development, but especially marketing. And especially content marketing. New research published by Brandwatch, entitled ‘The Marketer of 2021’, highlights that 58% of marketers feel their biggest challenge in 2021 will be to have the right data (up from 55% in Jan 2020), and 38% say their challenge will be finding the supporting tech to manage the data (up from 34% in Jan 2020). In addition to this, 75% of marketers want the right tech to help them visualise complex data sets and 73% need tech that helps them better analyse audience search data, with the overall aim of generating and sharing the best insights in 2021. So my prediction for 2021 is an increased focus on data-driven ideation and the use of audience-focused metrics. At IMMedia we’ve invested in creating a solution for marketers called the IMMediate platform — an AI/Ml-driven platform that provides data-driven insights for marketers to help them create the best content, predict their competitor’s next move and understand what content audiences really prefer.
Mary Weaver, Head of Editorial
Harnessing hybrid models
The future of content marketing will be dictated by where and how audiences consume content. As such, omni-channel, multi-format content will continue to reign supreme. With the world collectively embracing a hybrid model of working, audiences are consuming content in different ways than in a pre-COVID world, simply because we’re at home more. Long daily commutes to the office and business trips have been replaced with remote working and virtual meetings. Leisurely strolling on the high street has been replaced with online shopping and home delivery. We seemingly have more time on our hands to enjoy our lives away from work, but then again, we’re chained to our devices more than ever before. Our inboxes are groaning and standard office hours are out the window. The result? Content needs to cut through more than ever before. Not only that, one format and channel does not suit all audiences. It’s not enough to simply produce one webinar or one whitepaper and call it a day. No, that content can and should be reimagined in a myriad ways for a variety of channels: a bold infographic with key takeaways, a short-form video with snappy pull quotes and subtitles, or snackable, shareable content such as GIFs and memes, to name a few. And just as we’re all embracing a hybrid work model, so must we embrace a hybrid content marketing model. Some content will be best produced in-house, but when there’s a need to scale up or find a specialist content creator, external agencies such as IMMedia will be a content marketer’s best friend.
Radhika Puri, Editor
That’s the one trend that I see in 2021. Budgets will continue to be tight in 2021, and every dollar spent in marketing will need to be accountable. What this means is that content marketers and brands will need to track their content’s ROI. Calculating the ROI of marketing spends is not that easy — the direct impact is relatively tougher to calculate versus investments in other parts of the business. But there is a workable calculation that can be used a lighthouse: ROI = (Gains from investment – cost of investment)/(cost of investment) × 100%. So metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, SEO rank, conversions — you name the metric and it will become crucial. In this focus on ROI, there is an important caveat i.e. content marketing is a long-term game. The wrong kind of focus on your results might hamper the efficacy of the campaign.
Robbie Wilson, Editor
I believe that webinars are here to stay for 2021. They will likely become more interactive and remain a core part of marketing strategies even when live events are permitted to return. Working and attending events virtually with people from around the world has become the norm and as technology continues to rapidly improve, more businesses will embrace digital transformation. Expect more ways to interact with individuals online in the near future, including augmented and virtual reality bringing new experiences to viewers.