September 7, 2017

Andrew Knoblack  Hs

Cleveland — nestled on the shores of Lake Erie — is home to arguably the greatest basketball player of all time (no, I haven’t spotted LeBron James in the flesh), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (yes, I’m a Rick Astley fan) and Content Marketing World 2017 (where people wear lots and lots of orange).

And that’s why I’m here: to soak in all the content juiciness. My colleague Merritt Ward is here, as well, and you’ll hear from her later as she recaps the whole event. But right now, I want to talk about claustrophobia.

Mine has kicked into full gear, folks. From the moment we left our hotel on St. Clair Avenue, a 5-minute walk from the conference, I couldn’t help but notice … there are a lot of people here.

Walking into my first session, a masterclass on Google Analytics, I was again taken aback by the number of people in the room. Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina, the speaker, even commented: “This is more than I usually get for this topic.”

So there I am, feeling closed in, wondering why there are so many people here. That’s when Crestodina said something that will always stick with me. It almost snapped me back into focus, like a giant bell was ringing.

“I don’t need opinions. I have data.”

Whoa. That was just the first of many powerful quotes. That got me wondering, perhaps data could help me explain why there are so many people here.

My opinion: Content marketing is on the rise. The data?

  • An estimated 3,500 people are attending #CMWorld this year to listen to 225 speakers for a combined 123 hours (CMWorld)
  • 75% of marketers are increasing investment in content (Curata)
  • 18% of companies allocate 10% of their budget (excluding headcount) to content marketing (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  • The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion in 2018. It will be one of the fastest-growing areas in high tech, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4% (IDC)
  • 42.5% of companies said they were increasing their content marketing staff levels in 2016 (Curata)

Casey Neistat

There are so many ways for consumers to digest content. As Casey Neistat said during his keynote on Wednesday, “Marketing needs to cut through the bullsh*t.” He proved how he did it for Nike when he took their huge video production budget, traveled the world and made this sweet movie (see below). Nike said it didn’t understand it, but wanted to give it a shot. The YouTube video has 26 million views and Neistat recently sold his company to CNN for $25 million.

But it’s more than just YouTube views or engagement. Content marketing (done well) is a real conversation that has depth and meaning to someone. Done very well, that conversation turns into a fruitful relationship where brands are no longer just part of the noise but more like a trusted advisor who happens to sell a product. Ask my wife and she’ll contend that my relationship with Apple is almost too deep.

Joe Pulizzi

It’s why 92% of marketers said their organization views content as a business asset (Content Marketing Institute). It doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it’s about setting the right expectations. Check out Dixon Schwabl’s Vice President of Content Marketing & Social Media Jon Alhart’s piece about why expectations are important.

But it all makes sense why so many people are here. Content marketing is not just the future, but very much the present … and marketers are adjusting. The data doesn’t lie.

I hope content marketing has a pretty big bandwagon, because a lot of people are hopping on. As the godfather of content marketing, Mr. Joe Pulizzi said, “Right here, right now is the best time to be a marketing professional.”

Andrew Knoblauch is content marketing and social media supervisor here at Dixon Schwabl. A modern creative-data hybrid. Follow him on Twitter (@AndrewKnoblauch) and hear him on our One More Thing podcast.

Photo Credits:
Main Stage: Michael Rizzo, via Twitter (@RizzoMB)
Casey Neistat: Andrew Knoblach
Joe Pulizzi: Patrick Shepherd, via Twitter (@PatrickShepherd)