How are companies approaching the challenge of customer engagement at a time of unprecedented business change, when campaigns need to be agile, flexible and responsive? Research confirms that content marketing is regarded as the most effective way to engage, reinforce sentiment and build relationships – yet two thirds of marketers will still default to traditional advertising methods despite the obvious constraints.
With the current shift towards light touch, more agile marketing projects and the need to rapidly evolve the corporate voice and embrace new sentiments, it is time for marketers to be confident and back their faith in content marketing, insists Yogesh Shah, CEO, iResearch.
Responsive and Engaging
Content marketing has played an increasingly important role in the marketing mix in recent years, helping to build and maintain trust and nurture customer relationships; but over the past few months it is providing a new level of value. With pressure on budgets and often limited staff resources, many of the leading content generators have been revisiting existing resources and discovering a pool of valuable insights that could be repurposed to meet immediate needs. Those organisations with a good content strategy in place have been able to quickly respond to the need for more frequent messaging and customer interaction to provide essential assurance.
Active content marketers have also rapidly refocused activity, moving away from the landmark, six to eight-month content projects anchored to one piece of extensive research to far more agile content, needed in today’s ever-changing world. Companies have rapidly recognised the value of light touch research that can be created in a few weeks. The focus, the messaging and the voice can be continually evolved and pivoted in response to changing attitudes and business focus. Companies can be far more speculative, even experimental – leveraging the real time and continuous feedback via social engagement to track and monitor engagement before moving onto the next topic.
The value of this agile approach is already recognised by marketers – as a recent survey of global marketers conducted by iResearch confirmed. The senior marketers surveyed agreed that content marketing delivers the highest levels of audience engagement compared to other forms of marketing. With this in mind, the question has to be asked: why do 66% of marketers still believe advertising is an effective marketing strategy?
Content Management Flexibility
It is the flexibility of content marketing that offers such broad range of opportunities and reuse, from blogs to articles, white papers to webinars – especially at a time of continuously evolving messaging. It is the ideal platform to support the shift in corporate sentiment that has become increasingly important as businesses evolve the focus and consider their purpose from a societal perspective.
Consider for example, the financial institution that has created an array of powerful content relating to the value of education in third world countries in invigorating economies. This project not only built brand awareness and but also reinforced the company’s positive role in society and its expertise within third world investment. Other companies have pivoted the message towards sustainability, leveraging research insight to demonstrate the opportunities to drive operational improvements and profit as part of creating a more sustainable, circular business model.
Content marketing enables businesses to demonstrate their knowledge and area authority, but also provides a chance to focus on specific audience groups, to build engagement and customer relationships. And it works. As the survey confirmed, a third of marketers believes opinion based content provides the best engagement and 71% believe thought leadership provides the best results for sentiment and relationship building. 61% of marketers also believe that issues-led content that shows an understanding of the audience’s business or industry challenges receives higher engagement.
Managing messaging at a time of continuous change is hugely challenging. But those companies that embrace and refine content marketing strategies will not only improve customer engagement today, but will also be well placed to respond to the personalisation opportunities offered by Martech.
From AI to automation, Martech will offer marketers the chance to achieve mass personalisation for content marketing. To do this will require a wealth of strong, readily accessible content across themes, vertical markets, and geographic areas to enable personal engagement that truly reflects each customer’s interests.
Companies that leverage the opportunity to explore light touch content marketing to support the current need for evolving customer engagement models will gain confidence, discover the opportunities to refine the type and tone of voice and embrace the opportunity to manage and support changing business needs.