Successful inbound marketing agencies like SPROUT Content have enjoyed years of consistent growth as the business world has become more and more convinced of the power of inbound marketing. We’re glad to have ridden that wave so far, but we’re not growing complacent at all.
2016 is going to be a make-or-break year for inbound marketing agencies across the globe, and only the strong will survive. Consider it survival of the fittest, and natural selection can be mean!
Here’s what we expect to happen in 2016 as natural selection takes on inbound marketing agencies:
Fly-by-night agencies will disappear
Notice, I didn’t say “small agencies” or “freelance agencies” will disappear.
Snicker if you like, but when it comes to inbound marketing agencies, size really doesn’t matter. That’s not what this is about.
While SPROUT Content has proudly grown to a healthy small business with headquarters in Florida and Colorado and three new hires joining us in the weeks surrounding the new year, we also know of plenty of one-person freelance agencies that are doing incredible things in the inbound space.
At the same time, there are huge companies with dozens of employees who are producing crap for their clients at incredible scale.
We predict that in 2016, those inbound marketing agencies who are only in this to make a buck and who aren’t willing and able to give their clients the absolutely top value for every action they take, simply will not survive.
Those fly-by-night shops are dinosaurs, and they’re going extinct.
Content for content’s sake will finally be eliminated
Culling out the poor producers in the inbound space will instantly result in a refreshing decrease in the overall volume of content being produced. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to be tough to notice the number of new blog posts drop from 58 billion to 55.6 billion, but you should be able to see a tightening up and thinning out of the overall content glut.
This allows for higher quality content – you know, the stuff you actually want to see when you perform a Google search – to rise to the top and take center stage.
Unfortunately, even though it’s been proved wrong so many times in the past, a lot of businesses, and even some unqualified content marketing “experts”, believe that quantity is the real key to inbound marketing success. They feel the more content you push out there into the universe, the more successful you’ll have to be.
And while quantity is a factor to consider, it pales in comparison to quality by every measurable standard there is. Once natural selection works its magic on inbound marketing agencies, the ripple effect will vastly improve content quality as well.
B2B will catch up to – and even surpass – B2C in marketing excellence
OK, I’ll admit, we might be a little biased in this regard because our agency specialty is teasing out compelling stories from B2B clients in traditionally “unglamorous industries”. But the trend is already well under way, so it’s not just us.
Since the days of the mad men, consumer products like fashion, cars, electronics, and other retail items have always made up the sexy and alluring side of the marketing industry. B2B has always played a very distant second place in terms of how interesting and lucrative it is to create marketing materials and messages.
But inbound marketing is absolutely perfect for B2B, especially in those seemingly boring industries, because when it’s done right it focuses the spotlight on details that have never been discovered before. It helps breathe life into brands and products that have always been taken for granted in the past. And it thrives on creating interest and perceived value where previously there was just a commodity.
So we fully expect that B2B will be the growth sector of the year, and probably for years to come as well. Not that B2C marketing will fade away at all, but B2B is just going to close the gap like it never has before.
Now, what can an inbound marketing agency do FOR YOU in 2016?
Frankly, that’s up to you.
If you’re interested in loading up your blog and every social channel there is with tons of content just to make sure everyone everywhere sees you all the time, then there’s not much an inbound marketing agency can do for you. You may be able to get that handled for a few months but honestly your agency of choice may disappear before the second quarter is done.
If, on the other hand, you’re interested in investing in quality content, strategically developed to bring to light the most compelling stories your brand has to offer, and especially if you’re in a B2B industry that most people consider to be unglamorous, then inbound marketing could do wonders for you in 2016, and we’d like to be the agency to prove it.