Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Nenad Senić
One of the speakers coming to the 9th POMP forum, in late September in Ljubljana, is Lazar Džamić, who together with Justin Kirby released a book this summer, The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing: Perspectives, Issues, Challenges and Solutions. This was a great opportunity to talk about content marketing.
What in god’s name is Content Marketing?
There’s not just one generally accepted definition. In my new book, together with my co-author Justin Kirby, I defined four areas that are used today in trying to define content marketing. The one definition I believe is most realistic is that marketing with branded content is what consumers would like to see from brands – all the brand content that consumers are actively paying attention to. So it’s not just what disrupts consumers in what they are doing and what is believed to be noticeable. Pull, not push. Content should be a comprehensive philosophy of a company, not just a tactic. That’s why we use only the term Content in the book, with the capital C, wanting to make a difference between the principle and what is being mediated.
How much has content marketing actually changed corporate communications in the last 10-15 years?
Lazar Džamić: I don’t think it’s just about the last 10 to 15 years. We can say that modern marketing in electronic media actually started with the focus on content (radio lemonades of the 20s of the last century, or the Michelin Guide before that), while advertising came about as something that interrupts content transfer. It was created in a way that allows media to earn more money from more advertising. This change is of a psychological nature: consumers don’t perceive content marketing as advertising if it is created with quality. Also, it does not include the same psychological restrictions, since it is something usable, entertaining and interesting. As Ken Auletta put it, content is an attempt to mask advertising as “natural” media content that will outsmart the filtering radar of consumer psychology. I think a period of quality content marketing is just beginning, primarily because today’s entire media space is digital, and because we live in the sea of messages in which it is increasingly difficult to attract attention – attention must be earned. It has never been easier to ignore brand messages as it is now on digital screens.
Mindset of marketing departments in Europe is still more or less campaign oriented. Content marketing has been largely taken over by PR departments. What does that tell us?
It tells us that the industry is divided into kindergartens and can’t find its way in the world of digital meta-media space. Campaign is less and less a mode of acting of smart marketing experts, because there’s a growing part of marketing that is “always on & real time”. Deep branding can now be realized through the entire consumer cycle, not just at the beginning, although our business models, cultures and organizations are still lagging behind. There is no rule saying that this must be something usable, or even boring, but that execution of it, which is tangible, must be expensive. PR and media agencies and innovative marketing consultants and You Tubers have understood that, and started to dine in traditional advertising agencies.
How will the industry develop in the next 5-10 years? Which skills and knowledge will be needed to communication experts in organizations, and how can agencies help them?
Based on more than 60 interviews with well-known names in our industry from around the world, and based on my own experiences in London and Google, I have no doubt that the effectiveness of traditional advertising will generally decrease while the efficiency of quality content marketing will increase. I emphasize “quality” because that’s not the case today. 19 out of 20 pieces of content marketing is currently ineffective because it is tactical and void of strategy. Thus, both clients and agencies will have to learn how to navigate at the different speeds required to understand and create content marketing for different parts of the consumer’s journey, and how to creatively combine different disciplines that have so far functioned together. The biggest obstacles to this are the current business models and culture.
Have advertising agencies adapted to that, and should they?
Some yes, but many still haven’t. Honestly, many of them understand what they need to do, but they are limited by the current business model, the way they made money so far, and the fact that some holding companies demand profits every quarter. Various agencies and agency groups are experimenting with different recipes, there is no single new model. In addition to business models, it is often a problem that only a small number of people in marketing know how attention on the Internet works.
Content marketing should have a strong strategic role in an organization. Still, currently it is mostly interesting to communication experts, while executives mostly don’t care or are unaware of the concept. Should they know? And who should educate them about the fact that today we are all more or less storytellers? And are we actually all storytellers?
Of course we are, and we have been storytellers for quite some time. When we solve the basic logistical problems, such as distribution and the like, everything that remains is the story: the logo, advertising, public relations, corporate social responsibility and internal communication. A brand is always a promise, and the promise is always more a story, because the technological parity of products is increasingly equalizing. As the efficiency of the old model of disruptive advertising decreases, the quality storytelling of the company’s purpose and its philosophy in a credible way and the creation of good user experiences will become more and more important. Today, content is not just a communication strategy, but a business strategy.
You lecture at the Belgrade Faculty of Media and Communications. What is your message to the youth?
That they shouldn’t choose marketing. They should open their own company, or start a project that will deal with the issues of our world. Knowledge in the field of commercial and marketing communications can be of great help to them, either to hire talented collaborators or to attract investors. If they still opt for marketing, they will understand that some of the first decisions or compromises they will have to make will be of an ethical nature. And they should be ready for that.
You’ve recently published a new book. The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing: Perspectives, Issues, Challenges and Solutions. What is the main message of the book, and for whom is it intended?
The book talks about why we should tackle content marketing, not how we should do that. It talks about the philosophy of approach, why content marketing is the most cost-effective alternative to the fall of the advertising-based models, and communications centered around interrupting consumers in their consumption of the media. The book also discusses how different dynamics change the ways in which agencies and media change their business models, the biggest ethical challenges in content marketing, and how new empathic spaces, such as augmented and virtual reality and smart virtual assistants, absolutely reject advertising by principle of interruption, and introduce content marketing almost as the only modus operandi in these spaces. The book is created as a starting point for everyone who is interested in content marketing and the development of contemporary marketing, no matter where they are employed and what they do.