Marketing / #DCS2016: Why the term ‘content marketing’ could soon disappear

#DCS2016: Why the term ‘content marketing’ could soon disappear

Terms like “content marketing” and “brand content” could soon disappear to make way for clearer, more specific phrases, according to an industry expert.

Justin Kirby

Speaking to Business Reporter ahead of The Digital Content Summit 2016, BOBCM founder Justin Kirby said new phrases would better describe specific work in the sector.

“Terms like ‘content marketing’ and ‘brand content’ are becoming increasingly meaningless and may have a very short shelf life,” he said, suggesting that “a new lexicon” would help to clarify the differences between different fields in the industry.

“There are a lot of different terms floating around. Rather than describing specific approaches, the terms are being used interchangeably.”

Kirby said this leads to situations where very different types of work – for example The LEGO Movie and The Guardian’s online content offering – are directly compared.

For this reason, he believes more specific terms will replace the current ones, marking the difference between areas like collaboration between the entertainment and advertising industries and the “ongoing and consistent content production” offered by publishers.

“I do not think there will be a one-size-fits-all solution to all challenges,” he said. “You have to think about what is happening in the different worlds… The important thing is clients becoming a bit clearer about where this is fitting into the different stages [of a marketing plan].”

With users turning to ad blockers, Kirby believes advertisers and publishers will need to adjust their approach. Even native advertising now arouses users’ suspicions.

“The unfortunate thing about native advertising is that it is becoming seen as something that fools users into thinking they are going to read one thing and gives them something else,” he said.

One way for publishers to create more value is to expand their offerings. Kirby gave the example of Google Zoo, which offers advice on how to use the firm’s other services.

“They may need to think a bit harder than that if they are really going to solve the ad-blocking problem,” he said. “It is those kind of things that provide some value beyond traditional editorial that might provide some sort of solution. It is hard to tell.

“The other thing is people like Google revenue share with people who do content with them, and that has not really come into the publishing space in the same way.”

Kirby also suggested that in future the industry could see more digital content marketplaces, where publishers and advertisers can buy and sell different kinds of packages.

At the end of the day, he explained, firms are all just trying to reach and engage readers.

“Brands and their agencies are trying to solve a problem, and that problem is that the media landscape has changed and our consumption has changed,” he said.

“They are trying to find new ways to connect with us.”


See Justin Kirby speak alongside other industry experts at The Digital Content Summit 2016, taking place in London in January.

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