Today’s content marketing event was moderated by Holland-Mark Principal Mike Troiano, and the panel of experts included Matt Drinkwater, Senior Director, Yahoo!; Carissa Caramanis O’Brien, President, Red Box Communications; and Eric Oliver, Director, Digital Brand Communications. The conversation covered what it is, who is doing it well, and what the future holds, with plenty of question-and-answer opportunities, which the audience engaged in readily.
What is Content Marketing?
Troiano took a quick poll of the room, and determined that the audience was largely made up of people who consider themselves “novices” on the subject of content marketing. He then defined content marketing as “an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential customers.”
Content marketing is a relatively new trend; if your company is actively using content marketing, you’re among the early adopters. High five! Early adopters understand that it fills a role that traditional marketing cannot. Marketers are facing a significant challenge, in that the public has become adept at filtering out unwanted noise, making consumers hard to reach. However, this also means that consumers are good at finding the information they want, making content marketing more effective than traditional advertising.
Content marketing takes advantage of the customer’s ability to seek out relevant information. Historically, advertisers have tried to create a perfect package, something slick and shiny; today savvy marketers strive to create an incomplete package, one that enables the audience to complete and participate in the dialogue. This is strikingly novel, and even big players in the marketing world are apprehensive about implementing a strategy that relinquishes so much control to the customer.
Why Content Marketing Works:
- Brands are looking for free media outlets.
- Barriers to content production are lower than they’ve ever been, because consumers can easily create their own branded content.
- It’s easier to get people to respond to something than to create something.
- Subtlety is key; obvious product placement is a turnoff to customers.
What is State of the Art in Content Marketing Today?
New media empowers everyone to create content. Many advertisers are floundering in the face of this seemingly scary phenomenon, but savvy marketers like today’s panelists know exactly how to take advantage of user-created content, and encourage customer participation. The big question is: how do you deliver content that is worthy of attention? Drinkwater, Oliver, and O’Brien shared their inspiring success stories, which you can read in the following post.
What Does the Future Hold for Content Marketing?
The future of content marketing is all about user-generated content. In 2011 and beyond, as brands become more confident giving control to users, they will increase the human element, while simultaneously saving money and attracting loyal customers. Content marketing is going to become the core of advertising, and consumers are going to expect this.
Additionally, blogging is now recognized as a key factor in product marketing. Companies can share personal stories and entertaining information to attract consumers, without resorting to obvious marketing techniques. A lot of power can come from upper-level employees communicating with their audiences via social media resources.
The public loves when a CEO tweets a story, or writes a blog post. The human factor is extremely important, and becoming more so. To help clarify this concept, Troiano asked the audience to reflect on what it means to be a party guest. “If you’ve ever tried to say something interesting at a party,” he said, “you understand the essence of content marketing.” It all comes down to human beings.
Read about the panelists’ fascinating success stories in Part 2, here!