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They're selling hippy wigs in Woolworths...

I reckon that the chances for competitive differentiation through content marketing started to die the minute there was an Institute of Content Marketing.

Just like Danny knew that the 60's were over when they started selling hippy wigs in Woolworths.

I'm not saying that content marketing doesn't matter - good quality content is essential. But it's gone from a differentiator to almost a hygiene factor.

So what comes next?

Lots of people are responding to the 'content avalanche' by proclaiming the need for better content/new types of content. But I'm looking for the next big trend, the thing that will set you apart from the competition.

I think it's going to be 'experience'. That's what I'm going to talk about at the B2B Marketing Conference in November.

There are two different levels of 'experience' I'm thinking of:
  1. Classic customer experience. B2C marketers have been talking about it for years, but it's patchy at best in B2B. Often, companies haven't even got reliable data on who their customers are. Let alone a way of thinking about and improving the end-to-end experience of being a customer. Who owns it in your company? Could it be an opportunity for marketing to play a more central role in the business?
  2. One-off experiences that customers/prospects/employees can engage with. It's time to stop talking about stuff and start doing things that are worth talking about.

I think the stakes are very high. Get this right and there's a whole new level of differentiation available - one that's based on loyalty and emotional engagement.