“The biggest challenge is that we are moving from an industry that could create one amazing commercial to reach consumers to an ecosystem with a diversified channel structure,” according to Mike Scafidi, marketing operations with PepsiCo.
His commentary was presented in a white paper titled The Future of Content co-produced by The Content Counsel and an AdAge team that writes sponsored content for brands. The paper is based on a combination of a survey of approximately 500 marketers and interviews from a number of people, like Mr. Sacfidi, from large consumer brands.
The top challenges and goals identified in the survey – producing quality content consumers find engaging – are consistent with other content marketing studies. Yet the paper also surfaces the underlying driver of the shift to content marketing.
“Content not only has to be engaging, relevant and customized to the channel but it also must increasingly be timely,” the paper says, citing Chris Lorence, CMO with the Independent Community Bankers of America.
From micro-trends — to the micro-moments that add up to trends, marketing today amounts to a wide variety of small opportunities across a diverse set of unique channels. Marketing isn’t harder or easier than in previous years, but it is, in a time where people avoid, ignore or block advertisements as The Economist noted, substantially different.
Success in ‘different’ requires continuous fine tuning amid the dynamics between channel, quality and scale.
The Secret to Scale is Employees
In a phrase, as the paper suggests, “Marketers looking to reach consumers in new ways.” New ways underscores “different” and the way to succeed in “different” requires fine tuning, perhaps for eternity, the dynamics between channel, quality and scale.
Here are three suggestions for navigating “different” in content marketing:
1. Drop “going viral” as a goal. Focus on consistently producing the types of content that gains continuous traction. If a brand focuses on viral, it’ll wade through disappointment after disappointment before, if ever, achieving viral success. Focus on base hits not homeruns and what we learn in the process over time, will bring us far closer to viral than an outright declaration.
2. Frictionless content. Visibility is a commodity and absent rare exceptions, very few businesses will have content, tips or ideas that cannot be found elsewhere. As marketers we instinctively want to put a gate on content as a means to measure short-term impact. However, the content playing field is so wide, and so vast, it’s often easier for a consumer to bounce and provide another source an opportunity to earn a micro moment of trust.
3. The secret to scale is employees. Most brands want to control every aspect of public communications and I am increasingly convinced businesses cannot compete effectively in this way. Brands need to facilitate a culture of content, attract and retain those that excel in this skill, and find ways to train and activate the employee base.
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A post by PRNewser’s Patrick Coffee – The 3 Biggest Challenges in Content Marketing – tipped me off to the study; the primary research is only available to members, which will run an individual at $500 per year to join. What’s your take?
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