Brands Are Missing The Point Of Content Marketing

Chris WrenDecember 9, 20162333 min

Technology has liberated so many frontiers. We used to work at work; now we work anywhere and on any device. We used to watch television; now we stream video on-demand. And the examples go on and on.

Marketers used to tell stories (mostly) via a handful of dominant print and video channels; now the channels are many and diverse. These fundamental changes have inspired innovation and invention in ways that should elevate the brand and customer experience. But, have they?

Ana Andjelic explored the current state of luxury brands and asked “Why aren’t their brand stories better?” Ana came to a profound conclusion. She observed, “Instead of a brand spirit speaking the language of a modern audience, we got content strategy. Instead of a brand point of view expressed through enduring aesthetics, we got temporary campaigns shot by the latest photographer du jour. Instead of being inspired to tell their own stories, we got influencer marketing programs.” And while the history and legend of luxury brands gives them an abundant source-well from which to build story, her observation can apply to nearly any brand.

In a September article, Tom Goodwin opined that “We’re at peak complexity. And it sucks.” He was talking about digital transformation specifically, but he might as well be talking about the modern world. Enter marketing technology — especially marketing automation. Like any new technology, there is a rush to implement quickly as there is great promise marketers will “be able to do more with less.” Sadly, many marketers are just doing more, and this is the problem.

“More” Is A Strategy

It’s easy to be seduced. The possibilities for pushing content to more touchpoints increase daily. Platforms in the cloud, social media channels, and other innovations allow marketers to automate processes, and scale programs – usually with a few simple clicks. These programs need content in order to thrive. Their appetites are voracious, insatiable really.

A couple of times per year, Loggerhead Sea Turtles lay many thousands of eggs on the beaches along the Southeast shores of the U.S. Only one out of every one thousand of the hatchlings will live to adulthood, so “more” can be a “successful” strategy. For sea turtles. According to Sirius Decisions, 70-80% of B2B content is never used. So why does it get made in the first place?

Usually the misstep lies in not understanding the correct approach. Too great an emphasis is placed on what the content is and what it says; too little emphasis is placed on the vehicle used for reaching the customer and the specific business outcome the content is supposed to achieve. The idea of nurturing a relationship and what it means in the customer experience is obscured by the speed of execution.

Less Requires More

When the time has been taken to understand customers’ pain points, triggers, and content preferences, marketing technology can both help propel the brand story and purpose in ways that can be automated and scalable. As long as the brand is mindful that the technology needs to be used in the best interest of the customer (and not in terms of what it can do for marketing), it is a win-win situation. Keep this in mind:

  • What content do your customers like? Different stages of the customer journey are met with different content form-factors.
  • Where do they consume the information? Content types need to be positioned in channel-appropriate ways. The flipbook you promote on Magazine may not work as well when offered in a Facebook feed.
  • What does their journey look like? Describe the goals, objectives, and triggers that make sense to move customers towards a purchase decision.

It’s all too easy to be a brand of “more”. Instead, be a consistent brand. In an era dominated by fake news and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to be true to your purpose.

The Blake Project Can Help: Content Strategy Workshop

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