Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Lazar Dzamic, creative strategist and lecturer at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade
When Justin Kirby, of the BOBCM fame, and I had embarked on writing the ultimate strategic book on Content, little did we expect what will happen: that we will have a glimpse of nothing less but the outlines of the future of marketing.
After all, we wanted to be broad and deep from the beginning; we interviewed around 60 of the well-known names in our profession, from Tom Goodwin (who eventually wrote the foreword), to the ad contrarian Bob Hoffman. Faris Yakob landed a hand, as well as prof. Mark Ritson and many others It was the ultimate name-dropping fest. It was also the ultimate journey of understanding.
What we learned fundamentally changed how we view Content. Why I’m using just one word to describe it, instead of the usual monikers will be explained in a second… We wanted the book to touch upon current problems with defining the discipline, to hear from those who believe in it and those who don’t; to investigate the ways key industry players are changing because of it, and because of other, wider, dynamics driving the digital media landscape.
To give you just a taster of our findings, here are a few conclusions, representative of several key areas we have investigated in the book.
The ‘Why?’ is becoming more important than the ‘How?’
To quote Simon Sinek, and Dave Packard before him, starting with the above question of ‘Why?,’ much of the ‘How?’ of Content could be answered too. The confusion, the divisions, the controversy, were all reduced. We firmly believe now that Content should be an ethos and a way of thinking, a broader view of the ways to earn consumer attention in the attention-scarce world. It doesn’t seem to us an isolated discipline anymore, something that should be placed in its own department. It should not be a tactics, maybe not even a strategy, but a philosophy that should fuel everything an organization does at all points where it touches the consumer. It particularly should not be a set of quick and dirty tactics, a ‘solution,’ as it is often the case today. It’s not yet a replacement for advertising, but it could make it better. Content is a key lens for keeping the customer in the center of the picture and for allowing brands to meet them at the ‘intersection of permission and desire.’
Content is a symptom of the evolution of marketing
It reflects deep and wide evolutionary trends in modern marketing and, as such, it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to define beyond glibness. Any attempt, bar one, we’ve seen in the book, reduces its scope and is detrimental to its potential. Branded Content is equally imprecise as Content Marketing. That’s why we adopted just the word ‘content’ with the capital ‘C’ to denote the principle, as opposed to delivery. The exception is the above-mentioned ‘philosophical’ one, focused on customer experience: most of those we talked to agree that good Content has to earn the attention of the audience. It’s pull, not push. It provides a good Value Exchange, it’s empathic. It makes efforts to define it beyond that obsolete. It’s old and it’s new, but what we see today is a transitional, ‘liminal’ phase, an evolutionary stepping stone and a ‘placeholder’ towards a more widely adopted approach – whatever the name – to base more of the brand-building efforts on deserved ‘opt-in impressions.’ Money follows attention – which is increasingly more difficult to merely buy.
Customer Journey is now everyone’s game
There isn’t a part of it that Content can’t play a role in. It’s now, or it should be, Content journey. Content is the only real candidate, based on what we’ve seen, for the overall digital ‘archetypal’ approach, above and beyond the atomized delivery formats and discipline boxes. The good, old funnel is far from dead, but is now also much more detailed and real-time: consisting of a myriad of everyday touch-points where consumers – prospects and current customers of brands – look for things related to the category they need something from. These Moments That Matter (MTMs), in Google parlance, are small units of context where great content could be delivered. It encompasses everything from SEO and shopper marketing to all the steps that are currently owned by CRM. But now, that’s everyone’s game, as TOFU (top of the funnel – advertising) merges with BOFU (bottom of the funnel – CRM). Focus on delivering meaningful and emotional relevance, largely via Content, could be a unifying factor that heals the current rift between the parts of the funnel. Legacy business models and established ‘muscle memories’ of various agencies are the biggest barriers for adopting this mindset for business development.
There is more, in the book, in more detail. To really understand Content and the modern digital media space, one has to adopt the mentality of an immigrant: willingness to read the ‘narrative’ of the new environments, to shed old habits because they are not useful anymore… ‘Muscle memory’ of the old ‘country’ (business model) is strong and often all-inhibiting. But, looking at the latest developments with WPP’s share price, the ‘immigration’ thinking is now becoming urgency, not an option.
On 7 June, at the Content Experience conference in Belgrade, Lazar Džamić will hold the first, world premiere of his new book ‘The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing: Perspectives, Issues, Challenges and Solutions’ and will share with marketing experts from Serbia insights from content marketing.