It’s the biggest buzzword in marketing today—but also the most over-hyped.
Indeed, for all the promise of “content marketing,” it’s not as easy as it seems. In a recent poll, a full 43% of B2B marketers, for instance, cite content marketing as an effective tactic for lead generation. But 43% also say it's also one of the most difficult.
It's also not always as effective as you might believe. According to eMarketer, developing the right content for the right audience is a major factor in why content marketing efforts fail to get desired results.
Indeed, despite today’s emphasis on all things digital, 84% of marketers develop old-school print brochures as #1 in their lead generation efforts.
Not that that's bad. Print does have a place as a delivery mechanism for some forms of content marketing—if anything, it's gained more cache in the digital age. But it's just one of many.
SO WHAT'S WORKING?
In this recent appearance on the The Jim Blasingame Show, I attempt to demystify content marketing.
Some of the other top content forms will obvious to you, others maybe less so. Either way, any conversation with Jim means you’re going to have some fun along the way.
Of course, since Jim’s show is targeted to SMBs, our conversation is focused more on marketers who hope to gain traction in the marketplace without big-brand budgets.
But as you'll hear, whether it's big brand or small, one thing is clear: For all the time and money spent developing content to draw in prospects, a growing number of marketers are realizing they most overcome one cold, hard fact: Nobody anywhere is waiting around for your content.
This audio Q&A might help you find new ways to change that.
Maybe it says something that I leveraged a tagline from a 30-year-old TV campaign in referencing GE.
Still (maybe the last) bastion of what passes for mass media these days, TV remains supreme. But i may no longer possess the power to embed a tagline deep within the Limbic system the way it did during GE's "Bring Good Things to Life" era.
Nonetheless, GE, which has sported another tagline - "Imagination at Work" - for many years now, is finding digital fertile territory on which to tell a broader story about what it offers the world, offering opportunities TV never could.
Which is saying something. GE isn't exactly a consumer brand, after all. Beyond light bulbs and appliances, it is the driver behind next generation technologies for everything from jet engines to healthcare. And yet GE is scoring in social and mobile, with 4 million monthly followers across platforms ranging from YouTube to Instagram, and from Snapchat to Yo.
And as ADWEEK reports, it's now using another digital medium - virtual reality, or "VR" - to enable folks to take a deep dive into its technology for undersea oil exploration.
Visitors to its research center in Rio de Janeiro can strap on Oculus Rift headset and sit in a sensory-enabled chair and enjoy a simulated underwater experience.
"One of the challenges that we have is that we operate in locations and environments that not many people get to go to," Katrina Craigwell, GE's global manager of digital marketing, said in a keynote address at a recent mobile marketing event, as cited by the pub. "With things like the visual content on Instagram, video and now virtual reality, we have been able to take people to these environments and bring them into the world of GE."
Neat for visitors. Neater still when these kinds of experiences become broader social experiences for folks far from her brands Rio research hub, through the power of tomorrow's technologies.
Some of them, perhaps, created using GE's own innovation.
Jonathan Becher is one of the most tech savvy corporate CMOs today; one listen to my first conversation with him, and that much will be crystal clear.
And like me, he's a firm believer that distinction between B2B and B2C marketing are now non-existent – and that now more than ever, B2B marketers had better wake up that fact and start marketing to business audiences the way, say, Coca-Cola and others market to consumers.
In this GEN WOW guest post, Becher explores the power of marketing intel in achieving blockbuster business results.
Turbocharting Business Results through Marketing Insights
When apparel retailer Gap releases a new clothing design, marketing
analysts look to a key customer segment as an early indicator of the
product’s popularity: the people who work in its stores. “Our employees
are also our target audience, so we know quickly by those first-day
employee purchases if we have a hit on our hands,” said Seth Farbman,
Gap’s global CMO. Based on those early results, marketing can rapidly
adjust promotional campaigns or merchandising can change the mix of
inventory in stores to accommodate anticipated demand. “The data is
irrefutable because it’s real,” says Farbman.
The constant flow of information across a business has created an
opportunity to increase the pace of decision making, to observe and
react in the moment – just like humans do. Marketers are looking beyond
examining historical data to predict the future. Instead, they are
turbocharging the analysis of real-time data from a variety of sources,
including social media and website activity, to deliver personalized
in-the-moment engagement, promotions, and, ultimately, sales.
Capitalizing on insights is one of five key responsibilities
that marketers must embrace to transform the marketing function into a
strategic business driver. Here are four key foundational elements you
will need to put in place to capture – and act on – insights in real
Plan for spontaneity. The foundation for Oreo’s seemingly spontaneous ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet during the blackout at this year’s Super Bowl was laid well in advance. Parent company Mondelez created 78 dashboards to capture social media conversations
about the Super Bowl and the Mondelez brands that were advertising on
the broadcast. Shortly after the power went out at the Superdome,
analysts noticed the chatter on Twitter and Facebook had shifted to the
blackout. Within minutes, Oreo’s digital agency had created a snappy
post, which generated 15,000 retweets on Twitter and 5,500 shares on
Accelerate your analytics. Real-time
marketing requires real-time decision making, not just big data.
Businesses are looking for ways to reduce the time between collecting
the data and acting upon it. Procter & Gamble, for example, has
invested in a “visually immersive” data environment, called Business Sphere, which delivers constant streams of business intelligence
to employees around the globe. Ask yourself whether you’re focusing on
warehousing your data or capitalizing on the insights it contains.
Curate content, not just collateral. Research from technology publisher IDG
found that IT professionals typically consume five pieces of content,
created by or on behalf of the vendor, before they speak with a sales
representative. But those pieces of content can’t be the same; they must
match the buyers’ needs at a given moment. For example, someone who
posts a query on a community site about cloud technology will likely
balk at an immediate sales pitch – but appreciate a link to a blog post
that talks about overall trends and best practices. Early-stage content
builds credibility – and possibly an opportunity to engage more directly
down the road.
Know your customer before they are your customer.
Customers have more choice than ever before, are better informed than
ever before, and their opinions count more than ever before. Customers
spend 50% of their time researching online and 70% of their decision
making is complete before they speak to a sales person. If you are
waiting for them to walk in your store or meet with a sales rep, you are
too late. To make matters worse, 80% of customers have reversed a
purchase decision based on a negative review. Imagine the impact a
company can make on its bottom line if it understands the customer and
start creating an experience for them earlier in the cycle.
Are you still marketing based on last month’s reports or are you ready for real-time? I look forward to your comments.
Join Jonathan and other senior agency- and client-side marketers to talk about this topic and more at our new GEN WOW LINKEDIN GROUP.
It's 2013: Do you know what your digital marketing's up to?
Here are five quick resolutions for the new year. Like lots of behaviors, these are practices we know we should keep - like eat less, move more - but rarely do. All of us are guilty of bypassing these common sense rules from time to time.
So if we do just five things this year, let's resolve to:
5. Not Ask How - Ask Why
I said this in a recent post on social media trends for 2013. But it's really true of anything we do. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times at agencies and client-side brands throughout the land: Let's do "X" - insert your digital buzz word du jour here - not because "X" is central to a brand's objectives, but because it's considered cool. But saying "we need a mobile/social/viral strategy is akin to saying "we need a brochure strategy," or a radio strategy, or a signage strategy. These are channels & platforms, not strategies. First figure out what you have to accomplish, then decide which approaches and channels will get you there. It's so simple, yet we all get caught up in coolness from time to time.
4. Know thy customer - and thy channels
On that note, as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, insight comes before inspiration. Today's most successful digital marekting initiatives typically don't come from a great idea for some hip new experience, or a me-too approach to major trends. Instead, they start with consumer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, what they're all about, how they interact with consumer technologies, and what they want from the brands they know and trust. Just look at the work Unilever's done over the last few years with the Dove brand's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and all its crazy ass work for Axe - including everything from QR code peep holes in bathroom bars to faux "Shower Together" PSAs. These marketers have a firm read on their customers and the channels with which to reach them. In 2013, look for social + mobile + local to be a key to accomplishing this.
3. Always commit multi-plat-fornication
Innovate through as many channels and platforms that make sense for your strategies and audience. It's what MTV calls "multi-plat-fornication." As I show in the book, MINI USA has made an art form of this, using insights on its "fun-tech" loving audience and how they congregate online to use numerous approaches - branded games, especially, but also things like RFID-based key fobs that enable roadside billboards to call out to passing drivers by name - to actually enlist customers to market the cars for them. And Coca-Cola has raised the bar over the last year, with everything from branded iPhone apps to the Polar Bears' social stunt at the Super Bowl to its Kinect-Powered Vending Machine, to a magazine-ad-turned-mobile-stereo-speakers and much, much more. Small wonder the brand has been named "Creative Marketer of the Year" for the 2013 Cannes International Advertising Festival.
2. Honor traditional as the sizzle to digital's steak
It's heresy these days to point out the obvious. In a fragmented media universe, the channels that still attract any semblance of "mass" are more powerful than ever - with TV being exhibit A. For all our gadgets, we're watching more TV, not less. And whether it's "Walking Dead" or "Dancing with The Stars," TV has communal power like nothing else. As a result, many of today's most innovative integrated campaigns use traditional advertising - old school TV, print, radio, etc - to build awareness and then point consumers to deeper, richer, more meaningful experiences online, or via mobile and other digital platforms. Again, Coca-Cola's Polar Bear stunt at the Super Bowl immediately comes to mind, attracting over 9 million consumers who spent an average of 28 minutes with the brand. And Doritos has effectively done all this in reverse every year, with its Crash The Super Bowl user-generated ad contest - with the chance to work with director Michael Bay at this year's bowl.
1. Never put "buzz" before "business"
Obviously digital marketing is about endless and innovative experimentation. If it were as easy as creating any old viral video, branded game, or mobile app to generate enough buzz to bring in business for our brands, we'd all be rich. For many lifestyle brands, this kind of experimentation is enough - especially in categories where an aura of hipness is a prerequisite for sales success. But while there is obviously a lot of fun and games in all this fun and games, it's important - critical - that we approach digital initiatives with specific objectives in mind (see resolution #5).
As Harley-Davidson's global CMO Mark-Hans Richer puts it to Ad Age, "This is a new gold age for marketers. The shackles are off, and the possibilities are nearly endless. If we aren't conducting radical experiments, trying new ways to engage our targets and adding value to them, then we're not doing our jobs."
But, he adds, "It's not about chasing the buzz; it's about chasing the biz." Marketers who get this formula right - by fueling innovation through substantive consumer insights - weill thrive in the on-demand era.
Those who don't will have to settle for some fun - but ultimately fruitless - experiments.
In part two of my interview with Jeff Hasen, author of the new book MOBILIZED MARKETING: Driving Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices, we dive into the latest trends and statistics in mobile marketing.
Along the way, Hasen will start helping us cut through the hype and misconceptions that are holding many marketers back from taking full advantage of the mobile revolution.
Listen to what he has to say here, and then check out the book here.
I like this video infographic for the state of social medias in 2011.
Admittedly, however, like a lot of these video infographs, its style suggests more than it actually signifies.
For instance, does it really mean much that there are more Facebook users than there our cars? I assume they mean cars in US. And either way, does that mean anything, since the barrier or entry is a click versus tens of thousands of dollars.
And LinkedIn having more users than the population of NYC is cool, but likely includes duplicate and unclosed accounts against a global user base. Likewise, having an account and really using it in a meaningful way are two very different things. That's true of all social media platforms.
And some data points are simply dubious. "More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years." What is the definition of "more"? Minutes of content? I'm doubtful even that's true - "created" is different than "broadcast" - and even then, if there are billions of minutes of video that nobody's seen on YouTube, does that mean anything compared to TV content seen and enjoyed by billions and billions of people?
Still there are some fun insights. I am always amused by the lack of adoption for LinkedIn among people over 55. People in that age group are the fastest growing segment of social media users, and yet LinkedIn simply has no appeal to them. Ask anyone that age and they simply do not understand why LinkedIn would be of value, unless they're looking for a job. Just an interesting dynamic for a demographic that's as all-in - maybe more so - than even 18- to 24-year-olds.
Anyway: Some really good stuff, though some of it - like a lot of hype around social media - needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
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