Know your audience

Today content marketing is all about the synergy of data, technology and creativity, so get creative with your data.

Our job in this creative media business is to establish a solid and loyal relationship between consumers and brands. It is about creating a level of transparency. Tell the consumer a story and build a relationship that surprises and engages. Content marketing is an interesting one and while it is difficult to determine whether we’ve passed the threshold yet, marketers are increasingly investing money into this avenue of engagement.

If the Content Marketing Institute’s figures are anything to go by, almost 90% of marketers have indicated plans to deliver more content in 2016 than last year. What does this indicate? Quality. Marketers will need to focus on the quality of output, opposed to pumping out irrelevant content.

The evolution the industry has experienced has revealed an interesting area to watch – the acceleration in mergers and acquisitions, related to content marketing companies. In this context, we can see the rise of distribution, discovery and measurement.

Shining examples include Outbrain’s purchase of content discovery company, Scribit, and IBM’s purchase of SilverPop and Xtify. This brings me to explore another interesting development: it is not merely about a strong content strategy. Instead, it’s about distribution – the acceleration of content in front of the right demographic, the right message at the right time.

Earlier, I mentioned it’s about building a relationship. This principle alone has changed and while understanding the mentality of the consumer used to be about building a face-to-face relationship, in a world dominated by programmatic buying, targeting and retargeting, the strength of the relationship is based on the backbone of the creative message. This is what hooks consumers. The contemporary consumer is bombarded with the frequent inundation of information from technology, to branding, to product placements and native advertising.

It’s increasingly harder to ask for consumer attention and be able to hold it. Because of this media influx, consumers are so in tune with what is real and what is advertising. I don’t think we give the public enough credit for that. So our challenge in this creative media business is to play with the idea that we can communicate something of groundbreaking substance.

I like to think that the solution is the creation of client teams that have a diversity of skillsets, both generalists and specialists. Take the open office layout for example. Sit a media planner with a data specialist, a PR director with a creative strategist and so on. A tip here is to ensure that each skillset is involved in major briefs from the onset, to avoid data leads and substandard creative entering as an afterthought. I see this as a simple solution; however, the reality is that many agencies are siloed.

I guess on the other hand, we have more access to our consumers than ever. We can see in comments and online platforms, what works and what doesn’t, invaluable tools when it comes to predicting what they want next. This is the ever-evolving role of transparency.

The solid marketing strategies bypass product specifics and focus on addressing the person behind every purchase, tailored engagement. Data and creativity operate in a rather perfect synergy the moment you scroll through Instagram and Facebook. It is here that we can see the two separate streams of data and creativity running in parallel.

In the 60s, research went into determining the reaction of consumers to certain colours. Red equals hunger and yellow was associated with happy, and suddenly you started craving a Quarter Pounder.

Today, it’s about the synergy of data, technology and creativity. Get creative with data. In saying this, I think the biggest mistake that young creatives make in the field these days is assuming that the audiences will accept plugs and blatant marketing. That kind of alienating, “us vs them” attitude can kill a campaign very quickly.

Never underestimate the consumer. In order to exploit the full potential of data and creativity, break down barriers between departments. The greatest and most creative mentality lies with a diverse and nimble mindset.

Jason Dooris, CEO, Atomic 212°

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