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Content marketing has been around for quite some time in analog form –think direct mail, product catalogs and brochures. The growth of social media as a marketing and direct communication channel has propelled modern, digital content marketing to the forefront. This has led to a “new paradigm” for how SMBs build their brands and reputations through closed-loop communication channels. The consumers’ voice has a new found importance and SMBs need to be there to listen.

BIA/Kelsey Senior Director of Industry Strategy and Insight Abid Chaudhry has written our latest Leading in Local Insight Paper, Content Marketing: the New SMB Paradigm. In the paper, Chaudhry argues that the growth of content marketing derives from changing consumer purchase behavior. He also describes the new ecosystems that has emerged to create and distribute original SMB content.

BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey showed SMB advertisers are more engaged with content related media channels which leads to more involvement with online content marketing. As a result, SMBs are engaging more with their consumer audiences in two-way conversations.

Content Marketing Graph 1

The executive summary for the report is below along with video clip from a recent BIA/Kelsey analyst roundtable we did on the topic. The report is available to BIA/Kelsey clients as well as for individual purchase.


Executive Summary

Content Marketing has always been around in some form. It’s the collection of techniques and practices marketers employ to get relevant content in front of the right audiences. During the pre-internet dark ages content marketing came in the form of direct mailers, brochures, product catalogs all designed to capture audience attention and drive it to some form of call to action (usually to fill out a form or pick up the phone).

The purpose of content marketing hasn’t changed much since then. The way it is created, distributed, and tracked has drastically evolved. The modern content marketing campaign is now multi-channel — combining offline and online media to drive highly targeted messaging to consumers, on whatever screen or device they happen to be on at the moment. SMBs have taken to the new content paradigm with gusto, with 74 percent reporting that they used some method of content marketing to promote themselves online in 2013.

While SMBs have been quick to embrace the content switch over from offline to online, content marketings relative importance within the broader digital marketing mix has taken time to evolve over the years.

Trevor Sumner, co-founder and CTO of LocalVox, noted that there have been multiple factors explaining why SMB content marketing has recently regained important. One is the movement toward original content and media. Suddenly SMBs have direct lines to their customers. What are they going to say?

Other factors, notably the rise of social media and rapidly increasing mobile device usage, have also played key roles in re-establishing the importance of content marketing with both driving massive growth in both content creation as well as consumption.

This BIA/Kelsey Insight Paper dives into SMB content marketing. It examines the market and technological factors that have led to content marketing’s resurging popularity with SMB merchants and the companies, technologies, and products that support them.

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