We make 35,000 decisions every day
Try to imagine, just for a second, how frustrating the decision-making process has become for consumers.
Looking at internet use in Italy, 62% of people go online at least once a week and when they do, they are literally bombarded with advertising emails. There are more than 60 million active business pages and a total of five million advertiser on Facebook alone.
In Italy, Zuckerberg's Facebook and Youtube are tussling for the title of most active platform of all, to the point they seem to be competing to see who can spew out the most content, crowding the marketplace even more than the proverbial cackle of fishwives on market day.
Angela Barison, AKQA Italy Head of Strategy has pointed to the stratospheric numbers involved: it is estimated that, every second, 7972 tweets are tweeted, 853 photos are shared on Instagram and 73,115 videos are posted on Youtube. That’s enough to give poor consumers a sore head! Such immense outpouring of content, which gets lost in the daily sea of information swimming around the internet, is perceived as either irrelevant by 34% of people or as annoying, because it's too invasive.
Having to constantly decide which offers to go for is becoming frustrating for users, who are now looking for solutions or guides to simplify/reduce the field of choice. In fact, the real challenge for brands, nowadays, is to build relevant content that gives consumers genuine added value: relevance means content that satisfies a real and specific need. But these needs expressed by consumers, whether conscious or subconscious, change throughout their journey, they never remain the same. So, what’s a brand do?
Technology is our knight in shining armor: introducing Content Intelligence
Since 2013, the so-called search to get the right content to the right people at the right time has been among the hot topics discussed at length by marketers. As well-intentioned as targeting one’s audience might be, doing it without the help of technology could result in entire advertising campaigns being rolled out on the basis of mere assumptions, with the added risk that they will fail. But we’re in the 21st century, it’s 2018, and Content Intelligence, or rather, Artificial Intelligence applied to content, has perfected how accurate brands can be in their aim, thereby allowing them to fine-tune their campaigns so they more closely reflect the multifaceted interests of their audiences, which can be extrapolated in real time by CI from how users are interacting with content.
Listen up! If used correctly by companies and their marketing teams, CI can help build connections with an audience. How? Measuring content performance and identifying hot topics generates data that can be used to make more informed decisions when it comes to planning content that will create an aura of trust around the brand and push consumers to become qualified leads as they convert from contacts to customers on a brand’s proprietary channels.
Rethinking editorial strategy with the help of CI is also a means of whittling down the content mountains and optimizing content production: we produce content for a variety of channels but only when it is coherently distributed can it create engaging experiences for users.
We need to bear in mind - as Angela Barison explains - that the hive in which relationships between a brand and consumer are born is a radically different one from the past. First and foremost, people are less trusting nowadays. Take Italy, for example. In 2017-2018, trust in the state dropped by 5 percentage points, and all eyes are on business as a potential driver of change. This widespread perception can be “exploited” to gain influence if the businesses concerned know how to align with their customers’ expectations.
Let’s not forget that the internet has also become an integral part of everyday life, we are hyper connected over mobile devices, and Gartner has estimated that by 2020, the majority of people will have more interactions with bots than with their partners. In such a context, the generation that can make a difference are Millennials, the largest generation in the current labor force: their world is a digital one, they have higher expectations, the fault of which lies with digital native brands like Netflix, AirBnB, Uber and Amazon, who have revolutionized expectations by constantly raising the bar and offering increasingly instant results.
As Google showed us in its “micro-moments” video, people’s needs change at varying moments of their lives, so we have to be able to satisfy all the micro-moments by giving consumers the best possible experience, helping them to get from A to B and making sure they come away from the interaction with your brand with a positive impression, by giving them the right content, at the right time and in the right way.
The real challenge is to satisfy specific needs with products and services as well as covering all the other moments in a customer’s journey with quality content.
Angela Barison had some advice on how to design content that meets our audience’s needs (proving that the brand can provide rewarding experiences!):
- orchestrate the message: keep repeating your brand’s message constantly and frequently to reduce the cognitive burden.
- make it familiar to your audience: mass, cluster or one-to-one)
- select the most effective touchpoints: find the best multiple approach for your target audience so you can deliver your message in the most appropriate way.
- make the interaction at touchpoints significant, pertinent, and distinctive: exploit, as much as you can, the product concept, what it looks like, and how it fits the user's needs.
Angela Barison advises brands to try to understand how they can lever content to take action at the various touchpoints along a customer’s journey from contact to new or repeat purchase, using all channels available.
Offering real value at each point can help build a long-term relationship with users and be positively associated with the issues addressed.
Forging an ongoing and lasting relationship with people is the ultimate and most important added value of content.