Content marketing is becoming a key driver in today’s marketing efforts, but to do it effectively and shine thru all the marketing and content clutter that is in the marketplace is the challenge. We all need to improve our focus and develop effective content marketing strategies to succeed today.
Content Marketing ‘Don’t Come Easy’
CMO EXCLUSIVES | April 02, 2014
by Jessica Jeffcoat
Research Analyst, Growth Team Membership
Frost & Sullivan
I recently saw The LEGO Movie with my husband and our LEGO-obsessed 11-year-old son. Despite (or maybe because of) a transparent commercial agenda, the movie was a brilliant piece of branded content that’ll go down as one of 2014’s most effective—and certainly most profitable—marketing moments.
- Creating compelling digital content is no longer a nice-to-have.
- Marketers’ top challenge is creating content that delivers value to customers.
- Although video is not a new medium, its use on popular online sites has the potential to connect with a social-savvy demographic.
The LEGO Movie tells the story of an utterly ordinary mini figure, Emmet, in a familiar plot: His destiny is to save the LEGO universe from an evil tyrant. The LEGO Movie uses a traditional medium (film) to share traditional content (a story with a familiar plot) and appeal to the masses, including nostalgic ticket-paying, toy-buying parents. However, LEGO also recognizes that traditional marketing vehicles are no longer enough. It also takes advantage of digital media, including an interactive Web site and movie-inspired video games, to connect with a more niche audience.
As the marketing world floods with content, it’s more important than ever for marketers to differentiate their voice from the rest of the noise. Given widespread online and mobile access to information, creating compelling digital content is no longer a nice-to-have. It should be the foundation of your company’s brand identity, demonstrating who your company is and compelling the audience to learn more about you.
However, many marketers are struggling with effective content marketing, regardless of the medium. Frost & Sullivan and CMO.com’s “2014 Marketing Priorities Survey” reveals that marketers’ top challenge is creating content that delivers value to customers. Furthermore, the majority of marketers (65 percent) rate their content marketing efforts as “average” or lower.
So why are marketers having a hard time producing content that resonates with customers? Most survey respondents attribute their challenges to inadequate staffing levels and time constraints. Marketers expect moderate increases in their content marketing budgets in 2014, but it’s unclear whether these increases will address staffing limitations. Consequently, marketers may find themselves forced to produce higher quality content, and likely more of it, with the same head count.
There could be, however, an alternate explanation for why marketers are struggling with content. The majority of marketers currently use, and plan to devote more resources to, tried-and-true vehicles, such as brochures, customer case studies, and live events. Survey respondents consider these traditional mediums to be the most effective content types to attract and retain customers. However, this may reflect a risk-averse mind-set—and a disconnect with customer behavior—that’s keeping many marketers from creating truly unique and compelling digital content, and they must explore new and different ways to get their messages out.
The one potential bright spot in the survey was the majority of respondents (53 percent) plan to allocate more resources to video in 2014. Although the medium is not new, its use on popular online sites, such as YouTube or Vimeo, has the potential to connect with a social-savvy demographic. When done well, video is an engaging, entertaining content vehicle that distinguishes a company’s personality.
Content marketing isn’t going anywhere, and marketers must devote the necessary time and staffing to do it well. However, relying on traditional channels, which some audiences may find outmoded and stale, doesn’t help. Like LEGO, marketers need to push beyond the status quo and take advantage of the huge opportunity digital content presents to attract new and retain existing customers.
Access the full results of the 2014 Marketing Priorities Survey to learn the top challenges marketers are facing, resource trends, and the findings of our special interest section on content marketing. (Note: Short registration required.) If you have any questions about the survey, please contact us at: GTMResearch@frost.com