Content may be "king" to some, and "queen" to others, but as this emerging marketing strategy continues to occupy the minds of professionals across industries, one may soon argue that content represents the entire royal family. Because the constant state of mobile connectivity facilitates a continuous path to purchase, marketers now avidly pursue content strategies that engage consumers throughout the buying process, embracing the opportunity to provide relevant, contextual, and personalized information every step of the way. However, as companies develop their strategy, they must avoid taking the self-centered approach that comes with focusing on business objectives. Instead, brands must be sure the customers' POV drives their efforts, for an emphasis on consistency and convenience will ultimately earn credibility and further engagement.
"Don't try to be all things to all people," says Donna Pahel, director of digital marketing and ecommerce strategy at EPiServer. "Focus on providing experiences that are contextually meaningful with your targeted audience and resonate well with your brand, products, and services. Also, don't obsess on an ideal state. Rather, get started with a finite number of executables that you can monitor and measure, create an actionable plan to optimize, and scale over time--Be agile and iterate!"
Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiServer, the most successful content marketers are those that have reevaluated their mindset, using the COPE model--Create Once, Publish Everywhere--to propel their overall strategy. Such efforts structure information around the consumer persona, breaking content into small, digestible pieces to influence the buyer's journey. This, content can be fed into the appropriate digital or physical channels as needed, allowing the given brand to connect with prospects in the right place at the right time.
"Many marketing organizations are daunted by technology and knowing what's actually possible," Egner says. "But, as technology becomes increasingly affordable for companies of all sizes, think about the experience you want to create first, then look for good ways to take small, agile investment steps to build out a digital marketing ecosystem that fits your business needs."
For instance, Coop Norway, a retail grocery chain in Norway, actively helps customers answer a question most inevitably face on a daily basis--What's for dinner tonight? The chain realized that customers are constantly fighting the battle between balancing family life with their busy work schedules, as many have different lifestyle preferences and are always on the go. By considering the needs from the customers' POV, Coop successfully created a cross-screen and cross-venue experience for customers to help them answer that nagging question, while driving engagement and loyalty to their stores. Customers may create lists and menus while at home, view offers while on the go, and interact in real time during the in-store shopping experience. Coop Norway remains ready and willing to help customers when and where they decide to engage, thereby building a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with their customers by providing a helpful hand along the continuous path to purchase.
Content has come to rule many marketing strategies, but companies must ensure that such tactics operate with a liberal hand. Content marketing offers vast opportunities for brands to influence the customer's path to purchase, but said efforts must remain customer centric, or else risk customer dissatisfaction and churn.