- June 8, 2017
- Posted by: Robert Rose
- Category: Business Transformation, Featured
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book Killing Marketing with Joe Pulizzi
We’ve often talked about the direct revenue or value-based models that can be achieved with a great content strategy. We talk about more leads, better leads, more valuable customers, or even direct, cash revenue.
However, there are also a good number of efficiencies that can be driven as well. When we look more closely at technology, and the value of data to our marketing efforts, we can begin to see subscribed audiences can provide a means of many of the other things we need to accomplish as a business in a more effective and efficient manner.
Combined with the revenue and growth to the bottom line, these cost-savings can help us to achieve a much more profitable business.
Consider Kraft Foods for a moment. They have been a leader in content marketing for a number of years. They publish Food & Family magazine – a revenue generating magazine – which consistently beats Food & Wine in terms of circulation. But the real magic isn’t the revenue they drive, it’s the cost-savings for their traditional digital media buy. The company utilizes the data that it pulls from the audience of its Online Recipes Database, and achieves a 4X return on its traditional digital media buy.
Using their content and data technology, Kraft tracks more than 22,000 attributes of the more than 100 million visitors to its website. That’s two trillion data points if you’re counting at home. Utilizing that data, traditional digital advertisements are personalized, and focused through much more programmatic media buys. As Julie Fleischer, the then director for data, content and media told Ad Age in 2014:
“The days of free organic reach are rapidly coming to an end. If you wouldn’t spend money behind it, then why do it? It’s shouting into the wind without making a sound… Relevant content programmed strategically with your advertising makes your advertising work harder for you.”
As Joe and I discuss in our upcoming book, Killing Marketing, the new marketing model and the new media model are one in the same.
Once a loyal audience is developed, we can look to seven ways to monetize that audience to help save costs. Like the revenue models that Joe has talked about here, these also map to our overall Grow, Keep and Win framework as well.
Audiences: The Strategic Savings Account
Our tendency as businesses managers is to look at the developments of marketing trends with a focus on both hardware and software development. In other words, we look at the development of tablets, or mobile phones, or the internet of things, or artificial intelligence as yet another platform that we need to account for. Or, we see new customer aggregation points, such as broadcast television, cable TV, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or SnapChat as software platforms to which we need to assign special content teams and content strategies.
The result over the last 15 years has been the creation of silos, even within marketing departments. We now have Social Teams, Mobile Teams, Social CRM Teams, E-Business Teams, Web Teams, PR Teams, Brand Teams, and on and on.
It’s simple: businesses must realize that there will be no possible way to scale to every marketing channel on which they must ensure the brand story is being told.
It is vital for marketing departments to stretch and create valuable content across the entirety of the funnel, because that content can (and will) be shared by customers. That’s the only way a brand can ever hope to be on as many channels as is necessary. Every valuable experience or content that is shared by audiences across a social network – reduces the need of that brand to maintain presence on that channel.
Thus, the only way to scale in content is to transform the marketing department’s structure and purpose around the creation, management, and ultimate flow of information (i.e., content) to both describe and, more importantly, create value for customers.
And this must happen despite existing or future channels. In short, marketing departments must implement new organizational changes that meet the fast-changing needs of customer empowerment and the need for the organization to orchestrate the vast amounts of content it produces.
The description of value is relatively well understood. There is no doubt that marketing departments are producing exponentially MORE content than ever before to describe the value of their products and services. It’s the transformation of marketing into a function that CREATES valuable experiences and content that is the new muscle for most organizations—one we hope to exercise and develop a bit with our book.
So, ultimately these arguments explain why everything must change about how we take our businesses to market. Marketing has to be built in order to create value, not just describe it. We’re classically trained as marketers to describe value across the Four P’s. Now, we must do more by creating value using both content AND experiences.
As stated before, to make content work for the business, it’s not enough for brands to just act like media companies—they must become media companies that develop and delight audiences continually. As media companies, brands engage customers through every aspect of the marketing funnel:
- From their first awareness of the product, service or brand promise
- Through their nurturing and decision-making process
- To when they become customers
- To when they become loyal, up-sold, cross-sold, and ultimately evangelistic about subscribing to our brand approach.
In many companies today, marketing is simply the service organization that views the sales department as a “customer” and exists simply to support sales with the materials they need. Even worse, in some companies, marketing is an annoyance that just creates pretty brochures while the “important work” happens elsewhere. In some companies content, and the creation of it, is seen simply as busy work for marketing to do when they have no new brochure or ad to create. For many this won’t change and their inaction will be fundamental in their demise.
In this new model of marketing, unique, impactful, differentiating content-driven experiences will become an investment that’s every bit as important as product development. One key benefit is that marketing can be the grand saving’s account for the enterprise. Successful marketers will adapt and change in a constantly evolving media operation that focuses on creating delightful experiences to inform, entertain, engage, and evolve the customer.