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Content saturation poisons the internet. How can B2B marketers survive ?


What’s wrong?

The number of WordPress pageviews peaked in March 2017. But content saturation put an end to the feast. Engagement dropped with nearly 50% compared to 2015. Producers of posts, videos and infographics stall against a wall specialists call the  “Content Shock”. Have we come to a point where content marketing is no longer economically viable?

Some facts

1. Listicles are less effective

Understanding the dynamics of e-marketing, means understanding the trends that influence on marketing. Listicles, e.g., seem to be less effective. Listicles are articles written as a list. Most of them have headlines that read like: “The 7 surprising habits of highly effective managers” or “5 tips to become a better PR pro” or “These are the most engaging headlines”,…

Listicles and their clickbait like headlines have been very popular and very effective in content marketing. Listicles are easy to read and, let’s be honest, easy to write too. The Guardian published this article in the heydays of listicles: 2013. But lately there has been a sharp decline in their effectiveness.

2. Media hypes make it hard to stand out

Let’s grab an example you’ve all experienced. GDPR is everywhere. My mailbox is poisoned with information and promotion. I can get free advice, free webinars, free trainings, free information on GDPR everywhere. Even in the MeetDistrict, where we keep our office. The moment the topic became significant, it was all over the media. This makes it extremely difficult to stand out. The typical life cycle of a media hype starts like this. The expectations are really high. After the hype comes the disillusion, followed by a time in which the subject will find its normal place.

Where GDPR is an obvious example, let’s look at some less popular ones. As a b2b communication professional, I did research on online marketing plans of interior design professionals. In 2016 less than 2% of b2b companies had a content marketing strategy. By the end of 2017 nearly 98% pointed out that content marketing would be a priority in 2018. Most of them planned social media posts, blogposts and newsletters. The expectations are really high. But it is pointless to say that many other markets have the same plans. And even more pointless to point out what this will mean to the information overload we already experience online.

3. Private surpassed social media

The big winner is private sharing. According to Business Insider, social messaging apps now surpassed social media apps. Private media apps are WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat and Viber, a.o. The long term effect is not clear yet, but already the peers move toward the bigger premium platforms.


Qualitative media prevail

Whilst most posts are hardly shared or liked anymore, Forrester shows us the rise of the qualitative media and brands. The Economist and the Harvard Business Review, just to name a few. In B2B too, serious platforms with high-end content and no-bullshit content are rising. As influencers, these b2b platforms are more niche oriented. They may have fewer followers, but they are far more effective for B2B content.

B2B marketers will need more skills and more budget

The good news is that the true marketer is back in business. People who understand about marketing, communication and powerful creations have just got their jobs back.

The bad news is that the budget-free times are over too. Greater competition means greater creativity. It means branding becomes more important and as we all know, branding is not for free. Premium or native content on qualitative websites will re-become the first choice of all marketers, b2b and b2c.