The Next Big Trends in Supply Chain Marketing
Companies in the supply chain and logistics industries should take note of these 19 content marketing trends.
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute recently revealed his predictions for the biggest trends in content marketing for 2017. As the leader of CMI, Pulizzi dedicates much of his time discussing where content marketing is heading with enterprise marketers around the world.
Since 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a part of their marketing programs, you’ll likely see some of these trends and issues arising among your competitors, your clients, and, ideally, your company in the near future. As you start to strategize for next year and beyond, be sure to consider these ideas in your supply chain marketing plans.
Creation of a real content marketing strategy
We can’t say it enough: Organizations that have a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to be successful than those that don’t. You would never operate a business without 1) creating a strategy, 2) documenting it, 3) following the strategy, and you should feel the same way about your marketing plan. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- 12 Elements of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
- Content Strategy Template
- How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy DIY
Native advertising is a paid, content-based promotion delivered in stream, within the same format as the channel the reader (or viewer) is using. Think of sponsored updates on LinkedIn, which look just like regular posts, or when a radio DJ promotes a product within the regular broadcast. I’ll be writing more about native advertising in the coming months and how the supply chain might use this opportunity as part of their content marketing efforts.
Forbes describes influencer marketing as, “A nonpromotional approach to marketing in which brands focus their efforts on opinion leaders, as opposed to direct target market touchpoints.” Basically, highly visible people become brand advocates by employing your products or services in their everyday lives. There are earned influencers, influential people who use your product regularly because they like it. And there are paid influencers, who receive compensation for using certain brands. More to come on this topic as well.
Companies can appeal to a target audience by promoting their shared interest in a worthy cause through content. Examples from the supply chain include these six companies that are doing well by doing good.
Video and Visual
Video is not just for funny cats and cover artists anymore — it’s the most popular form of content being consumed online. Smart marketers are developing a visual storytelling strategy that offers consistent delivery of valuable content. Consider how your business might utilize features like Facebook Live or channels like YouTube.
Yes — Snapchat. Before you roll your eyes, check out this convincing article, Why Snapchat Will Be Great for B2B Companies, by Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media. Keep your eyes on this social media platform in the coming year.
One thing about Facebook you can count on is that it will always be evolving and adding features to keep up with user preferences. Also, Pulizzi is convinced businesses can do better when it comes to promoting content on this platform. Companies should keep a close eye on what’s to come with Facebook in the near future and how organizations are using it to distribute content and generate leads.
Teams and workflow
Take a good look at content production in your organization. Do blog posts go unedited? Are projects frequently late? Is your team clear about who needs to approve what? A strategic, consistent way to track and complete content-based projects can help streamline production and improve efficiency — not to mention quality.
Content strategy (pipes and process)
Developing a strategy that helps your organization scale its content-production efforts, re-purpose existing content across multiple channels, and properly leverage user experience and technology is key to content marketing success.
Google announced in May 2015 that the number of searches on mobile devices has now surpassed those conducted on desktops in the U.S. And we know that reality isn’t limited to personal internet use. Evidence suggests B2B buyers are increasingly using mobile devices to do research, make inquiries, and purchase products. If your website and marketing emails aren’t mobile-friendly, your company is missing out the significant share of customers who demand mobile-optimized content. Try these tips:
The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion by 2018. The number of options companies have is almost blinding. Count on content technology to continue to demand a lot of attention — and, potentially, financial resources — in the next few years.
Josh Bernoff’s recent article in the Harvard Business Review hits the nail on the head: Bad Writing is Destroying Your Company’s Productivity. In a vast sea of crappy content, superior writing and storytelling can make your business stand out, win customer’s trust, and earn new business. Here are some resources:
- On Writing Good Content: A Guide for the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries
- How to Hire a Copywriter: A Guide for the Supply Chain
- 10 Reasons No One is Reading Your Content
Integration with sales
Integrating your sales and marketing teams is one of the most impactful ways to leverage content to gain new customers. For example, merging one of our clients’ sales and marketing databases to improve team communications played an important role in helping the company increase new business by 30%.
ROI and measurement
Making a business case for content marketing is one of the top priorities for the majority of B2B marketers year after year. Check out these resources:
Email and marketing automation
Marketing automation can expand your content’s impact, improve conversion rates, generate leads, and drive repeat purchases. Additionally, it can remove cumbersome manual tasks from your content workflow, freeing up your resources to add value to other, more meaningful tasks. Pulizzi says an expert recently revealed to him that companies are utilizing approximately only 10% of the functionality behind marketing automation — meaning, there’s much room for improvement in this area.
Content distribution and promotion
Even the best, most valuable content is worthless if it fails to reach your target audience. Companies are now focusing on the strategic distribution of their content assets to ensure their success.
Earning C-suite support for content marketing is a challenge for many marketers in the supply chain and logistics industries. See “ROI and measurement” above for some resources to support your efforts to win executive buy-in.
Organizations and their supply chains continue to become more complex and global in scale. This can put a strain on communication, processes, meeting customer needs and expectations, etc. Content marketing strategies should account for the challenges of global operations.
Construction of a media organization
Pay attention to the recent flux of organizations purchasing media companies or properties to become media enterprises. Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn comes to mind, as well as Arrow Electronics’ acquisition of a number of technical and media properties from UBM.
- Content Marketing Works, Just Ask TotalTrax
- Six Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing in 2016
- How We Deliver Content for the Supply Chain and Logistics Industries