Voices of the Engagement Economy: Content Reigns

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As part of our drive to understand and distill the best thinking from across the marketing world, we have been lucky enough to engage in conversations with senior marketing leaders from a broad range of industries. Through all our discussions, it is clear that certain themes are top-of-mind for many marketers, so we’ve distilled key insights to share with you here.

The first of these is the rising importance of content. In a world where audiences are ever more connected and engaged, standing out in a noisy marketplace is increasingly challenging. Those audiences constantly have sales messages pushed at them and steadily become more immune to traditional pitches. Engaging, high-value content provides a possible route to future success, but how is this shift viewed by CMOs and their organizations? Our conversations provided several important takeaways:

Content = Value

Content is at the core of modern marketing and is increasingly central to how brands can successfully build connections with their audiences.

“We take a content-led, issue-based and digitally-enabled approach to help differentiate Accenture from the competition, disrupt the marketplace and drive awareness, consideration and purchase across each part of the business.” – Karina Gan, Managing Director, Growth Markets, Accenture

“You need to back up the personal relationships with credibility and thought leadership. And you need innovative and compelling packaging, such as videos and graphics, to grab peoples’ attention.” – Camila Casale, CMO, US and Canada, Softek

“Content always evokes emotion and engagement, and it allows us to begin a conversation and pull customers into longer form content or 1x1 discussions.” – Christine Heckart, CMO, Brocade

More Alignment Needed

While CMOs and their teams recognize the importance of great content, the content-driven approach to building relationships is far from universally accepted across organizations.

One of the challenges I have faced when trying to engage clients across all the different touch points is convincing organizations that content is king.” – Jennifer Dominiquini, Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer, BBVA Compass

“You need personal relationships, but it’s not enough to have people like you. You also need to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing.” – Camila Casale, CMO, US and Canada, Softek

One Size DOESN’T Fit All

As audiences become ever more sophisticated, marketing leaders are finding that great content is no longer enough. Content increasingly needs to be tailored to the specific needs of either ever smaller groups, or even individuals.

“In the past, I feel as though marketers focused more on pushing content out across all the channels at their disposal, rather than listening to the customers and customizing the interaction accordingly.” – Clint Poole, SVP and CMO, Lionbridge

“It is important to ensure the content is relevant, especially given the vast differences across the regions. Customizing the content goes beyond just translation; often it’s about understanding the specific market dynamics and issues that will resonate with that target audience.” – Karina Gan, Managing Director, Growth Markets, Accenture

“The way we approach delivering consistent messages across all the relevant touch points is critical.” – Jennifer Dominiquini, Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer, BBVA Compass

Content Isn’t Easy

Developing great content has always been a challenge, but that same audience sophistication means the bar is rising and CMOs are in an arms race to keep up.

“In our business, content means communication, which in turn means language. We deal with highly contextual content, content that is expressing nuanced and complex thoughts and emotions.” – Clint Poole, SVP and CMO, Lionbridge

“We publicize the fact that we’re technology experts, but our customers are very knowledgeable themselves.  Whether it’s a press release or through social media channels, it is critical that we create relevant content.” – Jerome Nadel, CMO, Rambus

Engagement is our objective, so we needed content that people wanted to receive and read in order to create that emotional resonance.” – Christine Heckart, CMO, Brocade

Conclusion

Rising audience sophistication means that content not only has to be more targeted, but must be more sophisticated and delivered in the right way to capture audience attention and engagement. CMOs don’t need to go it alone however. Increased customer data, combined with better analysis and targeting tools can significantly alleviate the burden, better enabling marketing teams to get the right content into the right hands more consistently.

Zilli

Matt Zilli

Chief Customer Officer, Marketo

Matt is Marketo’s chief customer officer, overseeing Customer Success and Global Enablement. He previously served as Marketo’s interim chief marketing officer and group vice president of Product and Solution Marketing.

Before joining Marketo in 2013, Matt helped launch LineStream Technologies as the vice president of Marketing. Previously, he spent time at Texas Instruments and Rovi corporation, where he held positions in sales, marketing, business development, and product management.

Matt holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Santa Clara University and an MBA from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

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