Alicianne Rand, Vice President, Marketing, NewsCred, discussed the importance of content marketing for today's organizations during her presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 CMO Spotlight on Retail and Consumer Goods & Services Forum in Chicago on June 21. In her presentation, "The New Customer Journey: Why Content Defines How Consumers Meet, Engage and Return to Your Brand," Rand described how marketers can recognize where and when to engage customers along the brand journey and prove return on investment (ROI).
According to Rand, content defines how consumers meet, engage and return to a brand.
"Content powers the entire customer experience," Rand said. "Today, the content journey is the customer journey. And we believe them to be one in the same."
How brands deliver content to consumers throughout the entire brand journey may dictate if customers will remain loyal.
For example, Rand pointed out the majority of consumers now expect brands to provide content throughout the brand journey. Also, the average consumer will engage with multiple pieces of content during this journey and will conduct extensive online research before making a purchase.
"Today, the content journey is the customer journey. And we believe them to be one in the same."
Thus, the divide between online and offline shopping is disintegrating, and marketers must be ready to address consumers through a wide range of channels at all times.
"Consumers are in control, and if brands are not meeting them with the information they need at that zero moment of truth, they are going to go elsewhere," Rand noted.
Content is readily available to consumers worldwide, and marketers must find ways to differentiate their content.
"There is so much content out there, and our ability to cut through the clutter and cut through the noise is absolutely critical to win the hearts, the minds and the attention of our potential audience, and then turn that audience into loyal customers," Rand said. "But if we can't do that, we are ultimately just contributing to the noise."
To stand out in a content-filled marketplace, today's marketers need to think outside the box.
Rather than focus on providing messages to particular segments, marketers must be able to share messages with individuals and ensure these messages are tailored to recipients' needs.
"There is so much content out there, and our ability to cut through the clutter and cut through the noise is absolutely critical to win the hearts, the minds and the attention of our potential audience, and then turn that audience into loyal customers."
Also, marketers are forced to deal with a competitive landscape that boasts both traditional and new media platforms. This forces marketers to compete for attention across traditional platforms like TV and the Internet, along with social networks and mobile apps.
"The best brands are totally rewriting the rules," Rand noted. "They are moving away from a brand-led approach where they're blasting their products and messages, and instead, think about how they can add value to people's everyday lives."
So how can marketers craft distinct content that engages consumers and drives long-lasting partnerships with consumers?
Rand offered the following recommendations:
- Create Content That Your Audience Actually Wants. Marketers now have a wealth of customer data at their disposal and can engage consumers from any location, at any time. Therefore, marketers should try to find out exactly what types of content their customers want and work toward delivering it to them day after day.
- Be Consistent with the Content You Provide. The ROI of a traditional marketing campaign may vary. Conversely, the more content that marketers create, the more interest they can generate among consumers. Having the ability to deliver consistent content -- and maintaining a strong process and infrastructure to support content creation -- is paramount for marketers at companies of all sizes.
- Capitalize on Owned Properties. The use of social networks like Facebook and Instagram may help businesses share content with large groups of audiences quickly. And with marketing platforms that provide one-click publishing capabilities, marketers now have the ability to deliver valuable content to consumers faster than ever before.
- Link Content to Revenue. Brand awareness, brand loyalty and conversions are among the key metrics that marketers should use to link their content to their revenue goals. By doing so, marketers will be able to establish regular revenue goals, explore which types of content their audience members enjoy and discover innovative ways to connect with consumers.
Marketers must move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, particularly when it comes to their content marketing strategies.
Instead, Rand suggested marketers try to think about they can create a variety of content for many individuals and audience segments. This approach empowers marketers to create valuable content for large groups of consumers and may drive significant revenue growth and increased brand loyalty.
"All the brands that are adopting this mindset believe content is the fuel of all marketing," Rand said. "Content is a fuel of all of your channels."
Alicianne is the Vice President of Marketing at NewsCred, the world’s leading content marketing platform. Alicianne leads all of NewsCred's marketing initiatives – from brand strategy and communications to demand generation, product marketing and overall analytics. Prior to NewsCred, she spent five years spearheading Account Management at Wolff Olins, the global brand and innovation consultancy, where she directed brand strategy programs for high-profile clients like AOL, The Smithsonian Institution, NBC and GE. With extensive experience in press relations and journalism, Alicianne has also produced and covered events for ABC News and the US Senate. Alicianne graduated cum laude with a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology from Georgetown University.