VR, AI, AR, automation – technology and content are increasingly intertwined. But how can content marketers make a mark when everyone is jumping on the bandwagon?
If there’s one thing uniting the innumerable predictions about the future of content marketing, it is this: technology is the way forward.
Tech-evangelism is on the rise. On average, 51% of companies are already using marketing automation, with 58% planning to adopt new technologies soon. Of those already using automation, the testimony is overwhelming: 91% agree that automation is ‘very important‘ to the success of their marketing across channels.
Commentators predict automation will be an indispensable feature of future content marketing, enhancing customer experiences and providing firms with in-depth insights like never before.
However, this throws up a range of problems. Will the tech revolution simply serve to create a joyless automation arms race? Could barriers to entry leave smaller brands struggling to compete against a monopoly of super-marketers? Is tech’s exciting potential doomed to decay into an expensive necessity?
To avoid such eventualities, here’s how to neutralise the possible risks ahead.
Master the basics
Insights and data might not sound as exciting as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. However, understanding your audience is an indispensable precursor to the great leap into the world of content technology.
Mishandling the power of automation has landed many a company in hot water. Twitter is littered with brands who have been exposed for their lax use of automated technologies. And who could forget Microsoft’s genocidal chatbot? Such examples demonstrate even the biggest firms (with established marketing teams and content strategies) underestimate AI at their peril.
For all the attraction of automation, there is no substitute for understanding who your consumers are and what content interests them. Failure to do so can mean the impressive veneer of automation is merely papering over the cracks of a flawed content strategy.
Play to your strengths
In the past, this blog has cast doubt on the much-touted B2B/B2C dichotomy in marketing. It’s true that marketers are often guilty of overstating their differences: content can transcend the two.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in the digital age. It’s all very well investing in brand new technology, but common sense must prevail. Having access to the latest VR is useless if you’re producing printed publications for a B2B audience.
Your.MD is a good example of a firm taking a dynamic approach to AI, personalising its offering to build long-term relationships. With its expert-backed chatbots providing a novel approach to the fraught world of online diagnosis, the company has found a winning formula.
Don’t fall into the trap of desperately imposing technology on your consumers to keep up with competitors. The line between being helpful and painfully annoying is surprisingly thin in the brave new world of automation. Fall on the wrong side and you’ll sink quickly.
Change starts from within. There’s no point trying to impose technological revolution from above if your core content creators aren’t on board.
Once again, the key is to make automation a gradual, thought-through process. Have an idea of end goals from the outset so teams can unite around a single objective. Introduce software in stages to avoid overwhelming suspicious parties with a technological deluge.
Innovation in content marketing all boils down to culture. If yours is already proactive, agile and adaptive, a little automation can go a long way.
The key takeaways
Know the dangers – even the biggest firms are guilty of technological blunders, so steering clear of the pitfalls will help you race ahead.
Adopt and adapt – automation may be inevitable, but implementing it gradually and carefully will keep your content ahead of the game.
Get in early – move your culture up a gear and get stuck in sooner rather than later.