Friday, November 20, 2009

B-to-B Marketers Will Press the "Reset" Button on Thought Leadership in 2010

Custom content is up, and trade publications are down. This week, BtoB Magazine published these two stories, and it is up to me to connect the dots.

Public companies shedding b-to-b media
Incompatibility with volatile ad cycles has big publishers selling off properties

The global downturn has underscored advertising's cyclicality, with ad pages plunging an average 30% this year. The decline's magnitude has left trade magazine publishing a diminished business that appears increasingly incompatible with publicly traded companies.

Custom publishing on the upswing

With corporations competing with media companies, content marketing makes everyone a publisher
There was a time when custom publishing entailed a few pages of “advertorial” in an appropriate trade publication or, more ambitiously, an extended advertising vehicle in the guise of an actual magazine. ... Today, ... companies are turning eagerly to digital content, providing customers and potential buyers with business and technical intelligence that's high on credibility and low on promotion.
It's official. As the trade pubs struggle, the vision of content marketing is borne out. Thought leadership is no longer controlled by publishing companies. Marketers are becoming the publishers. Why wait for a trade magazine's editorial calendar, when you can publish your own micro-site and YouTube channel?

I see the opportunity for marketers--in b-to-b, particularly--to push the "reset" button on their thought leadership content strategy. BtoB published two other articles this week forecasting bigger marketing budgets 2010 ("Making a splash after the crash" and "2010 Outlook survey shows marketing budgets to grow"). The crash of '08-'09 has already forced b-to-b marketers to abandon old habits; with new money to spend in '10, they will be looking for new habits.

2010 will be a big year for content.

Related white paper: Is Anybody Following Your Thought Leadership?

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See also this video on (3 minutes) of editor Jonah Bloom.

Big marketers are also competing with big media companies, creating custom content instead of spending ad dollars. The trend can only trickle down in smaller channels, starting with b-to-b marketing.
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