Johann Wrede, Global Vice President of Audience, Brand and Content Marketing, SAP, explained why he believes content "is not king" in today's global marketplace during his presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum: Fall Event in Chicago on Sept. 28. In his presentation, "Who is King? Content, Channels and the Battle for Attention," Wrede described the changing nature of customer engagement and what marketers must do to win the attention of their target audiences.
According to Wrede, simply providing a large assortment of content to consumers is insufficient. As such, content alone offers no guarantees for marketers and their respective organizations.
"Content is not king because everybody's doing it," Wrede stated. "Everybody is producing content. Content marketing is not something new."
The channel "is not the king" as well, Wrede said.
Millions of advertisers are competing with one another to generate interest from consumers on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.
Despite advertisers' best efforts, however, it is exceedingly difficult to garner interest from consumers via social networks and other channels without the right marketing strategy in place.
"You're going to have to spend a lot of money to get your voice heard on all of these channels," Wrede noted.
Engagement remains a key challenge for today's marketers, but having the ability to engage customers consistently could make a world of difference for marketers at companies of all sizes.
"There is a scarcity of engagement," Wrede said. "There is a lack of engagement between a brand its customer."
Conversely, marketers must be ready to engage consumers quickly and must find ways to garner interest from consumers for an extended period of time.
"Everybody is producing content. Content marketing is not something new."
By providing consumers with engaging content, marketers are better equipped to keep pace with digital technologies that continue to transform how marketers and consumers connect with one another.
"The pace is picking up. People are adopting these digital technologies faster," Wrede pointed out. "People are adopting and going through content faster."
Creating engagement requires marketers to think about the experiences that customers have with an organization, Wrede said.
Ultimately, engagement requires marketers to understand their target audiences and work toward fostering long-lasting partnerships with them.
"Every person takes a unique journey with every brand that they do business with," Wrede said. "You take these different journeys."
Marketers need to know what consumers have done in the past and what consumers are doing at a given moment.
With this information at their disposal, marketers are better equipped to identify consumer behaviors and trends and provide consumers with engaging content day after day.
"If we know these things … we can create an experience for [consumers] that takes the context of their situation into account. We can deliver the right piece of content on the right channel at the right time to engage them," Wrede stated.
Although marketers may leverage a number of channels to connect with customers, it is important for marketers to understand how to leverage myriad channels to interact with customers along each stage of the customer journey.
"As you put content into channels, you need to consider where the customer is on their customer journey."
For example, providing a customer with a promotional offer if he or she is merely looking for information about a company may prevent a business from fostering a long-term partnership with this customer.
On the other hand, marketers who devote the necessary time and resources to understand the customer's perspective along each stage of the customer journey may be better equipped to connect with a customer. As a result, these marketers could help their respective companies gain a competitive advantage over rivals.
"I'm going through this journey that continues and continues and I'm going through all these channels," Wrede stated. "[But] there is no consistency to most of these interactions that we deal with in our daily lives."
Understanding where a customer is on the customer journey is paramount, too. And if marketers take a customer-centric approach to engagement, they may be able to learn about a company's target audiences at any time.
If marketers create content that engages a customer at a particular point along this journey, they are more likely to ensure this customer is fully supported along each stage of the customer journey. Therefore, building long-lasting customer partnerships requires marketers to take a broad approach, ensuring each customer receives engaging content that meets his or her individual needs.
"As you put content into channels, you need to consider where the customer is on their customer journey," Wrede pointed out. "We can make the content work harder for us if we know what [customers are] trying to do and we know what phase of this journey that they are in."
Johann Wrede is Global Vice President of Audience, Brand, and Content Marketing for SAP Hybris, the customer engagement and commerce division of SAP. He has written, implemented, sold, and marketed software for a variety of companies both large and small. Johann is passionate about using storytelling to inspire business people to find ways to better engage their customers. He spends his days working with a team of talented people to engage marketing, sales, service, and commerce professionals with informative, entertaining, and emotionally intelligent content.