By Geoff Livingston, Capitol Communicator Media Strategist

Content marketing has been the industry’s hot trend for two years now. Most die-hard evangelists say it is the future of marketing, while more conservative voices see it as a dressed-up iteration of marketing communications. Others would say it is a more understandable term for inbound marketing.

A recent study from content marketing aggregator Content.ly showed that while the trend is hot, budgets for content “only” comprise 25% of the marketing budget. In its analysis, AdAge was quick to note, the trend doesn’t match the hype.

But I couldn’t help but think that 25% of a marketing budget is a pretty big chunk of change. Think about these other marketing cost centers: Salaries, advertising, PR programs, interactive and technology.

Now, content marketers might lay claim to some aspects of these budgets, but I think most traditional CMOs would see them as separate. Just because content may be promoted through ads, does not make a content marketer a media buying specialist, nor should they be viewed as an advertising copywriter or graphic designer.

Perhaps content marketing is pretty saturated right now. While adoption may increase, the trend is actually cresting. We are not quite at the apex, but we are rapidly approaching it.

That of course begs the question of what is next. In most circles it is contextual marketing or experiential marketing, creating a killer user experience from start to finish. Most people see data fueling the contextual customer experience, allowing brands to create buyer journeys that include marketing, store experience, Internet/mobile experience, product/service experience, and finally word of mouth when discussing with other customers. The end result creates word of mouth and brand loyalty in an unprecedented manner.

Whether this customer experience revolution is truly the next marketing boom or not, one has to wonder how much more growth content marketing has to experience. Only time will tell.

What do you think? Is the content marketing trend coming to an end?

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