DIGITAL INTERACTIVE SERVICES
Why content-led marketing strategies are more effective than ever for brands?
In the information-hungry world that we live in, content rules the virtual space for marketing strategies. As content-led marketing strategies evolve to take advantage of emerging digital technologies, more and more enterprises are waking up to the power of content and the benefits it can bring home. So, what is it aboutcontent-led marketing that makes it more relevant and effective than ever for brands?
To explore that thought, let us first look at two definitions of content marketing: One academic paper defined content marketing as “a management process where firms identify, analyse and satisfy customer demand to gain profit with the use of digital content distributed through electronic channels.”
Here’s another definition: Content marketing is storytelling. Which of these intrigues you or resonates with you? And which definition will you remember a week from now? The answer is obvious! Nevertheless, read on to know why.
“Tell me a story.” That simple expression of a desire goes back in time to when primitive peoples scratched out their life stories on cave walls. Stories have been an enduring means of communication throughout mankind’s history. While modes of communication have evolved, from rock art, oral traditions, and palm leaves to print, photographs and videography, the purpose of storytelling remains the same – to convey messages, impart wisdom, share information, knowledge, experiences and insights that help us to understand and navigate our world.
Savvy marketers have long known that content marketing is essentially the art of storytelling. Adapting the principles of this timeless tradition to their profession, they generate content that is relevant and offers value to customers who are searching for information. Above all, like every story that endures, good content is compelling, emotive and invites deep engagement.
So what makes content-led marketing even more effective now? Businesses have travelled a long way, from beaming out messages that they considered to be of value to consumers. The internet upended this privilege, placing the power of choice in the hands of people who browse, research, compare and consult others, whether they are buying homes, seeking jobs, planning vacations, or shopping for gifts. For brands, this means marketing is now less about delivering messages and more about having a conversation with their customers.
The incessant proliferation of brands, however, can make scouring the internet a not-so-easy experience, even for digital natives. This is where a good brand story scores over others, by educating the customer, helping her along her buying journey, appealing to shared values and providing solutions to pain points, all without the pressure to make a purchase. Now more than ever, there is no dearth of tools for marketers to tell their story, from older channels such as blog posts, emails and infographics and white papers to newer options like social media, influencers, videos, podcasts, and hybrid event marketing.
Good stories travel across cultures and geographical borders. Similarly, content-led marketing that is useful, engaging, clever or touching can lead to happy customers becoming brand advocates, sharing your brand’s story with their social circle and potentially amplifying its reach. If that’s not a great return on investment, what is?
The pandemic gave a huge push to content-led marketing strategies. Functioning remotely meant that more people than ever relied on their digital devices to work, study, buy stuff, socialise and be entertained. The “Boomer” generation, for example, which was only marginally comfortable with using digital devices, adapted to the new norm, shopping online, seeking OTT entertainment options and communicating on chat groups.
The pandemic is in retreat, but the upsurge in numbers of digital users continues. For marketers, this is both an opportunity and challenge, to consistently build rapport with a varied customer base. Many customers have considerations other than the usual parameters like pricing. Younger generations, for instance, demand a lot more of businesses in terms of their brand philosophy. How green is product X’s packaging? Is company Y socially responsible? How does brand Z give back to society? Concerns such as these are full of openings for marketers to develop content that tells consumers who they are and what they stand for – stories that build trust in their products, give a human touch to business, convey empathy and provide solutions to people’s problems.
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