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Content's Increasing Value Will Turn Businesses Into 'Mini-Publishers'

Content production is still gaining momentum among businesses in 2014, with 35 percent of companies saying they’ll increase spending on inbound marketing this year.

That figure comes from marketing agency Green Hat, which just released its 2014 B2B Marketing Outlook. Green Hat worked with the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising to produce the report, which identified sales and marketing integration as the most challenging—and most important—task for businesses in 2014.

This trend is motivated by the success inbound marketing content has had in driving sales from online consumers. With inbound assets delivering consumers further down the sales funnel, digital marketing campaigns are playing a significant role in lead qualification by taking consumers through top-level phases of the sales process.

Forty percent of companies surveyed by Green Hat identified content as a “very significant” aspect of their B2B marketing efforts. Those companies plan to devote more money in 2014 to developing websites and microsites, running email campaigns, syndicating content, creating online videos, and marketing across social networks.

This investment in diverse forms of content, combined with inbound’s increased emphasis and a larger transition from traditional selling to engagement strategies, will prompt businesses to develop into “mini-publishers” that use data and consumer insights to build more complex content campaigns that better address consumers’ interests and needs.

“The trends tell us that B2B marketers will not be generating leads in the future,” said Green Hat Managing Director Andrew Haussegger. “At least, not in the way it is being done today. ‘Interruption marketing’ is gradually being replaced by ‘engagement marketing.'”

In conjunction with this transition to digital-first marketing, Green Hat said it believes that in 2014, digital marketing spending will surpass traditional marketing spending for the first time. In 2012, the gap between traditional marketing and digital marketing was 12 percent; in 2013, that gap shrank to just 4 percent.

Content production and management is vital to online success, and in 2014, it has turned into a requirement for online-first businesses.

Jonathan has worked as a journalist for the past 8 years. His journalism credits include employment at the Omaha World-Herald, Willamette Week, and NFL.com, with projects appearing in New York Newsday, WRITERS' Journal, and others. Other writing has regularly appeared on LiveSTRONG.com, Reputation.com and FindLaw.com, among others. He is the recipient of a First Place award in Sports Feature from the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Region. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a marketing writer and a freelance editor.

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