See-Do-Say can help on the Digital Content journey
Building Relationships and Relevance along the digital purchasing journey for Newsmedia, advertisers, companies and users
We are on a digital journey
Companies and brand owners have been trying to manage Digital Content to proactively manage relationships with existing customers and potential users so that they are relevant. Better companies need to be part of this ‘see-do-say’ dynamic with users. Content Marketing is one expression of these efforts, brought to full effect by editorial skills.
The technological advances have changed the way existing and potential consumer make their purchase decisions. Over 70% of consumers consult the internet before making a purchasing decision. It is a “digital purchasing journey”. McKinsey & Co has described this journey well, beyond the outmoded ‘funnel’ approach.
The better players are those who recognize that it is an end-to-end relationship; helping users to: shape opinions; make decisions and act. Networks are formed.
Exhibit1: An example of a digital decision journey (source gfk)
Thus the player becomes relevant in the life of the user (as this video demonstrates).
Getting this dynamic right is reflected and reinforced by pricing structures (sometimes for free through a coherent set of price points) as well as providing information, services and product. The better gaming companies and even airlines are do this well. Newsmedia has a role to play – in its own right and from its long established skills and capabilities as publishers/editors to structure and curate.
So what is content?
Companies are responding to the cause and effect dynamic of technology to re-engineering their marketing efforts. They are producing a vast range of content physical products, services, virtual offerings and communities. This “content” goes beyond product information sheets and manuals to produce multimedia, games, testimonials, videos, music, podcast and even lifestyle features for loyalty programmes are a ‘no-brainer’, but rarely used.
Exhibit 2: The body of Content Marketing
Newsmedia, with its traditional functions and activities should be the natural starting point for managing digital content to a win-win-win proposition. Today, very few Newsmedia houses have managed to overcome historical arrogance and legacy issues to grasp that chalice. Only a handful of titles have been able to come to terms with a coherent offering of content and pricing to stabilize their readership bases, relations with advertisers and financial performance.
Some high notes rising above the noise of content marketing
Sometimes, these Content Marketing efforts work well. Red Bull and VW have had notable successes with their integrated approaches – targeting discrete end-user segments and then developing coherent content across platforms. Ikea’s store launch in Malmö is another example. British Airway “lookup” campaign is at the technical cutting edge, bringing together virtual and real communities with its aircraft-sound activated billboard in Piccadilly Circus.
The rise of Native marketing has tried to go one step further. In the case of Volvo, with its van Damme split’s video (which has gone viral with 67 million You Tube hits) and “Globetrotter” magazine has brought the Volvo brand a new dimension and audience.
These are the high notes amongst the noise.
“Not all that glitters is gold”
Yet few organizations are getting it right. Even then the demands of ongoing successful Content Marketing threaten to overwhelm both companies and consumers; producing material of little value (except to server owners). Every company is fighting for relationships and relevance there has been an explosion of material created, much of it of questionable quality and relevance.
Exhibit 3: Content Marketing tactics (percentage of inbound by type)
Some commentators, such as Doug Kessler, have described this approach as “crap”.
Traditionally the aim of marketing efforts has been to build awareness and trial and then close with promotions. A company’s marketing budget reflected this has been with working media and paid mass media spending accounting for 60% and content creation at 20%. By embracing a Content Marketing approach the cost structured has reversed patterns have flipped: paid at less than 30% and creation at 50%. For the better companies the overall budget-spend is less with improved results.
As companies are playing catch-up along the journey they are facing real risks. These include a cost explosion due to customer fragmentation and duplication. In addition, they are just creating too much indistinct material. All this material and activity threaten the brand and customer relationship. Many sites are cluttered such as for most travel related companies.
Furthermore, it seems that many companies still fail to truly understand their customers’ specific needs. The big data phenomenon is available, but little used. Many advertisers still remain wedded to directed transmit strategies, seeking to solicit a response.
Exhibit 4: Example of traditional CM transmit strategies (www.socialfresh.com)
Marketing departments need to be acting more like publishers or editorial boards. Taking a point of view that can help steer users and help them in their opinion and purchase journeys Optimizing resources and impact is the key to building a lasting relationship rather than alienating visitors.
This editor/publisher discipline can help shift companies and their marketing efforts away from passive tracking. Instead managing their portfolios of content to actively probing what users: see, do and say.
Exhibit 5: Example of managing user experience portfolio (source Lee Odden)
The benefits? A lasting relationship that more often than not has a sell/buy component. From a financial perspective the benefits are significant for the income statement and balance sheet: reduced budgets and investment levels; greater productivity from targeted offers, streamlined production; and reuse of base content; limiting the activities of agencies and broader distribution options.
To date many Newsmedia companies have been unable to harness the power to the digital revolution. There seems to be a direct opportunity for them to do so as well as for companies to adopt Newsmedia’s proven publisher and editorial skills for the benefit of all web users.