Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Primož Inkret
A horseless carriage. That’s what they used to call the first cars. They spoke similarly about television, describing it as a radio with picture. The Internet is so young that we still don’t know what its real name is. Similar is true of the content marketing that is less than a decade old, both as a notion and as a name, and therefore everyone understands it differently. Some, including myself, understand it as a revolution in contemporary communication, others perceive it as an article or a blog post, the third as an interpretation of the old advertising principles in a new way.
What is a comprehensive approach to content marketing and why is it so important?
We have many different views on the understanding of the term content marketing, and that is why we will simply skip the part where we dissect it. To establish the context of understanding the comprehensiveness of content marketing, it is enough to agree that content marketing is changing, developing, becoming more complete, involving more and more media and tools, and is able to provide answers or help in effectively communicating with target groups across the consumer journey from the initial desire or an issue they want to solve, to constant cooperation, or loyalty.
Marketing and advertising are changing in similar manner. They are becoming more content intensive, and it could be said they are approaching content marketing, because slogans and beautiful images are no longer sufficient. They are facing extinction as the key model of communicating with potential buyers.
Content comprehensiveness first delighted me exactly ten years ago, when I read an article about an interesting content campaign for the promotion of new album by Nine Inch Nails in the Wired Magazine. The article was written by experienced journalist Frank Rose (a few years ago he had a lecture at the POMP Forum in Ljubljana), who studied back then completely new marketing areas then refused to be just classical marketing, but was based on strong engagement of target groups, extremely interesting content and gamification. The article briefly talks about the way of placing content across different media. For example, concerts were explained as POS (point of sale) websites, with social media support, and the article talked about the incredible engagement of the most loyal fans (buyers) who based on collective knowledge and competencies can help solve demanding puzzles, and gladly engage with content prepared for them by the clients: musicians. Back then, this “new technology” was called ARG – alternate reality games.
Interestingly, such a way of comprehensive communication in the outset is far removed from the traditional media in the classical form (through ads or ad content), and in the center of it is a content concept.
It is about the strategy of what we want to say, to whom and in what ways, and about the extremely tactical plan in which we will realize it. Of course, with the help of the media, owned or paid, using the Internet and todays social media which thanks to internet’s giga speeds (even faster than light) can spread both information and stories quicker than any other media in history.
However, in such a comprehensive view of content communication, the first thing to choose are not the media, because the content is not done directly for the media. The concept and content are initially media neutral, clearly focused and then spread through a mass of various existing, or re-invented media. At the center of it is the remarkable content which can produce the desired engagement effect within the selected target group, and engagement today is considered the holy grail of digital communication, or first and foremost communication via social networks.
Clear and unconditional customer focus is the first and at the same time a fundamental condition for the complete realization of content marketing. Thus we get trust, credibility and, consequently, loyal ambassadors, engagement and all the other KPIs with which we measure good communication today, and, of course, a clear link to business success.
Sounds simple, but it is not. Experiences say that every man needs a counselor because it is hard to see things objectively from our own pair of shoes. Reflection on needs and content is a key item that determines where you need a consultant: an agency, a group of loyal customers …
Understanding the term engagement, as a humble coin, has two sides: one is the side of our customers, and the other side is of our co-workers. This is what we call retention, best described by Gallup’s survey of engagement indicators. It’s a topic also written by Robert Rose, another speaker at the POMP Forum, in his book on experiential marketing, as the next step in marketing development and the total experience concept. Both are prerequisites to delight our buyers, and form a long-term relationship with them.
When we look at content marketing as a whole (if we want to achieve results, it’s essential to understand it as such), it’s not just a communication strategy and its realization, but also the transformation of the value and culture of the enterprise. It is the focus on really helping our customers, where we are completely focused on them (exemptions and problematic customers will always exist, but we don’t focus only on them).
When something is comprehensive, it usually becomes bigger, we might even say unmanageable. Here it would be good to recall that advice on how to eat an elephant. The correct answer is: in parts. We already know that it will be necessary to upgrade the organization and competencies, include the leadership for strategic support, look for outside help, and, above all, work differently and more interesting than before – contentful.
Numerous examples suggest that even in the most rigid organizations, through various tactics, you can make great changes. British Public Administration entrusted its project of digitization and simplification to a specialist who has not only become the leader of a department in the large administration, but has had the ability to influence every part, process and department, and the results were quickly visible.
In the American corporation, Kraft Foods, the leader of content marketing was almost fired because they didn’t see the value of her work. Julie Fleischer was so persistent that she went from department to department and assured them of the importance of content. During a period of two years, content marketing department was placed hierarchically above all the other departments of communication and advertising in that corporation.
More about content marketing can be found at www.p-m.si