“This level of growth is unprecedented in today’s media and marketing arena”

The content marketing industry has kick-started 2013 with a record number of multichannel initiatives in January and February, including a content-led website for Swarovski, in-store content for O2 and a new magazine for PruHealth and PruProtect.

Clare Hill
Clare Hill, managing director, Content Marketing Association

In addition, just a few weeks ago, the latest ABC figures reaffirmed the widespread belief that the discipline is on an upward trajectory, despite the sustained economic gloom that surrounds it. The report reveals that the branded titles within the Top 100 magazines by circulation were found to have grown by a staggering 35 per cent over the last six months and 13 per cent since the same time last year, with high-profile titles such as Asda Magazine, Waitrose Kitchen and BA’s High Life posting strong figures.

CMA

This level of growth is unprecedented in today’s media and marketing arena. The most recent IPA Bellwether supports this, reporting only a small increase in overall marketing budgets for the start of 2013. The 1.1 per cent rise is the second lowest in the history of the survey, with only 2012 seeing a more downbeat start to the year. The new predictive element of the Bellwether, however, shows a more positive outlook for the next five years. It forecasts that growth in spend will steadily accelerate, reaching 4.6 per cent by 2017. This can only be a good indicator for content marketing and it is unsurprising, therefore, that Mintel predicts double-digit growth for industry during the same period.

What is clear is that despite the well-documented squeeze on budgets, marketing directors are continuing to view content as a legitimate marketing tool and ad spend from channels such as TV, cinema and radio is beginning to be migrated towards content marketing. The ethos of adding value to the customer relationship, as a way to engender loyalty and support sales in this time of tight disposable incomes, is understandably becoming the overarching marketing objective.

The traditional model of broadcasting one-directional brand messaging has to be supported by multichannel branded entertainment and information – in other words giving the customer something for nothing in a format that makes sense to them – an app, an e-zine, a branded game, a website, a video, branded TV show, in-store content or a customer magazine. Providing a seamless brand journey is crucial in today’s content landscape. Customers want a clever, consistent and valuable experience across all platforms.

The flexible and interactive nature of media has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to brands and as technology continues to develop and media fragments, innovative new ways to reach and engage with consumers are coming to the fore. The following articles, from organisations at the cutting edge of content, including EnVeritas Group, the fabl, Story Worldwide and Immediate Media, outline the latest developments in this burgeoning industry – from user-generated and multicultural content to working across multiple platforms and rivalling traditional media.

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