My 2020 Vision: 5 Marketers Predict the Future of Content Marketing

April 1, 2017

What does the future hold? It’s a question that has fascinated mankind throughout the ages. From casting runes to crystal balls to fortune cookies, we have long attempted to peer through the mists of time.

Now marketers no longer have to rely on these outdated fortune-telling methods. The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has developed 2020 Content Vision™, a fully-immersive virtual reality system that is capable of simulating life in the far-off future world of…less than three years from now.

We’re still fine-tuning the hardware, but we fired it up this morning to celebrate April 1st, the official first day of Quarter 2. I strapped on the goggles, put on the gloves and boots, and went walking in the future.

The trial was an amazing success! I was able to interact virtually with some of our favorite marketers—at least, their simulated 2020 versions. I asked each of them for one future trend that might surprise marketers in 2017. Here’s what they had to say.

Jason Miller, Group manager, Global Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn

I think the big thing is that personality in content is dead. Nobody wants some “unique voice” that makes a “human connection.” Gross! People want dependability and consistency. And that comes from corporate messaging.  

I mean, think about how volatile music was back in the 80s, with all those heavy metal bands. There were too many different voices. Too much personality. It wasn’t music everyone could like.

I’ve traded in my hard-rocking content for easy-listening corporate jargon. If you don’t rock the boat, you can’t fall out, that’s what I say.

By the way, if you’re in the market for a vintage heavy metal T-shirt, I’m selling my collection to finance a collector’s edition Enya box set. It’s like I always say: “If it’s bland, it’s good for your brand.”

Learn more about personality in content marketing from Jason.

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

Wow, I guess what might surprise people to know is that writing is totally over. Words were just too…like…y’know? First drafts? Revisions? OUTLINES? Who has time? My next “book,” Nobody Writes, is going to be a series of live 10-second Snaps, captioned exclusively in emoji. New chapter every 24 hours!

Learn more about creating braver, bolder content from Ann.

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions

I’m happy to report we have finally finished phasing out personas for all of our clients. After years of painstaking research to truly get to know potential buyers, I finally had an epiphany. Who are these “customers” and “prospects” to tell me they know more about marketing than we do? We’re the experts.

In 2020, we tell them what their pain points are and why our solutions are the best for them. We’re not going to spend hours creating distinct messaging for three different members of the buying committee. The product is the same for everyone, so everyone gets the same story. And they’ll like it!

Learn more about creating personas from Ardath.

Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing

After ten years of pushing influencer marketing, we’re taking it to the next level: Nonfluencer marketing. Nonfluencers are people who have no social media following, aren’t capable of effecting change, and are incredibly difficult to work with.

You know, the brightest minds aren’t always the most popular. Did you know Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive? And he was a genius! Who wouldn’t want Vincent van Gogh associated with their brand? So we’re going to focus on people who are so forward-thinking they have zero following right now. We’ll see who is laughing in 5-10 years.

Learn more about influencer marketing from Lee.

Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder & Strategic Director, Orbit Media Studios

Measurement is one of the biggest things marketers are concerned about. Back in 2017, Thirty-two percent of B2B marketers said that measurement problems contributed to stagnation.

In other words, measurement is a GIANT BUMMER. Conversions? Qualified Leads? ROI? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

I think as marketers we can aspire to a more pure approach to measurement. In 2020, the only metric that matters is the MSI: The Marketer Satisfaction Index. If you feel good about your marketing, that should be good enough for everyone.

Learn more about metrics & analytics from Andy.

The Future Is Tomorrow

Okay, so there may be a few bugs in the 2020 Content Vision™ system. Maybe the best way to prepare for the future is to get even better at what we’re doing now:

  • Create content with personality
  • Make your written content bigger, bolder, and braver
  • Use well-researched personas to make content relevant
  • Involve influencers for co-creation and amplification
  • Continually measure progress toward business goals and optimize

If you can do all five of the above, the year 2020 will find your organization thriving in virtual and actual reality.

To learn more about how to do content strategy, creation, and distribution in the here and now, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing. You won't regret it. No fooling.