B2B Marketers Plan to Spend More on Content Marketing

WRITERS. DESIGNERS. The continuing growth of B2B content-marketing may provide new opportunities for writers, designers, and other content producers.

According to a study recently published by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93 percent of B2B marketers in North America are using content marketing. Seventy-three percent of these respondents are producing more content than they were a year ago and 58 percent plan to increase their budget for content marketing over the next 12 months.


Entitled “B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends–North America,” the report publishes findings from the fourth annual Content Marketing Survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. More than 1,200 B2B marketers in North America from diverse industries and a wide range of company sizes responded to the survey in July and August 2013.

Here are a few key findings:

Compared to last year, marketers are using more content tactics (13 compared to 12) and more social-media platforms to distribute content (6 compared to 5).

The types of tactics used has remained relatively constant. The ten most popular tactics are:

  • social media (87 percent)
  • articles on their own website (81 percent)
  • e-newsletters (80 percent)
  • blogs (76 percent)
  • in-person events (76 percent)
  • case studies (73 percent)
  • videos (73 percent)
  • articles on other websites (68 percent)
  • white papers (64 percent)
  • online presentations (63 percent)

ContentMarketingCoverThe number of B2B marketers using infographics jumped from 38 percent last year to 51 percent in this year.

Large B2B companies outsource content creation more frequently than small companies: 72 percent of large companies (1000+ employees) use a mix of in-house and outsourced professionals for content creation. Only 33 percent of small companies (10 to 99 employees) outsource some of their content-creation work.

Writing and design are the two functions most likely to be outsourced: 64 percent outsource writing; 54 percent outsource design; and 22 percent outsource editing.

Other functions that B2B marketers outsource include content distribution/syndication (30 percent), measurement/analytics (22 percent), content planning and strategy (8 percent), and the creation of buyer personas (5 percent).

The Organizations Behind the Research

CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE BOOK COVERContent Marketing Institute is a content marketing education and training organization. CMI teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling.

One way to learn what B2B clients are expecting to achieve with content marketing is to read the newest book by CMI founder Joe Pulizzi. The book’s title alone explains a lot: “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less.” 

MarketingProfs is a marketing education and training company that offers actionable know-how to more than 600,000 MarketingProfs members.

The research study was sponsored by Brightcove, a global provider of cloud services for video. Brightcove cloud content services can be used to operate video services across PCs, smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs.


B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America

About the Content Marketing Institute

About Marketing Profs

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less


The Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide Lists Eight In-Demand Jobs

TCG-Salary-Barista-Cover2The 2014 Salary Guide for professionals in creative and marketing fields is now available free from the website of The Creative Group. Entitled “Salary Barista,” the guide serves up fresh data on the average starting compensation levels for 134 different jobs.

The Design and Production category lists salaries for 34 jobs, including Creative Director, Art Director, Studio Manager, Medical Illustrator, 3D Animator, Package Designer, and Presentation Specialist.

The Interactive category lists 26 jobs such as Interactive Creative Director, Game Designer, Blogger, Motion Designer, Web Production Artist, Video Editor, and Mobile Developer.

The Content Development and Management section provides salaries for 15 positions such as Copywriter, Medical Writer, Curriculum Developer, Proposal Writer, Copy Editor, and Content Manager.

The Advertising and Marketing category includes salary ranges for 49 corporate and/or agency jobs. Agency jobs include President, Account Manager, and Social Media Account Manager. Corporate jobs include Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Director, and MarCom Specialist. Jobs that can be found in either an agency or corporate setting include Media Director, Brand/Product Manager, Web Analytics Specialist, Event/Trade Show Manager, and Market Researcher.

The Public Relations category lists salaries for 5 agency jobs such as Account Executive and VP/Group Director and 5 corporate jobs such as Public Relations Director and Public Relations Manager.

For each position, the guide lists national average low and high starting salaries. To determine the estimated salary range for positions in your city, use the “variance numbers” listed on page 12 and 13 of the guide.

For example, jobs based in Chicago have a 123.0 variance number; jobs in Fort Wayne, Indiana have an 81.0 variance number. If the national average starting stalary for a content manager ranges from $62,500 to $83,000, the salary range in Chicago would be 1.23 times higher (i.e., $76,875 to $102,090). In Fort Wayne, the salary would be 0.81 of the $62,500 to $83,000 range (i.e., $50,525 to $67,230).

Eight in-Demand Jobs

Salary Barista lists the eight most in-demand creative and marketing jobs and describes the required skills. The eight jobs include:

  • Digital Project Manager
  • Front-End Web Developer
  • Interactive Marketing Manager
  • Mobile Designer
  • SEO/SEM Specialist
  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • Web Content Writer
  • Web Designer

The guide notes a continuing shortage of creative talent with digital expertise, particularly in the field of mobile design: “Companies need people who can help them develop content for small screens…Responsive design also is becoming a greater priority for businesses that want to provide customers with optimal experiences on their devices and browsers of choice.”

According to a recent study conducted by The Creative Group, more than half (52 percent) of the 400 marketing and advertising executives surveyed said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today.

In a section listing five hot trends affecting hiring, the authors of Salary Barista observe that “Professionals with in-demand skills recognize that they have more choices in the current employment market and are open to pursuing new avenues, even if it means leaving a stable job. Consequently, managers are redoubling their efforts to retain top performers.”

Freelancers Bring Flexibility and Specialized Skills

To help manage heavy workloads and access specialized skills, organizations are bringing in freelancers more frequently (and for longer periods).

In a section that promotes the benefits of flexible staffing, the Salary Barista notes that, “The percentage of people who are working on a temporary or part-time basis is rising – for a variety of reasons. Specialists at very high levels often choose interim assignments over full-time work because of the schedule flexibility and diversity of projects this option provides.”

The “Salary Barista” 2014 Salary Guide includes

  • four characteristics to look for in creative talent
  • tips on preparing job offers applicants can’t refuse
  • statistics on perks and willingness to negotiate compensation

Starting Salaries Up for Creatives and Other Professionals in 2014

A division of the Robert Half professional staffing services agency, The Creative Group specializes in placing interactive, design, and marketing professionals on a project and full-time basis.

The salary guide for creative and marketing professionals was one of five salary guides released by Robert Half this week. Robert Half also released salary guides for professionals in accounting and financial services, information technology, legal services, and office and administrative support.

Overall, starting salaries for professionals in U.S. are expected to increase an average of 3.7 percent in 2014.

Technology positions are expected to see the largest gains among the fields researched with a 5.6 percent increase in the average salary for newly hired workers. Accounting and finance professionals can expect starting salaries to rise an average of 3.4 percent.

Salaries for professionals in creative fields in the U.S. are expected to be up by an average of 3.3 percent, as are starting salaries for administrative and support staff. The starting salaries for legal professionals are expected to rise 2.7 percent.

Robert Half has been publishing salary guides for businesses owners, hiring managers, and professionals since 1952. Ongoing salaries are not reported because salary increases are affected by factors such as seniority, work ethic, job performance, and training.


The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group

Robert Half

Robert Half Salary Guides

Is Your Business Card Sending the Right Signals?

Finding new ways to build a bridge between a printed piece and the online world was a key theme at the PRINT 13 Conference in Chicago last week.

One print-service provider that has built a bridge between print and digital media is All-State Legal, a Cranford, New Jersey-based printing and engraving company that has been providing corporate identity services to law firms and other professional services customers for more than 60 years.

The vizCards™ sold through their new Vizibility division use QR and NFC codes to add another dimension to traditional business cards. 

When someone you’ve just met scans the QR code printed on your business card with a scanning app on their iPhone, they will see a custom, mobile-optimized microsite, through which they can set up appointments with you, view a video bio, or link to your social-media profiles..They can also use your microsite to see if you have any LinkedIn contacts in common. 


Metal vizCards printed with NFC (near-field communications) codes eliminate the need to use a scanning app because NFC technology can wirelessly “beam” your vizCard link directly to whoever holds an NFC-enabled smartphone close to your card. You don’t even have to hand out the NFC-coded vizCards; you can keep them in your wallet or purse.

Newer smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry, and others all use NFC technology. (A new report from Strategy Analytics forecasts that one-third of all smartphones shipped this year will support NFC.)

One patented feature of the vizCard is a ‘Google Me’ button. Through this button, you can present five, hand-picked Google search results that will help bolster your professional credibility. The Google Me button eliminates a lot of the irrelevant information that might come up if your new contact did a Google search on their own.  

You can set up your account to receive real-time alerts when someone scans the QR code on your card. You can also enable your contacts to receive automatic updates when changes are made to your title, phone number, or other contact information.

Individuals can sign up for a free Vizibility account to test the basic features. Freelance professionals and small creative teams will want a $79/year subscription so they access features such as “Google Me” and include their brand graphics on the microsite. Larger teams and agencies can buy a flat-rate-fee subscription for all its members, then use the account administration tools to see which employees’ cards are generating the most scans, taps, and clicks. Teams can set up a searchable directory of vizCards for everyone in the organization.

Immediately before I left for the PRINT 13 Conference, Vizibility founder James Alexander sent some NFC-enabled vizCards to take with me, and explained some of the features of my microsite in more detail.

He pointed out that a vizCard expands the way your business card can be accessed. If you can’t give out a business card in person, you can include a link to your vizCard page in your LinkedIn page or your e-mail signature. From your vizCard microsite, your contacts can download and email a vCard that includes notes such as how and where you met.

Having smartphone-readable business cards can be an asset for freelance designers, writers, photographers, and other service providers because many companies now ask younger workers (Millennials) to locate and recommend experts for certain projects. These smartphone-loving digital natives are predisposed to find service providers who use the same tools they do.

If you’re an older professional, adding a QR code to your business card can help bridge the digital gap between generations. It shows that you care about keeping up with technology.

When I expressed concern about sharing all my LinkedIn contacts with someone I just met, Alexander assured me that my new contacts would only be able to view those contacts we have in common. He pointed out that conversations are fundamentally different when two people who have just met discover they both know or respect the same people. Knowing the same people can help get the conversation started, and we tend to let down our guard a little bit.

When I wondered what people at a trade-show for printing companies might think about business cards that ultimately could be carried and exchanged via smartphone, Alexander was quick to emphasize that “Printed business cards aren’t going away.”

“They are incredibly useful tools, and were actually the very first form of mobile marketing,” he pointed out. “Paper is a powerful technology. It’s always on. It requires no battery, and you never have to reboot it.”

“We look at the mobile business card as the third side of the business card,” says Alexander. “You have the front, you have the back, and now you have the link to the mobile-optimized page.”




TechCrunch: Old-School Printing Company All-State Legal Acquires Vizibility to Get Into Mobile Business Cards

Invoicing and Project-Management Systems for Freelancers

When you are new to freelancing, setting up a system to manage projects and finances doesn’t seem as urgent as getting your marketing efforts in gear. But if your marketing efforts generate a flood of new projects and inquiries, you may wish you had spent more time establishing a business-management workflow. It is definitely advantageous to have some sort of accounting system in place when prepare your estimated tax payments each quarter.

FreshBooks_logoTwo options that can help freelancers, home-based businesses, entrepreneurs, and other very-small businesses better manage their projects, invoices, and finances are FreshBooks and Sage One. 

I haven’t fully investigated all features. But I am providing some initial impressions here so you can determine if either option fits your business, budget, and long-term goals.

SageOne-logo-MediumFreshBooks and Sage One are both cloud-based services that are provided on a subscription basis. Both are designed for use by people without accounting backgrounds or a lot of spare time to learn complex software. Both services enable you to do such things as send invoices customized with your branding, track overdue invoices, and import expenses from banks and credit-card accounts.

While FreshBooks already has apps available for iOS and Android devices, both services will eventually enable you to access your accounts from laptops, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Subscribers will automatically get new features as the companies continue to refine their software.

The major differences between the two products come from their roots. FreshBooks, which was launched as a brand-new product in 2004, has a super-friendly interface that clearly reflects the design-firm experience of one of its founders. Sage One, which was launched in the U.S. in May, 2012, is the “very-small-business” edition of a family of accounting and business-management software for small to mid-sized businesses.. The Sage One service has an interface that means business. The smart dashboard gives you an at-a-glance picture of your income and expenses, account balances, and unpaid invoices.

Both FreshBooks and Sage One can help you be more productive and efficient in managing your time, projects, and money. They both can deliver the type of data you need to figure out whether you are just super-busy or super-busy and profitable.


FreshBooksSoftwareFreshBooks promotes itself as the “No. 1 cloud-based accounting solution designed exclusively for small business owners.” The company was founded in 2004 by a design-firm owner who wanted easy-to-use tools for time-tracking, invoicing, and expense management. FresBooks has been used by 5 million people in 120 countries.

I started using FreshBooks last fall for time tracking and and sending invoices. I first learned about FreshBooks when company co-founder Mike McDerment gave a presentation at the 2011 International Freelancer Day conference about how, when and why to hire your first employee.

One way to determine when it’s time to hire some help is to track how you are spending your own time each day.

When you audit your day and see how you actually spend your time, you will inevitably find certain tasks that you just aren’t good at, said McDerment.  As a solopreneur, you may find yourself spending very little time on your core competency (design, writing, photography) because so much of your time is consumed with administrative paperwork.

When you devote too many hours to tasks that are inefficient and distracting, you have fewer hours to focus on doing billable work–the type of work you most enjoy.

Time-tracking also matters to creative pros because we tend to be perfectionists by nature. Or, when we work on particularly engaging projects, we tend to get “in the flow” and lose track of time entirely. Either way, we often spend far more time on flat-fee projects than we originally estimated. As a creative pro who has worked with lots of other creative pros, the founder of FreshBooks seems to instinctively understand this. 

The time-tracking feature of FreshBooks has helped me understand why perfectionist tendencies can put my ability to earn a living as a solopreneur at risk. Getting sidetracked by projects that fascinate me robs me of time that could be more productively spent on networking, marketing, or working on other assignments.

The time-tracker has helped me produce more realistic estimates and avoid unprofitable, flat-fee projects that might consume more time than they are worth. Time-tracking also helps me see how much time I am actually spending writing each day.  

Another feature that attracted me to FreshBooks was the ability to send invoices in whatever form the client preferred. I can send invoices electronically, email them as PDF attachments to personalized cover letters, or send invoices via old-fashioned snail mail. No matter what form I choose, all of the invoices are tracked from a single point.

FreshBook offers the ability to:

  • Quickly create professional-looking estimates that can later be turned into invoices
  • Track hours spent by project, task, and team member
  • Set different hourly rates for different types of tasks
  • Automatically send monthly invoices to clients who pay on retainer
  • Set up online payments through PayPal or 13 other payment gateways
  • Track offline payments
  • Create team timesheets
  • Track unbilled hours

The FreshBooks app on my iPhone and iPad lets me scan printed receipts for easy attachment to expense reports.

As your business (and client list) grows, FreshBooks can be integrated with related business-management software such as MailChimp (for newsletters and e-mail marketing), Salesforce (customer-relationship management), or Sage 50 accounting software for small  businesses.

You can try FreshBooks for free if you fewer than 3 clients and don’t mind having the FreshBooks brand on your invoices. A “Seedling” subscription to FreshBooks costs $19.99 per month if you have up to 25 clients and a single administrator.You can upgrade to “Evergreen” ($29/month) and “Mighty Oak” ($39/month) plans with unlimited clients and the ability to manage team timesheets and team expense reports.



Sage One

SageOneDashboard-BSage One  is designed to help all types of solo entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, and freelancers take control of their finances and manage day-to-day operations without letting time-sensitive tasks fall through the cracks. 

Sage One can help with money management, invoicing, project tracking, task assignment, messaging, and reporting. It can help alleviate problems caused by disorganized record-keeping and redundant and inconsistent data entry.

Sage North America introduced Sage One software to the U.S in May, 2012. It is specifically designed for owners of very small businesses (from 1 to 9 employees) and is part of a family of accounting products for businesses with up to 500 employees. 

The Sage One product comes from The Sage Group plc, a long-time provider of the Peachtree accounting and business-management software for small to mid-sized companies. The Sage Group plc is a London-based company that has been in business since 1981. They have over 6 million customers in 24 countries. Sage North America is based in Irvine, California, serves more than 3.2 million customers.

Here are a few of the things Sage One can help you do related to invoicing and money management:.

  • Accept online payments through Sage Payment Solutions or PayPal
  • Categorize expenses using a customizable account list
  • Generate small-business accounting reports (profit and loss ,balance sheet, aged invoices)
  • Match and categorize recurring transactions
  • Record income and expenses for accounts
  • Review and resend unpaid invoices

To keep your daily work more organized, Sage One can help you

  • Create and manage tasks for your team and customers
  • Review due dates, estimates, and time
  • Access files and emails in one place anywhere, anytime
  • Keep files, messages, and correspondence organized for future reference
  • Review and track team activities

A monthly subscription is regularly priced at $29 per month ($24 per month until August 31). Readers of Creatives at Work can take advantage of a special offer for $15 per month.


Sage One

Discount Subscription Offer for Creatives at Work Readers

Preliminary Observations

If you decide to give Sage One  a try, I would love to hear your thoughts about it. I have downloaded a trial version, but haven’t yet set it up. At first glance, SageOne looks more versatile and robust than FreshBooks. And I am aware that I could use SageOne in conunction with a standalone time-tracking app.

But I love having the time-tracker within FreshBooks. Alerts warn me whenever I am exceeding the amount of time I allocated for a specific project.

Neither FreshBooks or Sage One will eliminate the need for accountants (particularly as your business grows). But they can help reduce the amount of time you spend preparing to meet with your accountant. And your accountant will love it if you have all of your income and expense information organized and readily available.

In fact, my contacts at SageOne tell me that a Sage One Accountants Edition is planned for release later this year. This module (free for accountants) will enable your outside bookkeeper or accountant to log in securely and review your financial records on the Sage One cloud platform. 

If you haven’t yet lined up an accountant for your business, the FreshBooks platform can help you find accountants in your area.

Setting up business-management software requires some time and effort, so choose wisely! Once you get a system set up for your clients and team members, you may be reluctant to switch.

Keep in mind that cloud-based software will continue to evolve. Developers of cloud-based software respond to requests from their users. So, once you get a system installed, you can always ask for new (or fewer) features.


Freelance Community Helps Match Qualified Creative Pros with Global Marketing Jobs

Full-time, freelance creative professionals who have the skills, multicultural awareness, and desire to work on global advertising and marketing projects should check out the innovative freelance job marketplace established by Creative Professionals Worldwide (CPWW).

Creative Professionals Worldwide is a web-based community of 800+ creative professionals in more than 45 countries. Members of the CPWW community represent more than 75 nationalities. Many have lived and worked in more than one nation.

Currently, most members have skills in graphics, photography, architecture, digital media, industrial/product design, video/motion, and writing. But the site also welcomes creative pros with skills in event management, social media, printing, illustration, packaging, project management, music and sound design, art, and branding.

Through the job marketplace on the Creative Professionals Worldwide website, companies can hire prescreened creative freelancers in countries around the world for global marketing projects and ongoing initiatives. Multicultural freelancers can help clients ensure that planned creative projects have multinational, cross-cultural appeal.

Discover a one-of-its-kind Community & Job Marketplace for creatives from Vanessa Moulédous on Vimeo.

Last week, I enjoyed a Skype conversation with the site’s founder Vanessa Moulédous in Paris. Before starting CPWW, she worked on global branding projects for a design agency in Paris. She started building an active worldwide community of creative professionals while living in Sydney, Australia and Copenhagen, Denmark. Now that she has returned to Paris, Vanessa is devoting her time to raising awareness of CPWW among creative freelancers and the global brands and agencies who can benefit from hiring them.

While the CPWW community is open to students, Vanessa said the job marketplace isn’t really geared for the part-time freelancers or hobbyists who bid for paying jobs through sites such as Odesk and Elance. While these sites offer an affordable way for small companies and solopreneurs to get help with specific, short-term tasks, these all-purpose freelance sites aren’t the most efficient way for agencies and corporate clients to find the super-skilled, dedicated creative professionals needed for larger branding and marketing projects.

To apply for freelance jobs posted on CPWW, you must have the types of business licenses and professional liability insurance that most agencies and global corporations require their contractors to have.

Another differentiator of the CPWW freelance marketplace is that it taps the collective wisdom of experienced creative pros to help clients find the best-qualified candidates. Instead of relying on human-resource generalists to judge which creative professionals might be best for a specific project, members of the CPWW community who have five or more years of experience in a given field can evaluate the qualifications of applicants for relevant assignments and privately recommend the candidates they believe are best qualified.

After the CPWW community recommends three top candidates, the hiring company can interview them and choose the individual they feel would be the best fit for their creative team.

As a creative professional, there are two ways to earn money from participating in the CPWW freelance job marketplace. First, you may get opportunities to work with big, global enterprises that can be difficult to sell services to on your own. Second, if you help the community evaluate and pre-select potential candidates for specific jobs, you can earn monetary rewards if your recommended candidates succeed.

Members of Creative Professional Worldwide envision building a globally integrated creative industry in which creatives are multi-skilled and the richness of the creative projects comes from the mix of expertise and profiles. If this concepts appeals to you, watch the video below, visit the website, and join the community!

Creative Professionals Worldwide- 2013 Crowdfunding campaign_Creative Freelancers supporting us! from Vanessa Moulédous on Vimeo.

Join the Community! 

Even if you aren’t seeking freelance work, you can still benefit from joining the community. Through Creative Professionals Worldwide, you can network with your counterparts throughout the world, share experiences, and ask for help. In some cities, community members are organizing face-to-face get-togethers.


Creative Professionals Worldwide

Predictions from Various Marketing Communications Experts

Are we all about to be buried under a deluge of content-marketing crap? Maybe. That prediction seemed credible as I read through dozens of the marketing predictions, trends, forecasts that were posted at the end of 2012.

In my opinion, freelance providers of writing, photography, videography, or design services should pay attention to marketing-communications trends simply because so many clients expect us to.  It’s particularly enlightening to search out insights, statistics, and forecasts from multiple sources with different points of view. The more you read, the more you see how the backgrounds and business biases of different sources affect what they are predicting.

Some trends that were mentioned repeatedly for 2013 included the continued growth of content marketing, visual communications, automated marketing software, and “big data.” Plus, now that so many of us repeatedly consult our smartphones everywhere we go, companies will focus on using mobile marketing in a more strategic and integrated way.

Below are a few specific trends and ideas that might help you identify where new opportunities for freelance services might arise this year.

 From IDG Enterprise

IDG Enterprise is a communications company that serves the information needs of the IT and security-focused audiences that read Computerworld, Infoworld, Network World, CIO, and other IDG brands. In 2012, they conducted a survey with the 30,000+ members of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn. The survey findings are based on the 740 responses they received over the three-week survey period. The report is entitled “B2B Content Marketing Trends.”

  • Content marketing is expanding dramatically in terms of tactics, forms, and volume of content; 84 percent of marketers say they plan to increase content production over the next 12 months. This includes 30 percent who plan to significantly increase content production.
  • Infographics is the fastest-growing format used by the IDG survey respondents, rising from 28 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in the 2012 study.
  • About one in three companies relies on external agencies and freelancers to create content.
  • The most outsourced form of content production is videos (33 percent), followed by white papers/e-books (32 percent) and case studies (26 percent).

From the Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is a leading content marketing and education organization that teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. In August, 2012, they teamed up with up with the MarketingProfs online community to electronically mail a survey to a sample of B2B marketers who are members or subscribers of MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute. The survey findings are based on responses from 1416 North American companies.  These statistics come from the report entitled “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: North America.”

  • More than half (54 percent) of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months. This includes 9 percent who say they will significantly increase their spending.
  • On average, 44 percent of companies outsource B2B content creation. B2B marketers still use a combination of insourcing and outsourcing to create content, but they are outsourcing it less frequently. The number of B2B marketers creating content in-house has risen by 18 percentage points.
  • Producing enough content is the number-one challenge faced by B2B content marketers (64 percent), followed by producing the kind of content that engages (52 percent) and producing a variety of content (45 percent).
  • The use of video is rising. From 2011 to 2012, the number of companies using videos as part of their content marketing programs jumped from 52 percent to 70 percent.

From Hubspot

20-Marketing-Trends-and-PredictionsHubspot sells all-in-one marketing software designed to make it easier for companies to get found online, convert leads into customers, and measure and analyze the results. They are masters at content marketing and have produced dozens of immensely helpful e-books and blog posts about website design, e-mail marketing, SEO, and how to get the most from various social-media networks.

These three trends were featured in Hubspot’s e-book “20 Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2013 and Beyond” by Jessica Meher.

  • Real-time marketing is in. Marketers will move away from short-lived, themed “campaigns” and use more real-time events and triggers based on inbound marketing activity. According to best-selling author David Meerman Scott, “In 2013, buyers instantly engage with brands on their websites, talk back via social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and follow breaking news in the markets in which they are interested.” As a marketer, “Success comes from engaging your buyers when they’re ready—not when it’s convenient for you.”
  • Content crowdsourcing will grow. Now that marketers have used social media platforms to build networks of fans and followers, Hubspot believes that marketers will leverage crowd creativity to build interesting and viral pieces of content.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. So that we all can absorb more information in less time, communications will continue to become more visual and less text-based. A lot of the content developed in 2013 will include infographics, photos, picture boards, and video.

From CEB Blog

The CEB (Corporate Executive Board) is a business advisory group that combines the best practices of thousands of member companies with advanced research methodologies and “human capital analytics” to equip senior leaders and their teams with actionable solutions for transforming operations.

In a blog post entitled “10 Marketing Trends for 2013 You Haven’t Heard,” managing director Patrick Spenner made these predictions:

  • Content marketing will experience a sophomore-year slump. “The shine will come off content marketing in some circles. Not because it inherently lacks merit, but because there will be execution problems.” He suggests that jump-on-the-bandwagon adopters of content marketing may lack some of the factors needed to make content-marketing successful: mandate, resources, energy, and savvy.
  • Countless, limp branded social efforts will be abandoned, countless more will be launched: Spenner contends that many brands and products don’t need a Facebook page, YouTube channel or LinkedIn group and many brand social executions have become lifeless zombies.

From Velocity Partners

Velocity Partners is a U.K.-based B2B content-marketing agency. On Slideshare, they published a presentation entitled: “Crap: Why the Single Biggest Threat to Content Marketing is Content Marketing.”

They predict that the growth of content marketing means that “We’re all about to be buried in crap” including:

  • “Me-too” blog posts
  • Three-sentence ideas pumped up into 36-page e-books
  • Video interviews that might as well be subtitled  “yadda-yadda-yadda.”
  • Microsites full of the obvious disguised as the profound.

As we get deluged with crappy content, Velocity predicts that “the people we’re marketing to will start to raise their barriers again.” So, marketers will experience diminishing returns from their content marketing efforts. Velocity believes that “The winners in the Post-Deluge era will be the companies that build something precious.”



Here’s what I think: Anyone who opens e-newsletters or browses online news feeds can see how much repetitious, formulaic crap content is being produced. And yes, we are starting to tune a lot of it out.

Personally, I hope companies will think twice before churning out more cheaply produced content just for the sake of trying to generate “enough” content.  I admire agencies that are actively recruiting the most talented, tech-savvy creative pros they can find.

In 2013, I predict that the quality expectations for all forms of content will rise.  And, companies who aren’t afraid to innovate in the production of original, visually appealing, and useful content will succeed in getting noticed.

For proof, check out how the people are reacting to BMW’s amazing interactive “Window into the Near Future.”

New World of Work Requires Attitude Shift

Technology and changing business practices have fundamentally altered the way we work, build careers, and search for talent. While other parts of the world have caught on to this movement, the U.S. seriously lags behind when it comes to understanding this revolution and what to do about it. That’s the theme of “The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud”, a new book written by Tim Houlne and Terri Maxwell and scheduled to be released by Inspire on Purpose Publishing on January 1, 2013. Houlne and Maxwell believe that those who embrace the new world of work can succeed in jobs without boundaries or buildings.

Although the book isn’t written specifically for creative professionals, any writer, designer, or photographer who does freelance work can benefit from understanding some of global workforce trends presented to hiring managers, marketers, and project managers in “The New World of Work.”

The authors contend that competing in this new world of work requires a fundamental shift in thinking.  Once you can see and accept how work requirements have changed, you can create a better career for yourself.

For example, the authors envision a world in which professionals who have the right mindset and skills can choose jobs they are passionate about rather than settling for whatever jobs exist within a 50-mile radius of their homes. They write that when we create our own jobs, “We can put together workstreams of projects that we enjoy, rather than being forced to do tasks considered part of the ‘other-duties-as-assigned’ aspect of our job descriptions.”

The Global Talent Competition

The book explains that after the 2008 economic meltdown, our global economy spawned an entirely new way of organizing work. Work has been fractionalized, careers have been virtualized, and talent has been globalized.

“Routine work has been broken down into small tasks,” says Houlne. As a result, most companies will be hiring fewer full-time workers and outsourcing more routine tasks as contract projects.

Cloud technology is “virtualizing careers” by enabling professionals to work anywhere. The combination of fractionalized work and virtualized careers means that smart businesses can get talent from anywhere and at any time. They aren’t limited to hiring the best-qualified applicants who live within a 50-mile radius of their offices.

“While this is clearly an advantage for those businesses that can adapt, it is an even biggest opportunity for professionals who learn how to complete effectively for this work,” says Maxwell. “And, in a world with no boundaries, learning to compete for this work is paramount.”

Houlne and Maxwell believe that the speed of business and technological change has outpaced the ability of many workers to adapt, resulting in a mismatch between work and the skills required to fulfill the demand for certain jobs: “The jobs are there—in fact, businesses are crying out to fill them—workers just need to gain the necessary skills and attitudes to make those jobs their own.”

They point out “Work has spread across the globe because companies can source talent easily, and talent will compete for the work–not based on price, but on the quality of their work.”

Even though this means we all may face stiffer competition from others, some companies will compete for the best talent by providing interesting projects at competitive pay.

Stop Blaming Others and Move On

In the book, Houlne and Maxwell say it’s time to stop blaming corporations or the government for not protecting our jobs. Instead, we must accept that something much bigger is going on, set aside our fears, and prepare for the future.

They point out “The lack of good jobs is truly the most pressing issue in the industrialized world, but this challenge can easily be solved if companies and workers begin to think differently. The work still exists, but the jobs we once held do not.”

In the book, the authors present a roadmap for navigating the new world of work. For starters, they recommend that you start thinking more about the type of work you are most passionate about and the types of roles in which you can be most effective.  “Professionals who want to compete in the new world of work have a huge advantage if they can stop worrying about their jobs and build new career strategies.”

About the Authors

Tim Houlne is CEO at Working Solutions, a virtual agent and technology solutions provider in Dallas Texas. Terri Maxwell is a consultant to businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate growth. She has built numerous successful companies and created the Succeed on Purpose business incubator in Irving, Texas. Together, they have 50 years of leadership experience.


The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud

Website and Blog: The New World of Work