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Marketing Content Strategy

Marriott International Bets on Content with New Content Development Studio

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Marriott International is the latest brand to rev up its content marketing efforts with a new creative studio devoted to content development, production, and distribution. This move follows a growing marketing trend that has brands clamoring to become content publishers.

Marriott’s global content studio will share digital and filmed content across film, television, online, digital, and print platforms, according to a press release. The company considers the studio to be a way to further its focus on next-generation travelers through original content marketing. The content studio will handle internal work for Marriott International’s portfolio of 18 travel-related brands, Adweek reports.

Content development handled by the studio will include “snackable, travel lifestyle-related content,” “episodic story-driven content,” and “real-time content around trending topics and conversations on social media.” Former Disney–ABC Television executive David Beebe, now Marriott’s VP of creative, content marketing, and global marketing, will lead the new initiative.

Marriott’s power play to own the travel entertainment space is similar to efforts that brands like Red Bull have made in recent years. Brands are betting that if they can win consumers’ trust with compelling content, they will become go-to sources for information and, ultimately, products and services.

“While content is just part of the overall travel experience we provide, we believe Marriott can become the world’s leading publisher of travel lifestyle content for the next generation,” Beebe said. “Our goal is to produce engaging content that builds communities of people passionate about travel that will drive commerce.”

The push for branded content may be more urgent now that marketers are turning away from Facebook. Recent changes made to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm have hurt brands’ reach on the social network, Adweek reports, leading some marketers to reallocate resources to microsites and other social networks like LinkedIn.

Now, marketers are looking to use social networks to drive users to their own branded sites. According to Jun Group, the number of clicks that led users to brand-owned sites doubled between 2012 and 2013 from 28 percent to 57 percent. Meanwhile, clicks that ended at Facebook dropped to just 10 percent from 31 percent.

For brands, the allure of a brand-owned-and-operated content site exists in control. Unlike their Facebook pages, brands can exercise complete control over content on their own microsites. Brands also get the added benefit of capturing data on visitors, helping them better target users down the road. While content marketing can be challenging, brands that get it right are rewarded by brand loyalty and the willingness of brand champions to share their positive experiences with others.

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