Content Marketing, a strategy that must invest all company departments

Camilla Bottin
Content Manager @ THRON

Reaching consumers with quality content

 

Once upon a time, there was good old marketing, the one that used to get customers’ attention with billboards, newspaper advertisements, radio ads and TV advertising. Nowadays, everything has changed, especially the consumer. Indeed, the latter is constantly “bombarded” by a myriad of advertising messages on a daily basis. The consumer is bored and annoyed by the saturation and intrusiveness of the marketing they are subjected to, to the extent that they feel harassed.

This is why, to attract and convince potential customers to purchase (in the digital age, they have become “prosumers” and are, therefore, more aware, interactive and able to multitask than ever before!), the right solution is not to buy impressive advertising spaces, but rather, to fight the cognitive overload that the user is faced with during their customer journey. The aim is to “get found” in this “vast ocean” by transmitting quality content that offers added value and that, therefore, knows how to offer a unique and customized experience. 

Nowadays, it can no longer be denied: the construction of a Content Marketing strategy, or use of quality content to engage and retain the target market, certainly has a positive impact on a business level. This is because it allows for the attraction of qualified leads and, therefore, an increase in conversions on the brand’s owned media.

The latest statistics provided by the Content Marketing Institute confirm that it is an effective strategy: indeed, the most successful marketers assign 40% of their budgets to content and 38% of them expect to increase this within the year. This is because content is proving to be an extremely powerful tool, to the extent that, in her essay, Rebecca Lieb defines it as “the atomic particle of corporate strategy”.

 

If content is an atomic particle, it needs to be aggregated to create material

 

Although all company departments have something to do with content, from social media conversations, in which Customer Services are available to resolve problems, to internal communications, and from documents of a financial nature to the data updated by account managers, etc., – as Content Strategist Giuseppe Caltabiano pointed out – there are very few organizations that are able to prepare a content marketing strategy that includes all departments comprehensively. This includes, following the prior definition of each department’s targets and objectives, recognizing the marketing department as a central hub to create and distribute quality content.

When the different departments of a brand work as though they were separated silos, with content produced and distributed in a diversified manner, they risk giving an inconsistent brand image and tone of voice. On top of this, by transmitting the same content without a shared distribution strategy, time and money risks being wasted due to the process of updating assets every time on each channel through which the brand communicates.

This is why brands must adopt a content-centric model with the marketing department as the center of gravity from which company content is managed. Every department can benefit from a unified Content Marketing strategy and Caltabiano demonstrates this with an exhaustive analysis that mobilizes them all.

Just think about Public Relations (PR) and about how, thanks to this new approach, they are able to transform themselves from push, with their continuous “thrusting” (often without success) of information toward editors and the media, to pull, now attracting them in their direction with quality content.

A striking example is provided by the company General Mills that has gone from using traditional press releases to creating a public blog, “Taste of General Mills”. Here, news is reported regarding new products and company results. Needless to say, with this captivating and creative tool, attracting the media’s attention has become much easier. Not to mention the fact that PR, at this point, can benefit from the use of relevant metrics and “emerge” with content that is already aligned with the marketing department!

When the different departments of a brand work as though they were separated silos, with content produced and distributed in a diversified manner, they risk giving an inconsistent brand image and tone of voice. On top of this, by transmitting the same content without a shared distribution strategy, time and money risks being wasted due to the process of updating assets every time on each channel through which the brand communicates.

In addition, with the integration between content and social media channels, Customer Services can be transformed, using social media as its “sensors” to receive customer feedback in a proactive listening space where solutions are created. Dell wanted to improve the bidirectional conversation between customers and users and has done so with an exceptional customer assistance experience based on content. The steps are as follows: 

  1. Active listening: through the Global Listening Center, Dell manages to keep track of all public mentions relating to the company and its products/services, collect customer feedback, and understand how to best relate to its customers
  2. Content creation: a creation process of valuable content follows on from the “listening” task. This content should help to predict customer needs based on what users have indicated as being of interest to them
  3. Customer engagement: the customer experience becomes exceptional as the consumer is completely involved in all conversations relating to assistance and can use any social media platform as a one-stop shop for all their questions.

At this point, the customer is pleasantly satisfied by this exhaustive interaction with the brand.  

If we then go and look at Aberdeen Research’s report, we can see that, on average, companies that are adept at aligning their marketing and sales departments experience a growth of 32% per year. This improvement driver comes undoubtedly as a result of content, which allows the sales team to become more effective and incisive. Thanks to this content and its use (an increased customer understanding lies at the root), approaches can be tailored toward the customer, who is no longer a number or an email address but has an identity and clearly defined interests.

A Docurated study confirms it too: the use of original content simplifies the conclusion of agreements. 74% of managing directors and sales executives interviewed confirmed that they use it as a fundamental tool to win over potential customers.

In order to create a content-based marketing strategy that includes all departments, internal communication channels between teams must be established. To do so – as Caltabiano explains – the same tactics used for “external” Content Marketing can be implemented. He takes “The Content Strategist” as an example, the biweekly Content Marketing newsletter that was developed at the heart of Schneider Electric as a direct result of the need to inform regional operators on each occasion about the global content marketing program. With content collected from different teams and sources, this newsletter has proven to be an innovative and efficient method of internal communication, with a five-times increase in readers.

A Content Marketing strategy can also be extremely useful within the Human Resources environment to try and “attract” more qualified external talents in order to help the company grow with new competences. Blogs and social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are enriched with content that help to present a brand’s culture and vision: to give an example, the social media posts relating to the Cisco employees’ #wearecisco campaign, are eight times more engaging than the brand’s posts, and this is because the trust and empathy element is very high. Not only this, as well as giving recruitment a hand, with internal content (infographics, short videos, etc.) collected in a hub, it also becomes easier to train employees who access the relevant folder.

Considering that one of the account managers’ tasks includes the management of relationships with loyal customers once they have been obtained, they can use content to “nurture” them. This means providing them with useful information and interactions at each phase of purchasing process so as to position the company as the best solution to reach their objectives.

In practice, all company departments will be able to benefit from Content Marketing and this is why its strategy must become increasingly pervasive.

Let’s not forget either that Content Marketing and, therefore, the value of content can be maximized and enhanced with Content Intelligence, or rather, Artificial Intelligence applied to content. It rationalizes content with the removal of duplicates and redundancies, makes brand messages consistent with a centralized distribution of assets, and analyzes and extracts the data generated by its use, taking advantage of this data to then increase engagement and conversion rates.

 

Would you like to understand how
Content Marketing will transform
company departments?
Read the article by Giuseppe Caltabiano

Read the article