Or, more accurately: Know your company. More about this in a minute.
Top brass from several multi-national corporations doled-out this self-awareness advice to a hot, crowded room of marketing professionals – me included – this month at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas.
Titled “Content Marketing vs. Don Draper: The End Of Ads,” the session set out to explore how “real innovation, creative energy and money in digital marketing seems headed away from traditional advertising.”
In the days after attending this session, I weeded through the murky, abstract ideas presented to identify three actionable steps marketers can take to ensure they’re keeping pace with the General Electrics, L’Oreals and Dells of the world.
Start with your brand. Digital/content marketing activities need a reliable anchor or else marketers risk floating too far afield. Ask and answer: What is our brand?; What does our brand mean to customers?; What does our brand mean to employees?; What does our brand mean to the public?; What do we WANT our brand to represent? These questions are not easily answered, but they get to the heart of what we as marketers are trying to accomplish. If we don’t truly understand our brands, how can we expect to effectively communicate it to internal and external audiences? Know thyself.
Modernize your budget. It’s time for content production/promotion to have its own line item in marketers’ budgets. Content marketing is frequently co-mingled with other miscellaneous activities. Marketers are then often hamstrung by budget constraints when trying to create and promote compelling campaigns that effectively reach increasingly segmented audiences. We can save ourselves future headaches by earmarking resources specifically for that blow-your-doors-off video we haven’t even dreamt-up yet.
Value experimentation. Certain activities are staples of marketers’ mix year after year. Stick with what works. Equally important, though, is experimentation and tinkering. We can nurture creativity by giving our teams time and space to try new things. Retain the new elements that worked, strive to find out WHY they worked and replicate those successes over and over again. With a core of reliable, proven activities, along with fringe activities, we can constantly evolve our winning mix of marketing elements.
Perhaps one of our biggest challenges and opportunities as marketers is the changing media landscape. Audiences are more fragmented each day. The masses are harder to reach all at once, but we can more easily identify and target specific segments. Done well, content marketing conveys powerful brand messages directly to the people we want to influence the most.
What techniques have worked well in your marketing programs?