Content Marketing

Dave Knox over at Hard Knox Life just posted this great slideshow on Content Marketing by Helge Tenno. Although I strongly dislike the addition of “two-dot-oh” to the end of any term, I will admit the Agency2.0 he speaks of at the end of the show sounds pretty appealing!

The first few slides call out the development of online marketing. “2007 was all about rich media and customer participations”…”but 2008 is ..all about a range of different ideas coming together and forming a new kind of marketing changing the way brands connect to their consumers”.

The ideas are the following:

  1. Culture
  2. Technology
  3. Mobility
  4. Activity
  5. Ineffective
  6. Emotional Research

A few statements worth calling out:

Content isn’t king. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.

The application itself is not a goal at all – it’s an obstacle between the user and their goal.

we tend to throw out the most meaningful and most revolutionary if we ask people about their preferences.

Content marketing = participating in activities facilitated by the brand.

Slide 13 states that “most products and services are actually developed by users, who then give ideas to manufacturers”. The premise (and this is one I called out in my recent review of Accidental Branding,) is that the best products are designed to address specific problems. If that’s the case, obviously why not give users the empowerment (and the forum) to help drive innovation for you?

As a developer, I probably shouldn’t like the comment that the application is not the goal. For me, though, effective marketing and strategy is not about jumping to implementation. A client shouldn’t want “a widget”. They should want “a means to drive traffic from the social networking space”. A widget is one way to do this. By assessing what the user goals are, we can work to achieve those goals, and they’ll be satisfied. But unless we determine the rationale behind a decision, we have a hard time assessing its success (and risk having an unhappy client in the end). I maintain that the decision of the best technical solution to a business need should be left in the hands of we web geeks, who have been eating, drinking and sleeping this stuff for a loooong time! 🙂

This notion of “don’t tell me what you (think you) want” is raised later in the deck as well. I can only attribute the reason that we ‘throw out the most meaningful information if we ask people their preferences’ to a lack of self-awareness or willingness to be honest. My biggest concern with a blanket statement like this is that some organizations may take this as justification not to solicit or incorporate feedback from users at all.

As someone who espouses user-centered design principles, this whole idea of “content marketing” makes sense. People are doing to “do” stuff and talk about it. Why not facilitate these activities by offering something to talk about? I am currently listening to “The Anatomy of Buzz” and Jeep Jamborees are mentioned. There is a certain demographic that buys Jeeps and has a certain lifestyle. Why not support them in their activities? We are an experiential society, and people who go off on a Jeep Jamboree weekend are your best brand advocates. They will converse among themselves, further establishing that brand loyalty, and also tell others about their experiences.

I love the idea that we are looking at establishing relationships with consumers, as well as between them. It’s no longer about focusing inward on creating that ultimate pitch: it’s about a facilitating a personalized experience for each individual based on his own needs and desired level of interaction.

6 thoughts on “Content Marketing

    • exactly… the content is what you talk about.. but you need to provide people with the means to communicate. it’s like word of mouth marketing vs online viral marketing. WOM only goes one or two steps, then *poof*. Viral marketing can stay as powerful regardless of the number of people it passes through.

      Hm, ok, maybe that’s not really the same thing.. but I meant it in regards to giving people the means to share and fuel the fire.

  • Content isn’t king. Conversation is king. I find that interesting. Conversation strikes me as being a form of content. I see the point though… if content gets people talking then you are doing something right 🙂

    • I agree with you.. it IS content (who wants to go to an empty discussion forum), but it’s not content generated by the brand. You can have a bunch of “stuff” on your site, but people are more likely to be engaged and return if it is updated, or if they themselves can contribute.

  • Hi Andrea, thanks for commenting and expanding on my slideshow, really appreciate it :o)

    Regarding the quote being discussed here it’s by Cory Doctrow of Boing Boing and I tend to use youTube and Google Video as an example to “prove” it :o)

    Google Video was launched by a giant corporation, but the service was nothing more than a library where one could find and watch video. YouTube was launched by two guys in a garage but let people not only consume content, but recommend, comment and enrich it. What happened was that even though access to interesting video is very nice, using the content as a social object was what really caught fire.. And we know the rest of the story :o)

    Trendwatching.com (which has 8000 trendspies around the world) can also be quoted by saying “participation is the new consumption”.

    Thanks again for the attention :o)
    – Helge

  • Agree that a client should want a widget to drive specific objectives – but driving traffic to another site isn’t a solid objective, particularly for social media advertising where banners are failing because people don’t want to leave what they are doing. Interactions which are designed to drive awareness, affect attitude towards a brand or product, or encourage a conversation are much better objectives to have.

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