With the advent of AI and voice activated technology, marketers still struggling to create content that performs

With 50% of all consumers expecting to use AI and voice-activated technology in the coming years, B2B and B2C marketers must be preparing to adopt new technologies and content development strategies in a post mobile world, that includes voice search, artificial intelligence (AI) and holistic strategies that integrate SEO, SEM, social media and content marketing.

"Marketers looking to prepare to merge into an AI–first world are going to need to begin by making sure they have the same consistent message across devices, at the very least," said Michel Kant, SEO manager of Staples Europe. "If you don't have that in the near future, it will be like not having a mobile optimized website or good content marketing strategy now. It will be very costly to step up that pace."

BrightEdge surveyed 252 digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands that represent a split of B2B and B2C companies over a one-month period in April and May of 2017 and found that roughly 66% of marketers having no plans to begin preparing for voice search. Further, the survey suggests that only 31% of marketers believe it is the next big thing. Additionally, 32% of respondents believe artificial intelligence (AI) is the next big thing but 57% are not likely to implement any element of artificial intelligence (AI) this year.

The survey also sought to understand how marketers are preparing for the accelerating consumer adoption of AI, voice search, and local search over the next year. The survey discovered that marketers recognize the AI, voice and hyperlocal revolution is here, yet, are still not planning to adapt their marketing strategies.

This leaves brands at risk of failing to meet consumers rising expectations.

Although marketers are behind the curve of implementing specific strategies rooted in AI, voice and local, the survey did reveal many Fortune 500 in-house and agency content marketing teams are taking increasingly holistic strategies to integrate SEO, SEM, social media and content marketing.

"It's a winner-takes-all in the post mobile world and marketing departments are adapting to changing consumer behavior," said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge.

"To thrive in a world where 'search is everywhere,' marketers must understand customer intent and use it to drive content strategy. That's exactly why marketing departments are integrating SEO and Content Marketing into a single function - it will drive better interactions, and thus better results."

The 'future of content marketing' survey also offers insights to how brands are using content to interact with consumers. Significant shifts are taking place at the hands of the consumer. Consumer-lead strategies are the wave of the future, and their expectations are higher than ever.

The report notes that marketers recognize the need to create content that's effective for local and mobile audiences, but again, are falling short of implementing the impactful strategy. Of the respondents, 71% reported that less than half of their content is consumed. Fewer than nine per cent of those surveyed experienced three-quarters or more of the content they produce engaged with although B2C saw better odds of content consumption than B2B. The top three types of content created most often are blog content, social media content, and videos.

With 51% of marketers noting that creating and optimizing content for local markets is "very important" or "a priority" in 2017, about half of the respondents do use data to drive content strategy. This could explain the recognition of AI, voice, and local search impact, but illustrates the slower progress in its application and execution in content.

An overwhelming majority of marketers –– 97% of those surveyed –– agree SEO and content marketing are converging, or have already converged. In line with these findings, content and organic are considered to be the most important initiatives for marketers this year. Conversions, followed by engagement, and then traffic accounted for the top three answers respondents listed as the most important metrics of success for content performance.

"The availability of data out there and the ease of use of analytical tools has changed both our strategy and execution of it," said Daniel Mooney, director of Digital Analytics at Wiley, agreed marketers are migrating toward an SEO-forward content strategy. "The biggest thing we're doing now is thinking about the application of the research up front, not SEO as a strategy after launch."