The Co-Founder and Chief Content Adviser for the Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose is the mind behind some of the most critical discussions on the industry out there. Immersing himself in the industry for over 20 years, for Rose, content marketing isn’t just a career. It’s a creed.
Visiting Australia in May as a keynote speaker at the 2017 B2B Marketing Leaders Forum, Rose featured as Mahlab’s special guest at a breakfast during the 2-day event. Here, he spoke to some of marketers’ uppermost curiosities and concerns – giving an invigorating discussion on what content marketing can do for their business, and how we can best prepare ourselves for the industry of tomorrow.
As a bonus, Rose spoke to Mahlab in an exclusive interview following. Watch his five insights on content marketing below.
How has content marketing changed in the past 20 years?
I think when you look at how businesses have looked at content ‘forever’, even leading up to digital, it’s been this idea of ‘content as marketing material’, ‘content as collateral’, ‘content as sales material’. And even though we’re still in the early stages, I think what the last 3-5 years have shown is that ‘content as valuable, as product itself’ can truly help a business move forward. That recognition has been a huge change in the way we see content evolving in businesses.
How can we shift away from ‘content as collateral’?
To make it an important function in the business. CMOs right now are under more pressure than ever before – for leadership in the business, for leadership in differentiating their brand. So, that starts with enabling their marketers to really create content for value in its own right. That’s a culture change in the business.
The CMOs I’m seeing that are being really successful with that are recognising that without them giving explicit permission – and that means everything from setting up content to investing in it the right way as not just an experiment, but putting a lot of investment into content as a business function – that changes the culture. That changes the ability for their rank and file practitioner marketers to say, “This is something the company values, and therefore I’m going to put time and care and feeding into it.” So the biggest culture is making it real for the business. That’s the biggest thing a CMO can do.
How can content marketers face upcoming challenges?
The biggest change for content marketers in the next 3-5 years is going to be slowing down. It’s something that is affecting marketing even more broadly, but the idea is that we’ve spent the last decade speeding up, and we’ve now reached peak speed. Marketers simply can’t do more. The whole ‘do more with less’ thing is at its capacity. We’re simply not going to do any better with adding robots, or AI, or more technology to our mix without slowing down our decision-making and creativity process.
So the extent to which content marketers can slow down, focus on quality, focus on creating high-quality customer experiences, they’ll do much better than trying constantly to keep up with the race of content. And that applies to marketing – not just content marketing.
Can technology help?
Technology has enabled us to move ever more quickly and scale ever more highly. The problem is that it has degraded the quality of content in the process. So now because we can dash off a banner ad or a white paper or a video in five minutes, we do – instead of thinking “Let’s actually create something of value here”’.
The creation of content hasn’t gotten any easier with technology. It’s still really hard to come up with a great idea, a great story. It’s still as hard today as it was before Gutenberg invented the printing press, to come up with a really interesting story. What has been enabled today by technology is to distribute, promote and actually produce the content. That’s the magic of technology: it’s not in the creation, it’s in the rest of it.
What is the future of content marketing?
Content marketing in 20 years I think is called marketing. Joe [Pulizzi] and I have often said “We don’t care what anybody calls it, so long as they do it”. As we start to see content becoming an important part of the business, I think it just becomes part of the overall marketing strategy. It becomes part of what we do in marketing.
I have a firm belief that the idea of paid, owned and earned media will still be around for as long as I can see out into the future – 20 years is a long time. But the idea of creating powerful owned media experiences – what today we call content marketing – I think just becomes a core function of what we call brand and marketing and product development.