Why content is the new coin of the realm

Share this content:
Why content is the new coin of the realm
Why content is the new coin of the realm

Good morning class. Time for a pop quiz. These news items recently caught our attention: P&G shifting money from marketing to social media, and GM walking away from advertising on Facebook.

Question: Are these events contradictory or complimentary? Discuss.

Ok, pencils down. The answer, class, is that they are complimentary. If you answered otherwise please go back and review the last 15 years of digital evolution. If you got the answer correct, then what are you doing about it?

Please understand that the story here isn't the demise of advertising. Rather it's the rise of content. While GM may be cutting the $10 million it spends on Facebook ads, it has no inclination to cut the $30 million it spends annually to create content for Facebook. That's because unlike the advertising, the content is delivering results.

Across the digital world marketers are learning the same lesson: Advertising, and more significantly the marketing funnel as we've known it, is becoming an ineffective tool for influencing how consumers move to purchase. Consumers are no longer willing to be shoved down the path to purchase, like meat being pushed through a grinder.

This isn't just a change in tools; it's part of the fundamental shift in how the consumer economy works. We are now well into the digital age with technology providing the infrastructure of this new economy. But we've quickly evolved past the time when the novelty of the infrastructure was enough to motivate us.

Now it's all about what goes in and on these digital channels: the messaging, the programming, the content. You're either producing it, curating it, consuming it, or just not getting it.

Think about how people go about making major purchases today versus in, say, 1992. It used to be that the brands under consideration were decided in the consumer's mind early on, pretty much dictated by advertising and word-of-mouth recommendations from a handful of family and friends. From there consumers evaluated and narrowed their choices prompted by advertising that reinforced analytical or emotional messages. Throw in a timely promotion here or there and we had fairly predictable consumer behavior.

The digital consumer has turned that process upside down. Close friends, family and marketing still play a role, but typically they're only influential early on. From that point on the experience is best described as a complex dance of digital influences during which some brands are winnowed, while others are added to the mix. Instead of a simple funnel we're faced with something more like a spiraling cyclone with a debris field extending in all directions. A bit more challenging than the old funnel.

Think about the shopping experience that Amazon.com introduced. You may know what you're looking for, but as soon as you arrive at a specific product page, Amazon offers you a list of alternatives considered by others who shopped for that product before you. What's more, Amazon encourages you and other shoppers to create your own content and reviews related to the product. Does anyone buy goods and services without looking for consumer reviews now?

Across the digital landscape people expect to be engaged, not interrupted. If you want the consumer to listen to your pitch you better entertain them, educate them, provide utility to enrich their lives or generally bring them something of value. We call this content, and in our brave new world content is the coin of the realm.

Which brings me back to the GM story. Here is GM, cutting ads because investing in content for social channels gets better results. Actually what the company is doing is shifting money from the medium to the message, or from buying ads to investing in the power of stories. That's because the spiraling cyclone of consumer-to-consumer touch points we call social media, is actually a better way to influence brand preference than advertising.

The key, of course, is delivering the right content at the right time to the right person. No matter what industry you are in, there is content you can make that will engage your audience and build preference for your brand.



And from the complex world of financial services here's an award-winning
example of how to make content about even the most complicated stuff:

The problem is that social communities are hungry mouths that consume all the content you can throw at them and always want more, which means the only way to stay at the center of the social conversation is to keep a stream of fresh, compelling content coming … all the time.

It's a bigger commitment to content creation than most brands are used to. Making a TV commercial once a year is one thing, but now you need a content factory. That's a stretch for most organizations, but there really isn't any way around it. If you want your brand to be where the action is you need lots of compelling content. So like GM, it's time to get wise, get focused and jump on the content bandwagon.

Todd Copilevitz is a digital strategist at IQ.

DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

Bookmark this section and follow our RSS Feed here

Loading links....

Next Article in Social Media

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here