What Does Content Technology’s Declining Importance Mean for Marketers?

October 12, 2015 Jonathan Crowl

What Does Content Technology's Declining Importance Mean for Marketers?

eMarketer Marketing Technologies September 2015 SurveyRight now, content technology is the most important marketing solution out there. Eighty-five percent of marketers rate content as important, beating out SEO at 70 percent and CRM at 68 percent, according to a September survey from Spear Marketing Group.

The future holds a much different outlook, though. Those same marketers are forecasting a downgrade in content’s performance in the coming year. In the next 12 to 18 months, only 60 percent of them believe content tech will be important.

SEO and CRM are expected to decline in importance, too, while other technologies currently occupying the fringe of the industry will take a more prominent role for marketers. There are more and more technologies emerging and hitting the mainstream, and the leading technologies are being pulled down closer to Earth by these solutions.

That doesn’t mean that content and other technologies are on a track toward irrelevance, but their role in the larger digital marketing scheme is likely to change, and soon.

Welcoming a Mature Ecosystem

What’s happening with marketing technology is an evolution reflected in nature: Over time, ecosystems grow more diverse, more complicated, and more delicately balanced. This balance is constantly ebbing and flowing, seeking an equilibrium. That is basically what’s happening in the digital marketing space.

As the eMarketer report states, “The result is an outlook where various marketing technologies will have more equal importance in the B2B ecosystem.”

That’s why SEO, which was arguably the most important digital marketing strategy in the Internet’s early days, has taken a backseat to content and other emerging strategies. SEO still has a role in today’s current ecosystem, but a changing landscape is less dependent on this optimization to lift a brand to success. The importance of SEO is declining, but so is its relative investment by both marketers, which is helping to maintain its ROI and preserve its relevance in the modern-day landscape.

eMarketer Survey - Marketing Tactics/Technologies that US B2B Marketers Expect to Deliver ROI

It may come to pass that SEO’s value continues to slide, but marketers must continue to work in the present and utilize it as best they can within their brand strategy. As the space for new marketing technologies grows more crowded, it will be important to revisit SEO, content technology, and other investments to consider how their value and ROI change.

Weighing the Cost-Benefit Analysis

The challenge is always weighing hard-to-quantify benefits against finite costs. Upper-level management disconnected from the marketing work may be reluctant to place a high value on tasks that don’t drive concrete figures, as well as processes that take time to deliver a strong return—think social media strategy as compared to programmatic ad purchases. According to BrightHub PM, marketers will have to interpret the benefits of campaigns and technologies in every situation and then balance those benefits against the costs, which aren’t just financial—consider the time allocation of technologies as well, particularly as they pull resources away from other activities.

Ultimately, the digital marketing landscape is growing more diverse, and that’s why some technologies are declining in importance. But this isn’t a question of relevance—instead, it’s a long, winding process to a more mature, and effective, digital landscape.

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