The problems of content marketing apply to you as a marketer whether you’re actually practicing “content marketing” or not.
In any enterprise, there’s a New York Times-scale amount of content getting produced.[i] And your customers are hoovering up content (from a brand or otherwise, in many channels, interchangably) and making decisions based upon it.[ii]
That means you’re in the content business. And the more customers control the purchase path, the more marketers find themselves in the content marketing business.
Which means you will be dealing with the problems content marketing creates. Two of these problems are particular to marketing teams and governance. These are best explained with analogies:
The Menu Problem – How content gets conceived and planned
The Sausage Problem – How content gets made and delivered
The Menu Problem
Marketers don’t have much experience running editorial organizations. This is best reflected in the low percentage of marketers who report that they follow a content marketing strategy.[iii]
A strategy is necessary.[iv] And no one is taking the responsibility to make one.
The press coverage of my report "Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behaviors" -- and especially the number they highlighted that 46% of the "core" TV audience watches linear TV in a typical month -- raised a lot of questions (and skepticism!) on the Research Wonks list serve. I figure if they had those questions, others might, too, so here is the response I posted there:
"The media always looks for the headline-grabbing, shocking, number and the 46% watch linear certainly qualifies. I used this number in passing to set up the report so before I address the methodology questions, let me share the core conclusion of the report: consumer video consumption behaviors are different enough across generations that planners need to break out of past planning routines and account for these different behaviors. Toward the end of the report I say:
A goal of 100 gross rating points (GRPs) against an 18-to-49 audience is merely an average across this entire audience; if the placements are skewed to linear TV, it will likely deliver too many ads to the 35-to-49 segment and not deliver enough to the 18-to-34 group.
The 46% number doesn't comment on the number of hours, and the data we capture is very broad here, but even it shows that linear is still the larger number of hours.
In the report I say that linear is the “main dish” that must be complemented with “side dishes” like streamed sources and addressable plus “desserts” like professional short-form video to present a balanced video ad diet. (Yes, I really tortured that metaphor!)
Even when I was a kid, tuna noodle casserole was a bit outdated, a relic of the 1950s, when recipes on the side of a soup can were considered cuisine. But if your TV plan is heavily reliant on linear TV, it's a lot like that casserole: not appealing to younger viewers whose tastes are more diverse.
I certainly read a lot about how Millennials are leading the growth of streamed TV viewing, and I've seen the occasional stat to back it up. It certainly makes sense. But I decided to dig into Forrester's Consumer Technographics® data to flesh out the picture in this report which was just published: Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behavior.
No surprise; the numbers support the generally accepted wisdom of Millennials being the ones most eagerly adopting new ways to view favorite shows: 34% of Millennials (i.e., 18-to-34-year-olds) report watching 4 hours or more of TV online weekly versus only 12% of Gen Xers (ages 35 to 48) and Younger Boomers (ages 49 to 58). Not that Millennials have totally abandoned linear: 55% still watch 4+ hours weekly compared with 73% of the older segments. But clearly, their video diet is more diverse.
The report also confirms that clips and short form content are more popular on mobile devices than full-lengths shows.
So now we've confirmed what people have suspected all along . . .
Why is this report so important to marketing leaders in China right now? To reach China’s 670 million online consumers (a number that continues to grow rapidly) and engage with them, marketers in China need more digital marketing support from their agencies. As such, digital agencies play a more important role than ever, as they:
Manage a rapidly growing digital marketing budget. As online ad spending in China has almost doubled over the past two years, leading agencies in China are seeing an increasing shift of ad budgets from traditional media to digital — so these agencies must support more complex digital marketing plans and campaigns.
Expand to a broader spectrum of digital services. With the rapidly evolving digital landscape in China, digital agencies are constantly adding new digital services — including social marketing, mobile marketing, customer experience strategy, CRM, and eCommerce — that go far beyond web development and online advertising campaigns.
In Asia Pacific, there is growing recognition that the old way of marketing — driving awareness through push advertising — has sputtered and slowed in the wake of media fragmentation and the disruptive power of digital. Marketers need a new framework to align their marketing decisions to the customer’s experiences with the brand to define customer engagement, budget allocation, and organizational skills.
However, many companies are still in the adolescent phase of social marketing; they have crested the initial wave of social likes and followers, but are now stuck on the next steps. Few have managed to crack the social marketing conundrum — that of showing meaningful return on their social marketing investments. Marketers need to understand and map the customer journey — from enabling discovery to supporting exploration, purchase, and engagement. Astute ones will map each stage of the customer life cycle to an objective from Forrester’s marketing RaDaR model. To create discovery, the objective should be reach. To support exploration, depth is the objective. To nurture engagement, focus on relationships.
Why is your input important? Through this survey, we will:
Understand your key challenges in digital marketing. Marketing leaders in China have larger digital marketing budgets — but they also bear more responsibility and face a more complicated digital marketing environment.
Outline your pain points in working with digital agencies. Marketing leaders in China have more digital agency options than ever before, but their expectations of digital agencies have changed along with their shifted responsibilities.
We will use the results to help marketing leaders in China:
Understand key trends to prioritize your digital marketing efforts. This data will help you benchmark your key focus for digital marketing in 2015.
Select the right digital agency to meet your most important needs. We will soon publish our first Forrester Wave™ evaluation of digital agencies in China, which will help marketers assess and select digital agency services. This data will help you customize the Wave to select the right digital agency to help you overcome your top digital challenges.
We’re now accepting entries for the 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is our chance to recognize the very best social marketing programs from the past year — and we’d love to give an award to you for your best work. You can enter here.
To get your creative juices flowing, I wanted to highlight one of my all-time favorite Forrester Groundswell Award winners: Analog Devices, our 2013 B2B Social Relationship Marketing award winner. Analog manufactures integrated circuits, and its EngineerZone community allows members to resolve challenges and questions by tapping into the collective “wisdom of the crowds.” The company’s technical community has a global membership that empowers each member to help or be helped from any part of the globe, making it an invaluable resource.
When they submitted their entry, Analog Devices shared the following results from a member feedback survey:
•Over 90% of respondents said the information was helpful to their design.
•76% were more likely to purchase ADI products knowing EngineerZone was available as a resource.
A true social relationship marketing strategy ensures that customers continue to have their needs met and receive tangible benefits even after the point of purchase. In doing so, customers are primed and ready to accept new information about products and services which can provide even more value.
With a whopping 468 million monthly active users, WeChat has been the focus of marketers for a while; as of July 2014, WeChat had 5.8 million public accounts. However, marketing leaders face challenges in using WeChat for marketing:
WeChat is a private social platform. The tactics that work on open social platforms like Weibo do not necessarily work on private social platforms like WeChat. Many marketers still wrongly attempt to use WeChat as a platform for news announcements.
WeChat provides limited ad formats and APIs. Although we do see Tencent considering the possibilities of introducing display ads in Moments (WeChat’s timeline) and laying the groundwork for search advertising by partnering with the local search engine Sogou, so far the only available advertising opportunity for marketers is purchasing display ads in public account articles. Many marketers also complain about the limited APIs that WeChat provides to them.
I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum on March 2-3 in Scottsdale, Arizona,where the overall theme this year is about the different approaches required to optimize your B2B sales channels. Our research shows that more transactional buyers now prefer more automation and self-service (eBusiness); whereas executives who are involved in buying prefer (no, insist on) having conversations and engagement that match their problem-solving needs. So we have designed an agenda that covers direct selling, selling through channel partners, as well as selling through eBusiness interactions. And, as this is a strategic topic, over and perhaps above the discipline of selling itself, most of the presentations will be made by marketing leaders in the B2B companies we have invited.
Asia Pacific marketers have moved from experimenting with social media in the recent past to integrating it into their marketing mix. However, a large number are guilty of setting and measuring metrics, such as vanity metrics, that do not inform the next course of action.
To increase your chances of social marketing success, you must:
Build an understanding of your audience. Brands all too often mistake social media platforms as a broadcast channel and rave about their own products and services without first understanding the conversations going around them. Astute marketers will first deploy listening platforms by studying the social behaviors of their target audiences and the context of their conversations. Forrester’s Social Technographics® will tell you both how social your audience is and the types of social behaviors in which they engage.
Invest in social marketing based on clear business outcomes. Many Asia Pacific marketers are still allocating media budgets based on user consumption of media — or worse, on how budgets were allocated in previous years. But this model is obsolete, thanks to new methods of accessing data and harnessing technology. Marketers must be able to answer which specific social activities drive specific business outcomes and boldly reallocate marketing investments based on these. For instance, marketers must show how their Facebook strategy has driven fans to their eCommerce site and helped stimulate them to complete a sale.