Shifting Focus: The New Content Strategy
In a world full of content, yours needs to stand out. It must deliver powerful, connected experiences that engage, delight, and ultimately, sell. This content series showcases the strategies and approaches to delivering content that will drive your brands’ performance.
This blog post has been contributed by Samantha Romano, Market Research & Trends Specialist, SGK.
As part of an overall marketing strategy, content has been traditionally thought of and managed tactically: a list of deliverables for a campaign or product descriptions for a website. While applying general marketing thinking to content may have worked in the past, with e-commerce continually on the rise and social media having become a ubiquitous part of the marketing ecosystem, this is no longer the case.
Strategy is now everything when it comes to content, and it must be targeted and specific to be effective. For content strategy to work, marketers must make a fundamental shift: content marketing is no longer about managing your brand but rather about leading a brand experience.
Forrester studies support this new focus:
“Making the transition to effective content marketing involves a cultural shift in the marketing organization, from pushing product-centric messages at customers to pulling customers in with valuable and useful content. To keep focused during this journey, marketing leaders must have clear goals aimed at customer behavior and relationships.”
Rich content created specifically for your consumer’s experience is the fuel that will drive the change from traditional brand management and marketing approaches to something more relevant for your target audience.
WATCH: SGK Content Solutions
But figuring out the strategies for building that brand experience can be tricky, so we’ve broken down six key marketing shifts that can help build an experiential content approach:
1. Shift Your Mindset
Instead of considering your brand another asset to be managed, imagine potential interactions with your brand and how you can engage and delight your consumers through these interactions. According to AdWeek, “Customers aren’t looking for brands to define their journeys, they want brands to design experiences that help them create their own journeys.” By putting your customer at the center of this experience, you can elevate not only brand interest but also brand engagement.
2. Shift Your Objectives
Don’t just push products. According to aforementioned Forrester study, marketers should realign their content objectives to move away “from pushing product-centric messages at customers to pulling them in with valuable and useful content.”
3. Shift Your Communications
Brands need to move away from one-way push messaging towards an open dialogue with consumers. According to the aforementioned AdWeek article, “This fundamental shift away from traditional communications modes to interactive conversations will enable marketers to drive new levels of personalization, trust and, ultimately, more fulfilling experiences.”
Customer-controlled conversations across paid, owned, and earned media (e.g., social, user-generated content) help keep the interactions between brands and consumers open and at your consumers’ fingertips.
4. Shift the Frequency
Campaign-driven communications with rigid timelines fail to engage in the content space. Instead, opt for a more holistic schedule that is always-on and is adaptable to engagement levels.
5. Shift Participation
When developing a content strategy, you need more input than just the marketing department. By engaging leadership, asking for employee inputs from across your organization, and asking for employee ideas and sharing them, you can gain better insights into your brands. The Content Marketing Institute recommends: “Putting your brand’s entire team—no matter the department—onto the task of helping with content can make a big difference. It might even end up launching creative avenues you never expected.”
6. Shift Measurement
Revenue growth is always a key measure of any marketing campaign. But when it comes to content, you need more insights than revenue. Measuring lifetime customer value and the emotional resonance of content campaigns offers more valuable insights into the effectiveness of your campaign. Further, a CMI article states, if you “tie your (content marketing) KPIs to…specific goals, so you can gain insight into how well you’re progressing toward them.”
By refocusing your strategy to address the specific demands of content, marketers have an opportunity to build new engagement possibilities with consumers. If you make some key shifts in your approach, you can achieve the holy grail of all brand marketing: consumer loyalty.
About Samantha Romano: Throughout her career, Samantha has provided a range of sales enablement, marketing, and research support to drive marketing and business development teams. With a central focus on written communications across her 18-year career, her goal is to rid the world of bad grammar, one comma splice at a time. In her current role with SGK as a content development specialist, Samantha researches market and consumer trends and translates those insights into thought leadership and other materials that drive brand harmony. Samantha holds a M.A. in Writing & Literature from DePaul University.
Delivering Enhanced Customer Experiences with SGK
With the continuing rise of connectivity, consumer interactions are increasingly splitting across channels, devices and tools. Integrated marketing communication is essential to maintain control, loyalty, and drive results.
This evolution has led to a more fragmented customer journey than ever before, and that doesn’t stop at purchase. As a result, customers are no longer following a step-by-step process of viewing an ad, clicking through to a landing or product page and completing a sale. Consumers are more likely to come in contact with your brand well in advance of purchase through a series of interactions.
If knowing what those interactions are is key, then understanding what the experience feels like, from the customers perspective is crucial, as they are more likely to share a poor experience than a great one, which may impact the way others view your brand or consider future purchases.
Welcome to the experience economy.
At SGK we understand integrated marketing, and the challenges marketers face, regardless of your approach.
WATCH: SGK Content Solutions
If Multichannel is the perspective of the brand, and Omnichannel is the perspective of the end customer, it’s all about understanding how humans work, think and behave. To create the right experience, brands must firstandforemost understand the customer, the customer journey and the paths they take within that journey by putting the customer at the heart of the decision making process.
A journey map could include: product/service experiences, channels and touch points, persona narrative, UX flow, emotional journey maps, and blueprints.
By understanding the customer journey, brands can:
- Identify top goals
- Find opportunities to connect
- Account for each audience
- Create better content
Below, we have identified four considerations brands can take to successfully execute their content strategy:
Deliver consistent, refined content marketing messages, intelligently & in an orchestrated way.
The content model is the backbone of adaptive, cross-media, omnichannel content strategies. Once your content strategy is in place, consider your business strategy, brand experience, customer experience and consumer experience — then you’re ready to go!
Consideration 1: Have you created the right, cross-functional governance team to ensure sound operations to deliver an enhanced customer experience? Who’s responsible and accountable at each step of the way?
You have? Great! Then it’s onto creating your content. It’s not just about creating better content, content that is engaging, relevant, of the moment and resonates, but content that is also adaptive.
Consideration 2: Think about the content you're creating and how it will be utilized across various channels and media.
Adaptive content has the ability to break up into re-usable, well modelled content components then assembling (and re-assembling) while serving it in a more intelligent way. The more you can adapt, the more realistically you can deliver tailored, high-value content without running out of budget, resources, or time.
Consideration 3: Through ‘Test & Learn’ you can always improve your content as you go but you can’t improve the experience if the Omnichannel framework if it's not in place or indeed well orchestrated. Quite simply, if the customer is at the heart of your Omnichannel strategy, then the orchestrator is the heart of the Omnichannel framework optimizing the content ecosystem.
At SGK our Client Solutions Consultants will help you identify who or what that orchestrator or orchestration looks like. Be that a team or single person within your organization or an outsourced model through SGK.
Do something different — create unique, interactive customer experiences.
As brands move from a model of shouting at their customers in several different ways with all their content through all channels, to designing an experience, doing something different can make you stand out from the crowd and put you head-and-shoulders above your competitors. Offline experiences, in a world where online is prioritised, can often be overlooked. Pack interaction is a huge opportunity area for brands to engage and collect data from customers – it also connects physical and digital.
Consideration 4: SGK believes that connected experience activities are the future of how brands will (and are) engaging with their audiences and there is a unique opportunity to revalue packaging within brand marketing. Afterall, the growth of the ‘Internet of Things’ will activate 7 trillion pieces of packaging that exist in the world!
The new creative technologies of VR and AR and beyond will add stimulating new opportunities for brands to engage further with pack as media — creating longterm content journeys that build over time, and transform the pack into the most powerful ‘owned medium’ that brands have available to them. The ‘instrumentisation’ of packaging allows unpredicted measurement of brand and product usage across the consumer experience.
Build robust, reliable technology to boost innovation.
As we’ve discussed, customers should be at the heart of the content experience. Technological advances are getting closer to putting customers at the heart of the content experience —achieving this by leveraging AI and adaptive experiences like AR and VR to streamline content delivery. Microtagging and metadata have also made it easier to create unique experiences.
Brands must understand how consumers work, that they are in fact human and are all unique. Doing everything to ensure that the right content is in the right place at the right time across physical and digital locations for that unique, personalised experience is fundamental to success.
With a solid brand strategy and framework in place, your brand can create a way for amicable coexistence with your customers. The user experience can be addressed through journey mapping — which also feeds into the required design to deliver the journey. With the right technology underpinning the process, your content is garaunteed to be in the right place, at the right time and on budget. The success of a brand depends on consumer trust. For the successful execution of your content strategy, you can depend on SGK.
3 Ways to Connect Your Marketing Content
The modern path to purchase consists of thousands of channels. From in-store, to social media, packaging to out of home advertising — customer journeys are incredibly complex to follow.
Brands are finally providing genuine reasons to connect, from relevant product content to immersive brand experiences. That’s why connection is key to driving growth.
Connected experience design uses technology to connect the user from a physical environment to a digital, branded environment — providing richer and deeper customer experiences throughout the path to purchase.
By connecting all touchpoints, brands can optimise their media spend — redirecting budgets from traditional channels into more efficient and targeted connected activities. In the past, consumers have lacked the applications and technology to connect and were often not sufficiently motivated to engage.
The marketplace has changed, and adoption is at an all-time high.
Here are three ways brands are leveraging adoption to deliver connected activities:
Connected packages are imbued with sensors and connectivity in the form of codes. Through these innovations, packaging will be multifunctional and potentially offer a key product component while maintaining consistent messaging throughout the customer journey.
A cereal box that comes out every morning can deliver a different experience each day and as we start to deliver more experiences using AI, custom content becomes available based on location, time of day, weather, and topical news. The opportunities are vast.
In the retail setting, consumers are increasingly expecting immersive in-store experiences. Connected retail is the content between multiple touchpoints within the retail environment including displays, POS, and advertising campaigns.
Connected experience is the connection through the customer journey and is increasingly a focus area for brands and with that a desire to find real value for the consumer. For the first time, brands will understand a clear picture of the product journey beyond the shelf.
Below are three reasons to connect your marketing content:
1. Drives high levels of brand engagement in real-time by targeting buyers/users
2. Enables brands to get noticed and stay competitive by promoting purchase incentives — keeping up with the mass appeal of connectivity
3. Exceed digital category averages by creating distinctive communication assets with fewer resources and budget
Connectivity isn’t just delivering reductions in technology and implementation costs — organizations are also seeing the opportunity to optimize their entire marketing supply chain. These new ways to connect will help brands cater efficiently and effectively to their consumers.
From Physical to Digital: 3 Ways to Connect Your Marketing Content
The modern path to purchase consists of thousands of channels. With unprecedented competitive pressures — retail channels, ecommerce sites, and private label — brands are increasingly challenged and are now navigating many uncharted waters.
From in-store, to social media, packaging to out of home advertising — customer journeys are incredibly complex to follow. The way we consume digital media is changing, and brands are finally providing genuine reasons to connect, from relevant product content to immersive brand experiences.
That’s why connection through content marketing is key to driving growth.
At its core, content marketing is all about creating content that helps the consumer understand your product or business better. Through the various forms of content, brands must be careful to execute in a way that does not interrupt the journey and provides consistent messaging that ultimately delivers value.
Effective content marketing covers all stages of the customer journey — from awareness to consideration, decision to advocacy. For each of these stages, consumers require different content to meet their needs.
In the past, consumers have lacked the applications and technology to connect and were often not sufficiently motivated to engage with brands. However, the marketplace is digitally advanced, and adoption is at an all-time high. By connecting all touchpoints, brands can optimize media spend — redirecting budgets from traditional channels into more efficient and targeted connected activities.
Here are three avenues brands are leveraging to deliver connected activities:
Packaging. Physical products connected to the internet offer dynamic consumer experiences at the point of consumption. Connected packages are imbued with sensors and connectivity in the from of codes. Through these innovations, packaging will be multifunctional and potentially offer a key product component — generating data as it move through the supply chain and into the hand of the consumer.
For example, a cereal box that comes out every morning can deliver a different experience each day. With the help of IoT and artificial intelligence, brands can create custom digital content based on location, time of day, weather, topical news. The opportunities are vast!
Retail. With ecommerce nipping at the feet of successful retailers, getting noticed is more difficult than ever. While consumers are increasingly expecting immersive in-store experiences, mixing your brand message while staying consistent, fresh and interesting is a tall order. To create retail experience that impact modern consumers, brands are getting creative.
For sneakerheads, that could mean a brand takeover or a pop-up — leveraging light, space, and interactive experiences.
Image credit: IDL Worldwide
Experience. IoT technology presents a huge opportunity for brands to engage directly with consumers throughout the customer journey. Harnessing meaningful data is increasingly a focus area for brands to meet the demand to provide real value for the consumer. For the first time, brands have a clearer picture of the product journey beyond the shelf.
When a consumer is actually holding your product, they can learn vital information like: where is this product from? Is it genuine? How can I re-order? How was it made? What rewards does it unlock? What is in it?
In essence, you are opening up a two-way media channel with your consumers where you deliver content and experiences and the consumer provides feedback, which leads to further innovation.
By leveraging technology, brands can connect the user from a physical environment to a digital, branded environment, providing richer and deeper customer experiences throughout the path to purchase.
Here are four benefits of connecting your marketing supply chain content:
- Builds direct-to-consumer relationships through product engagement
- Understand how, where, when products are being used
- Keep pace with consumer demands for transparency, personalization, and sustainability
- Stay competitive by leveling the first-party data playing field
By optimizing the marketing supply chain, drive high levels of brand engagement to targeted buyers/users. Creating meaningful digital content will help brands cater efficiently and effectively to their consumers.
Content Marketing: What it Means for Brands in 2019
This blog has been contributed by Lian Stevenson, client solutions engagement manager, SGK.
Content. Do you really know what it is and what it means for your brand? When you think about the customers shopping for your brand, have you considered what that journey looks like?
We live in a world overrun with so many different channels, all demanding some kind of content. During that path to purchase, a customer will touch or see your brand a multitude of times and that content experience is a key influence to driving sales.
Consistent messaging across a variety of channels can improve purchase intent by 90% and brand perception by 68% and 1 in 3 consumers will choose a different product to their intended purchase as a result of poor information.
That demand for content is giving brands a challenge. A significant increase in content spend when budgets are increasingly being reduced or restricted.
For many brands embarking on that content journey or even if they have a degree of maturity along that journey, they all acknowledge that their content could be better, but their challenge is knowing where to begin to improve it. Start by asking ‘what content do you produce?’ and whilst this might appear to be a relatively simple question, what we often get is a response that is fragmented, incomplete and inconsistent. In most organisations content and product data in general is dispersed throughout multiple internal business systems, partner networks and supply chain networks.
Some of the most common observations we’ve found include:
- Different definitions of what is considered to be content within an organisation
- Many departments work in isolation
- Each department will create their own content based on their own needs, strategy and budget
- Different partners and agencies create content
- There is no single source of created content (multiple locations, drives, systems, sharepoints)
- The same or similar content is created by different departments
- Brand integrity is diluted
- There is no single owner of content
- Global processes are even more complex
The digital marketing solution to this growing content demand is not about creating more content, it’s about how you can make your content work harder.
How can you create one piece of content and then repurpose it for use in other areas? This could be as simple as taking one product shot in multiple formats that will enable you to use it across different channels. Sounds simple enough but in order to do this you have to rethink your approach to digital content.
It has to be an organisationally collaborative approach that defines and aligns four key areas:
Brand strategy: the value proposition for each market segment
Brand experience: the feelings the brand wants to inspire people
Customer experience: the sales channels in which the customers interact with the brand
Consumer experience: the end consumer’s interaction with the brand
When we talk to our clients about Content Optimisation, we work with them to dissect and break down their content journey, or Ecosystem. We start with the journey of the end customers and the touch point they interact with.
By looking at who is involved in creating content, the systems in place to manage, hold and deliver content, the content channels and the end users, it seeks to identify, in detail where the problems lie and its route cause in order to build the framework and solution to deliver improved content.
A common question we get asked is whether we can build a DAM system for a client’s content. We can of course build a DAM, but we first have to understand what it’s intended use is. As we work with them look at their content ecosystem and their content journey, the end solution is often very different.
Only by truly understanding your content ecosystem can you start to build the foundations for a more focussed, structured, centralised, streamlined and ultimately improved content strategy.
So, as you think about creating a new piece of content, think about it in the context of your Content Ecosystem and consider how it can be leveraged across the organisation and make it work harder.