We can seen the raise of different online tools/platform giving digital marketers something to go crazy about and the latest dominating trend is that of content marketing. Though content marketing has come of age now but the question now is about the future of content marketing. Will is stand the test of time for marketers. Before getting too excited about the opportunity , marketers  must always remember importance of results through a return on investment (ROI) calculation. If we don’t, then  content marketing could disappear just like any other iteration  in the history of advertising. 2013 was the year of Red Bull. At every marketing conference, not a single panel went by without mentioning the content marketing geniuses based in Santa Monica and Austria.  All content marketers should continue to follow Red Bull to learn about the success or failure of the bull in red.

Brand marketers are too shifting their focus to content marketing. Custom Content Council in April 2013 announced that the content marketing industry has risen to be a $44 billion industry. This is result of convergence of tech and trends in social media, search engine optimization and aesthetically saturated media advertising.  According to Content Marketing Institute 93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing enlighten consumers about their brands. Despite the vast interest in content marketing, 55% of B2B content marketers  find their campaigns ineffective. Brand and content marketers need to prove their vigor of these campaigns by measuring the result of their content marketing campaigns using available technology.

Though content marketing is relatively new method of telling a brand story, content marketing is  an iteration of soft sell advertising technique  made famous by Theodore MacManus in early 1900s. MacManus kick started the soft sell advertising technique with its most memorable ad, “The Penalty of Leadership” for Cadillac. David Ogilvy did it for Schweppes in the “The Man from Schweppes” and “The Crazy Ones” that put Apple on the map.

These ads sell the brand ideals rather than the product value proposition. But sonner of later marketers have to go back to hard sell campaigns because the efficacy of those hard sells could be measured; where as the soft sell produced brand value. The shift back to hard sell campaigns is usually the result of a destructive soft sell campaign gone too far. If content marketing is to grow, a focus on ROI is essential.

Here is an example of a B2B ROI calculation as part of a marketing campaign:


Given the web based technology we have today the tools to measure visitors, repeat visits, leads, sales funnel, conversions, loyalty etc.

In this example, the marketer had a ROI on his/her white paper of 2.3X. All these metrics can be measured and updated throughout a campaign’s life to ensure content marketing campaigns are yield value.

On the other hand it might be difficult to calculate success of content marketing campaigns that brands like Coca Cola are launching. Coca Cola launched a new website  and content plan to achieve marketing success through 2020. Again, such campaigns need to be constantly and closely monitored so that they dont fall in the trap of previous soft selling campaings.