The billion dollar sector

Submitted by: Jess Taylor 31/08/2016

Global spend on content marketing is currently estimated to be $150bn, rising to over $300bn in 2019, it’s clear that this relatively young marketing sector is booming. it appears that brands are discovering that print is the best medium to get a brand’s message across and engage its customers for the longest time. To read the full article, please see below.


The heart of the mix
Name any major European brand and it's highly likely they will have some form of print content marketing. Clare Hill, Managing Director of the Content Marketing Association (CMA) expresses that “Print content marketing continues to be an integral part of the overall marketing mix,” This is a sentiment echoed by Andrew Hirsch, CEO of global content marketing agency John Brown Media, who suggests “In most cases a digital-only approach doesn’t work. The vast majority of solutions is print alongside digital.”

Long-term solution
For Gregor Vogelsang, CEO of German content agency C3 (Creative Code and Content), the strength of content marketing is in its ability to aim at the entire customer lifecycle. “With strategically distributed content, we build communities around brands and create long-term relationships with the customers…Print is the medium for higher-educated executives.”

Virgin paper
In short, people want print. But let’s not just take the word of those selling the solution: the proof comes from the brands themselves, who have their ROI to consider when looking at the cost-effectiveness of print in their content marketing strategy. Saskia Dornan, Head of Virgin Group Internal Communications declares “It’s a great example of how a global magazine can have a real impact on so many different businesses and connect people around the world. It’s been a tremendous success and one of the most cost-effective communication tools we have ever devised.”

Owned media
There are examples where print is the only logical option, such as in-flight magazines, where brands have access to that rare thing: a captive audience with quality, engaged time on their hands and who have been asked to switch all their digital devices to flight mode. For example, Brussels Airlines, is a particular success: when surveyed, 94% of passengers said they had read the magazine, with an advertising recall of 44%.

The soft sell
Proof of cost-effectiveness is, of course, a crucial factor. Clare Broadbent, CEO of global content marketing agency Cedar Communications, remarks on the “culture of marketing short-termism”. “Often, the main objective of content marketing is to deliver brand messages, and attributing an ROI figure to a piece of content, especially a high-cost piece of content such as a magazine, often requires lots of time and effort. But it can be done. In best-case scenarios, where we have seen ROI figures for our clients’ work derived from customer data, results have been staggeringly good.”

The new marketing arena
Of course, the landscape in which content marketing is now operating has changed significantly. Broadbent says. “Today’s consumers are brand weary, their trust having been eroded over time from receiving uninvited and invasive ‘broadcasts’ from advertisers. By modifying their marketing communication strategy from a push to pull model, producing content that consumers want, where they want it, and in a format they are receptive to, brands are able to keep their customers engaged for longer, at a deeper level, in order to deliver their brand messages.

The next level
The big question is where print content marketing will go next. Ironically, improved digital technology means that personalisation is now possible at a much higher level, while better sales tracking can prove the cost-effectiveness to the client. But everyone agrees that print is now the disruptive medium, offering stand-out for the client and a sense of value for the customer. Which, after all, is what content marketing is all about.