The state of CONTENT MARKETING. HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE: a blueprint for marketers

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1 The state of CONTENT MARKETING HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE: a blueprint for marketers

2 Contents Foreword Introduction Key challenges Vision Strategy Planning and ownership Personalisation Measurement Distribution Resource and execution Budget and investment Conclusion ADMA / EDGE 1

3 Foreword content-led marketing strategies, and in the extent to which organisations have embraced the organisations doing it effectively will reap the rewards. For that reason, starting this year, ADMA has committed to tracking the trends and growth of content marketing on an annual basis. To further this aim, we partnered with the US-based Content Marketing Institute to conduct a groundbreaking survey of Australian marketers to benchmark the state of content marketing in Australia. The resulting Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends has given us new insight into how marketers are using content marketing to engage with customers and prospects. how Australian organisations are approaching content marketing, increasing customer engagement, structuring for success, getting buy-in at C level, resourcing appropriately and measuring ROI. Content marketing is an ever-evolving discipline. The opportunity to increase effectiveness will grow as companies use relevant data and insights to develop better strategies for engaging and nurturing their customers. However, it comes with challenges too. This white paper is intended to highlight and but hope that this document will provide a framework within which to tackle everyday challenges, and information that sparks new approaches. inspiration in the guidance it provides. Jodie Sangster ADMA CEO ADMA / EDGE 2

4 The future of marketing is content marketing. marketers are thinking. The congruence of new data and CRM technology, changing consumer media consumption habits, social media and digital distribution means that the business case for content marketing has never been more compelling. Traditional, disruptive one-way advertising messages are being set aside in favour of working to develop a deeper two-way relationship with customers. The trend is clear: 61 per cent of Australian marketers intend to increase their spending on content marketing. Producing persuasive content requires new ways of thinking, from the initial strategy development executions. Creating the business case, setting the goals and implementing appropriate metrics and the ADMA/CMI research, combined with these roundtable insights, provides marketers with further food for thought. As Jodie says, we do not yet have all the answers, but we believe that this white paper is a good starting point for any organisation looking to improve the effectiveness of its content marketing activities. Fergus Stoddart EDGE Commercial Director ADMA / EDGE 3

5 Introduction PLANNED SPEND ON CONTENT MARKETING IN AUSTRALIA OVER NEXT 12 MONTHS In early 2013, the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and the US-based Content Marketing Institute (CMI) conducted a survey of 216 marketers to evaluate the state of Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, provide fresh insight into how marketers are using content to engage with their target audiences. content marketing agency Edge, convened a roundtable of senior B2B and B2C marketers in March 2013 to discuss the survey results. A broad range of industries was represented, including This document shares the key outcomes from that discussion, bolstering the statistical research with experience-based insights and offering practical solutions to key challenges. ADMA / EDGE 4

6 Definition Australian marketing industry. As organisations focus more on content and data-driven methods of content marketing has increased. Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and insights based on their own experiences with the discipline: words, it provides useful information, tips and help to consumers rather than traditional sales messages. resonates with its target audience. Content marketing is about building relationships over long periods of time (as opposed to being campaign-centric). advertising model. Content marketing operates predominantly through owned and earned media channels. ADMA / EDGE 5

7 Key challenges THE BIGGEST CONTENT-MARKETING CHALLENGES FOR AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES ADMA / EDGE 6

8 Sentiments as the two top challenges faced by Australian content marketers (with 53 per cent of marketers roundtable participants were: 29% Only per cent of Australian marketers believe their content marketing is effective. ADMA / EDGE 7

9 Vision Sentiments agreed that an organisation requires a clear vision before it embarks on developing a content theme in the content a business produces. The majority of participants agreed that without having a clear vision or story, content lacks focus Participants also agreed that this vision needs to be set at a senior, strategic level and must then permeate the business. In particular, it must be clearly understood and embraced by all departments that play a role in content development. This means not just the marketing department but also, for example, the communications and public relations functions. Although representatives from the larger-enterprise organisations believed that they had a clear vision and story against which to deliver content, three-quarters of the roundtable participants felt that their business had not clearly articulated its vision or that a vision did not currently exist for the business. Solutions As content marketing tends to be a longer-term play than other types of marketing, it is essential the content to the target audience. This means that a content marketing vision should be simple and provide a clear focus for strategy, planning and content creation. The vision must be aligned with, and support, the brand DNA. Once a vision statement has been created, companies that have been developing content for a number of years should audit and, where necessary, adjust their current content approach to ensure alignment with the new vision. ADMA / EDGE 8

10 Strategy CONTENT MARKETING OBJECTIVES FOR AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES 80% of B2C marketers cite customer retention/loyalty as their top marketing goal. Statistics The ADMA/CMI research discovered that the top three objectives for content marketing among loyalty. Australian B2B marketers cite brand awareness as their top content marketing goal (75%) while their B2C peers cite customer retention/loyalty (80%). Sentiments strategy is critical to ensuring that content marketing delivers against business objectives. content strategy exists. ADMA / EDGE 9

11 of workable approaches a business can adopt in relation to where content marketing sits within Solutions Creating a successful content marketing strategy relies on developing deep insight into an Clearly, the outcome of successful content marketing is positive change in customer behaviour, whether that means changing their views, perceptions, actions or activities, ultimately resulting in content marketing strategy needs to outline how these shifts will be driven using content. changes that the content will drive in each target audience. A thorough understanding of the customer journey allows a business to identify how content can work will provide the foundation for creating content themes that will underpin content development. understanding must be built on by the creation of a central brand story, around which the company has authority to publish. The story should be developed by considering brand archetypes and key brand metaphors. support all future content development. Well-articulated engagement goals play an important strategic role in effective content marketing. Along with measures for desired behaviour change, such goals need to indicate suitable measures of ROI. ADMA / EDGE 10

12 The strategy must make clear that while content marketing can involve campaigns, it is fundamentally This means that as well as specifying monthly and annual goals for content marketing, the strategy should justify the business case for it over a two- to three-year time frame. marketing strategy and objectives, but however it is done, it is critical to ensure that a broad range of stakeholders is present during the development of the strategy. This will help ensure it is customer-centric and that, as responsibility is disseminated, a clear understanding of the central principles and framework is maintained. Creating a successful content marketing strategy relies on developing deep insight into an organisation s customers. ADMA / EDGE 11

13 Planning and ownership CONTENT OWNERSHIP AT A GLANCE Statistics Just eight per cent of respondents said they were in content creation/management while 58 per cent worked in a marketing, advertising, communications or PR function. Sentiments Discussion among the participants revealed four approaches currently practiced with regard 1. It is owned by someone at a central point of responsibility. 2. It is developed on a department-by-department basis, according to business needs Currently, the business has no single owner for a content marketing strategy and/or no strategy. ADMA / EDGE 12

14 Solutions marketing level to ensure alignment with the overarching business and brand objectives. A clear and deliver economies of scale. a senior executive to drive the content marketing strategy across the company. This central functionary needs to have the seniority to be able to effectively align company resources across digital/it, marketing, data, customer service and sales departments, so as to maximise the content marketing results. ADMA / EDGE 13

15 Personalisation HOW AUSTRALIAN ORGANISATIONS TAILOR CONTENT Statistics 97 per cent of Australian B2C marketers tailor their content in at least one way. 88 per cent of Australian B2B marketers tailor their content in at least one way. Only 25 per cent of Australian marketers personalise content to individuals. ADMA / EDGE 14

16 Sentiments The survey results showed the differing degrees to which Australian marketers personalise content to of roundtable participants segmented their databases so that communications were sent only to to particular audience segments. none of the participants was currently delivering against that goal, nor did they consider themselves close to being able to deliver on it. The reasons given by participants related back to data, with recognition that the data held by most deliver highly personalised communications, or that the company lacked the internal expertise and/or resources to deliver such data insights. Participants also agreed unanimously that justifying the resources needed to deliver the volume of the impossibility, at this stage, of determining ROI. Solutions relevant the content, the higher the engagement, and the greater the likelihood that such content will change customer behaviour. Once again, the right foundations need to be in place for a business to achieve this. Companies need that need to be addressed and mapped across the customer journey at the strategy stage. Although the overall goal of content marketing is sustainable sales uplift through engagement, rather than short-term sales, personalising product and sales messages alongside editorialised content can timely distribution of relevant content to the appropriate audiences and easy measurement of its effect. ADMA / EDGE 15

17 Measurement MEASUREMENT CRITERIA FOR CONTENT-MARKETING SUCCESS Statistics criterion for success. ADMA / EDGE 16

18 B2B and B2C content marketers, whether they are from Australia, North America or the UK, Only 33 per cent use increased customer loyalty as a measurement metric. Sentiments result, most participants reverted to using page views, content downloads or content engagement as measurement tools, partly explaining why the survey showed that 62 per cent of Australian providing a framework within which to report content marketing ROI to the C-suite and encourage content marketing investment. Solutions The key for any business wanting to make the most of its content is to build measurement into the and system built into it if it is to demonstrate results. When devising a content marketing strategy, creating clear data-capture programs, lead nurturing systems and conversion tools should be considered from the outset. Of course, the simplest way to build these measures in an effective, responsive way is using a digital content marketing platform. Ongoing measurement of content engagement is available through standard web analytics, social listening and survey tools, but proof of effective ROI requires deeper data integration. Implementing CRM capabilities allows for this step change, and integrating customer data allows marketers to see the impact of content on customer behaviour, in the short and longer term. Using data and test-and-learn campaigns, marketers get to see the impact of different content on different customer segments at different points of the customer journey. This will help demonstrate effectiveness and provide proof points for further investment. ADMA / EDGE 17

19 Distribution DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS Statistics B2B and B2C content marketers in Australia and the UK, along with B2C marketers in North America, use an average of four social media platforms to distribute content, whereas B2B Australian B2B marketers use LinkedIn (76%) the most, whereas their B2C peers use Facebook (85%) the most. Sentiments ADMA / EDGE 18

20 of marketers struggling with the former and 51 per cent with the latter. Indeed, only 29 per cent of Australian marketers believe their content marketing is effective. Although roundtable participants agreed that both these issues presented business challenges, they noted that content distribution presented a challenge that matched or exceeded their concerns around content creation. They agreed that a singular focus on content creation can cause businesses to overlook the need to distribute content effectively. Although a small distributing and amplifying content, the majority said their organisations had no such strategies in place. As one participant put it, creating content without also considering distribution addresses only half Solutions important to factor in the resources required to achieve this. To maximise ROI and promote consistency, any content created should be distributed across as many relevant channels as possible. digital (company website and microsites, social channels) and person-to-person (events or in-house communications) are all potentially valuable channels. Social media and PR channels are increasingly important for distributing content through earned media. The key is to understand Thus, arriving at a successful solution for your business comes from knowing where, when and how Beware, however, of saturating your audience with too much or poorly created, ineptly targeted maximum frequencies of contact will help prevent this. ADMA / EDGE 19

21 Resource and execution CHOOSING THE RIGHT AGENCY Statistics Overall, Australian marketers (57%) outsource content more often than their North American (45%) and UK (55%) peers do. Australian B2C marketers (74%) outsource content more often than their B2B peers (54%) do. ADMA / EDGE 20

22 CONTENT PUBLISHING AT A GLANCE Sentiments challenge faced by Australian content marketers was being able to produce engaging content, with 53 per cent of those surveyed struggling with this, while 51 per cent reported being unable to produce enough. outsourcing the better option. outsourced relationship creates is also important. It appears that having an in-house content team, a growing trend overseas, is not yet prevalent in Australia. Representatives from the smaller companies said they generally had one or two internal resources responsible for developing ongoing content such as blogs and video. But typically, content-led campaigns were outsourced to agencies. Interestingly, a proportion of companies that had internal resources responsible for content still chose to outsource content creation, to maintain brand consistency with other content produced. This highlights the disconnect between production skills and marketing expertise. ADMA / EDGE 21

23 Solutions communications than with marketing, as it is conventionally understood. A smart content marketing strategy calls not just for a foundation of regular, planned content, but also the capacity to be highly responsive to your market, events and media trends. Accommodating these varied needs is usually best achieved via a mix of in-house and outsourced resources. Successful content strategy creation and execution are the domain of skilled editors, as required. Outsourcing to professional journalists and creatives is a highly effective solution for high-value, planned content. Social media content and low-production execution will usually be more costeffective in-house. allocation, rationalise the agency mix, and ensure accountability and consistency throughout the process. ADMA / EDGE 22

24 Budget and investment TOTAL MARKETING BUDGET SPEND ON CONTENT MARKETING IN AUSTRALIA Statistics Just as in North America and the UK, Australian B2B marketers allocate a higher percentage of their budgets to content marketing (25%) than their B2C counterparts (20%) do. Sentiments budgets are being allocated to content marketing. also covers investment in infrastructure and technology that underpins it. Interestingly, roundtable representatives from the large-enterprise organisations concurred that the survey results appeared largely accurate with regard to budget allocation, and noted that they ADMA / EDGE 23

25 noteworthy that these representatives were in the B2B space, focused on developing a thoughtleadership position in the market. Representatives of the B2C companies and smaller B2B-focused businesses also agreed that content, in this case taking into account the technology investments required, and all the elements of the content market process, from design through to creation, execution and distribution. Solutions to this investment are decided by a number of factors. Ultimately, these decisions should be driven and the likelihood of return from that investment. What is apparent is that content marketing needs to be considered and integrated with abovethe-line awareness and acquisition campaigns. Data-capture methods and ongoing engagement proportion of brand advertising budgets should be set aside to ensure these opportunities are captured. ADMA / EDGE 24

26 Conclusion Content marketing is a complex and evolving discipline. And as both the quantitative and yet feel entirely comfortable. Uncertainty abounds. to several of the core challenges faced by content marketers. From the bedrock of a clear corporate vision and strategy, through to ensuring excellence via smart distribution, resourcing and ownership, we trust that the steps and tips detailed here provide a blueprint from which every marketer can the challenge. ADMA / EDGE 25

27 For more information please contact: ADMA EDGE edgecustom.com.au (02) m:

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