ADP and Twentieth Century Fox are extremely mature businesses in competitive industries. These are companies that know how to wrap process around their activities, including content marketing. Companies that reach this size and level of maturity usually focus on operational excellence and efficiency as a means of driving growth and fending off the competition. Early on, Matt Petitjean of ADP made it clear that content marketing can be one of those areas of operational excellence. To paraphrase him: Content can become your competitive advantage.
The marketers that came together in the Arizona desert were looking for just that: a competitive advantage over fierce competition in the digital space.
In fact, the day-long speaking program began with another perspective on competitive advantage in business. Harley Manning of Forrester Research, author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business, gave the opening keynote. Mr. Manning posited that in increasingly competitive markets, it is the companies that focus on customer experience that win in the long run. These are the companies that grow.
It became clear to summit attendees that creating a sustainable competitive advantage means supplementing their excellence in capturing demand with excellence in creating value for current and potential consumers. Simply stated: Digital marketers must learn to give as well as they have been taking.
Producing original content and a high-quality digital experience are important means for digital marketers to create value. This, however, is easier said than done. Once you accept the need to give back, how do you go about it?
Here are some ideas that came from the featured panel on agency content marketing and multiple breakout sessions with marketers from many different industries.
Content cannot motivate people to interact with it and then transact with your business unless it speaks to them. Mike McCoy spoke about messaging for the movie Life of Pi. He noted that messaging in Latin America was drastically different from messaging in Russia. In Latin America, the communications strategy and messaging focused on the family-friendly nature of the movie, while the value proposition in Russia focused on the philosophical, personal journey of Pi.
Marketing doesn’t stop after your new product is launched. And marketing doesn’t stop after your white paper is published. Organizations must create a process to unlock the intellectual capital that goes into creating and delivering their products and services. Potential customers want as much valuable information as you can give them in a searchable, sharable, and snackable format.
Some summit attendees did express the concern that they have created too much content. Effectively, the concern was that they were creating shallow content. Content that was too tactical. Content that answered one small question but never addressed the bigger picture. Giving thoughtfully means creating content that you believe will build an audience and elicit an ongoing conversation.