It's time for the revolution. In fact it's happening right now. The stampede towards mobile, in combination with the lure of social media has created the perfect storm for the rise in content marketing. This changes the game completely for digital marketers, in terms of how they speak to their customers and prospects, with content the key to this emerging model of engagement, and social and mobile the vehicles for a brave new dawn.
Social and mobile make one-to-many communication simple, which means your customers are probably having content rammed down their throats every hour of every day. This means, to win, you have to create content that visitors wants to engage with. Valuable content also requires the establishment of engaged audiences. Meanwhile, consumers will continue to regard traditional advertising and marketing tactics as intrusive. These will become increasingly ineffective and less valuable. So this means a decrease in the need for traditional brand, product and price advertising.
The change is happening quickly. Last year, for instance, mobile web viewing matched or surpassed desktop for the first time on many sites and, simultaneously, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter started driving serious competition for Google advertising revenue.
It's true to say that social has awakened the pursuit of greater personalization, which is always something of a holy grail in marketing. Of course, with this in mind, targeted ads, based on consumer preferences, seemed to be the next logical step for marketers, who eagerly placed their digital ads on social sites and measured success against attributes, such as views, likes or shares. Yet, ROI from such activities is not something which happens overnight and, for many, it can be difficult to demonstrate at all. Consumers, having been overwhelmed by ads, have already shown signs of advertising fatigue, and their apathy is heightened by privacy fears and media driven stories that Big Brother is watching.
So in pursuing the alternatives, content marketing has a very natural successor. However it does raise a question: are we doing enough to make sure that content marketing can be the silver bullet that we are looking for? Many marketers I speak to still say that they are frustrated with the feeling that their content is not performing as well as it should. So, it seems, we all know we should be creating it, but are we getting the most out of it? I think that all too often, what's happening is that content is simply posted to the Internet in its various guises, and then, because it's content marketing, results are expected to follow. Unfortunately, as with all these things, it is not quite so straightforward. And with more people than ever creating content, this will get harder.
So we need to go back to the beginning. Content marketers need to think very carefully about what types of content people will actually WANT to share. Only then will the consumer become the distributor of your content that you desire and consequently push out your brand message. So for that to happen, consumers have to like and trust the content being created. So personalization (but not personalized ads) is the key and we'll hear much more about building personalized experiences throughout the rest of this year. Content needs to feel personal and be wholly relevant to the consumer at a given point in time, in a given circumstance and it has to be easy to share.