Amanda Lukas_FA

AKHIA is at Content Marketing World this week! Below is a dispatch from Change Agent Amanda Vasil and Lead Content Strategist Lukas Treu, highlighting some insights from Day 1. 

Joe Pulizzi, the father of Content Marketing Institute, kicked off this week’s Content Marketing World 2015 in Cleveland with a very real, grounding statement: We’re approaching, if not already in, the “Trough of Disillusionment”.

Surveys show marketers are skeptical about the effectiveness of their content efforts. Many people are trying content marketing with high hopes, but they’re not seeing the engagement they expected. Professionals are confusing short-term campaign-based marketing with long-term content marketing endeavors and they’re not looking for the right kind of ROI as a result. Many are told by agencies that “going bigger” is the solution, but it often isn’t (even if they COULD justify more spend). There are great successes… But there are disappointments, too.

Too negative a tone to set within the first 30 minutes of this exciting conference? Maybe. But let’s put what Joe said into context.

We’re well on the path of marketing transformation, with content at the core of all strategies and tactics. When we started, expectations were low and we were excited by technology and possibility. But expectations increased as we began to implement and see results, almost to the point of inflation. Now that we’ve peaked, we’re seeing that not every objective is being met, not every program has positive outcomes, not every stakeholder is 100 percent onboard.

So, maybe we are in the Trough of Disillusionment. But what that really means is that we’re taking off our rose-colored glasses and recognizing that now more than ever, it’s critical that we set goals. That we ask questions. That we measure. That we don’t act like machines pumping out piece after piece, but that we critically think about which efforts will have the most lasting effect.

We’re moving into what Joe calls the “Slope of Enlightenment.” It’s a time for enhanced education. And we’ll eventually end up in the “Plateau of Productivity,” where we find the right balance of input, output and results.

We’re getting there. Really, we are!

So back to that negative tone. John Cleese joked (go figure) in his closing keynote that the state of the world was hopeless… But is it really? Is that what #CMWorld 2015 is all about? Not even close. It’s been one of the most candid, optimistic discussions of content marketers from around the world considering things like passion, skill and truly, honestly making a difference.

If there is one message that’s ringing loud and clear, it’s that our world is getting smaller. Content Marketing World is bringing professionals together from more than 50 countries. Content is aligning marketing and corporate communications and sales and product managers and human resources.

So then are we the center of it all? Nope. But you already knew that. It’s CUSTOMERS that drive everything we do. It’s through them that we meet business goals and provide value.

And that was all just from Day 1 of the #CMWorld main conference. More to come after we soak up the “content” from Day 2!

Amanda is Change Agent and Lukas Treu is Lead Content Strategist for AKHIA.