Paul Cowan, Vice President of Product Marketing Enterprise at Shutterstock, examined content generation and how marketing professionals can effectively scale their content to engage consumers during his presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2017 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in Atlanta on December 13. In his presentation, " Scaling Content Generation in a Fragmented Digital World," Cowan explored how brands can scale their content creation, maintain brand consistency and feed their testing and learning programs for their social and digital channels.
According to Cowan, content generation is a major problem for many marketing professionals. Although marketing professionals frequently want innovative tools and technologies to help them bolster a company's digital content, few are willing to implement dramatic changes to their content generation strategies.
"We've been screaming about this need to change the [content generation] model, but no one is changing the model," Cowan said. "We need to take control of the situation and try new ways … of producing content."
Generating timely, relevant and engaging digital content is challenging, particularly in today's always-on, always-connected digital landscape. Today's consumers enjoy quick, easy access to a massive assortment of content. As such, marketing professionals who fail to deliver unique content are unlikely to help their respective companies stand out in a highly competitive global marketplace.
"It's getting harder and harder to get people's attention today," Cowan pointed out. "We're really becoming a culture of skimmers."
At the same time, videos are becoming exceedingly important to consumers and marketing professionals alike.
YouTube and other digital channels make it easy to create and share videos. Meanwhile, smartphones, tablets and other mobile technologies ensure individuals can access videos any time they choose.
"Video is growing at a pretty huge clip," Cowan stated. "What's driving video's growth is mobile. We all have a smartphone in our pocket, and we're able to consume content in a lot of different ways."
How marketers use videos to engage consumers may have far-flung effects on a business.
"It's getting harder and harder to get people's attention today. We're really becoming a culture of skimmers."
If marketing professionals can develop videos that are unique and provide value to consumers, these professionals may help their respective companies stand out from rivals. On the other hand, marketing professionals who fail to capitalize on digital advertising tools may cause their respective businesses to fall behind the competition.
"Every time someone checks their phone, it gives someone an opportunity to advertise," Cowan noted. "This is creating all different types of demand for different types of ad formats."
An effective content generation strategy must account for different types of content across a wide range of platforms. With this strategy in place, marketing professionals can keep pace with consumers and connect with consumers from any location, at any time.
"We need to think about the ways that we're creating content to fit different channels," Cowan indicated. "All of the different types of formats that we need to create for are fairly standardized as well."
Also, marketing professionals must strive for innovation relative to content generation.
There is no one-size-fits-all content generation strategy that works well for all companies. Conversely, marketing professionals must allocate time and resources to understand a company's target audience and tailor the business' content accordingly. This will increase the likelihood that marketing professionals can find the best ways to deliver content to consumers, regardless of a company's size or industry.
"Budgets haven't gone up, and we have a lot more demands and we have a lot more customer segments that we're trying to hit," Cowan said. "In order to [accomplish these goals], we need to think about different ways to go to market."
Furthermore, marketing professionals should prioritize consistency as they put together content across different channels.
"We need to think about the ways that we're creating content to fit different channels."
If marketers can help a company develop a one-of-a-kind visual style and look, a business' content may stand out to consumers. As a result, this company's content can generate lots of interest, leading to increased lead generation and revenues.
"Brands need to create a consistent visual style and look," Cowan stated. "[This] enables brands to really stand for something."
Ultimately, marketers are responsible for helping their respective businesses differentiate themselves in today's digital landscape.
Marketers who emphasize differentiation as they scale their content generation strategies may be able to help their companies succeed. In fact, these marketing professionals can develop engaging digital marketing campaigns that make it simple for their respective companies to connect with consumers from around the globe.
"If you're competing for that swiping thumb on Instagram or Facebook, it's really tough to differentiate if everything looks exactly the same in the feeds," Cowan pointed out.
Paul is VP Marketing at Shutterstock Custom. He runs global demand generation and customer marketing efforts, helping brand scale their custom content creation efforts. Over his 15 years, he's spent time in large matrix organizations and small start-ups. He co-founded Toronto based on-demand food company Feast and helped launch several b2b SaaS companies like Syncapse and Dive Networks. On the corporate side, Paul focused on integrated marketing activities at Rogers Wireless and Spin Master Toys.