Content marketing, the marketing technique of systematically creating, distributing   and recycling relevant content to attract, engage, acquire and keep customers. 2012 felt like the year that content marketing as a concept gained the credibility to become an intrinsic part of a brand’s marketing strategy.

When we analyse marketing trends, and distinguish them from fads, content marketing staked its claim as the solution to consistently drive brand consideration alongside the more traditional methods of TV, press, sponsorship etc.

When you look at your traditional purchase funnel, and particularly in service sectors, content marketing becomes a vehicle whereby the by-product of your activity is the consumer buys your product. Therefore the average campaign model to drive acquisition starts to look fundamentally different.

Today’s ‘always on society’ (disturbingly as I type this I have six screens from laptop to tablet to smartphone vying for my attention) and the pace of change in the digital world can be genuinely unsettling for us marketers. In part due to this, and ever decreasing attention spans, I believe that the days of product led campaign blasts on TV and banner advertising are diminishing for some sectors particularly those with low-engagement rates in the first place. Financial services are very much included in that comment.

Now ask yourself when was the last time you clicked on a banner advert? And what was it about it that attracted you if you can remember clicking on it? I genuinely can’t remember the last time I did so.

I ask these very questions of our own digital marketers who produce banner ads and those that have been drawn in by content – the latest example being a well-known supermarket offering recipes, not pushing the product, pushing content where the by-product is you buy their products in the recipe.

Now content marketing isn’t new by any stretch, individuals and organisations have used content such as video, blogs and articles for years, what is new is the pace of its consumption, particularly as social media takes a vice-like grip on our attention.

You may be a spectator in the social arena, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, reading tweets. You may be a critic, posting ratings, commenting on blogs and online forums, contributing to articles. Or you may be a creator, publishing blogs, uploading video and audio, writing stories and articles. Finally you could be a conversationalist, constantly updating your status or sharing, you guessed it, relevant engaging content from brands.

So, what does this mean for marketing and customer experience teams working together? As marketers begin to rebalance their efforts across paid media (the TV, sponsorship, radio etc. that will all remain vital to brand awareness and consideration), owned media (websites, direct mail) and lower-cost earned media (PR, social media, blogger outreach driven by content marketing) I see the opportunity for marketing and customer experience teams to join up the brand experience both on and offline.

Marketers know that improving customer experience increases satisfaction and loyalty and what better way to do it than begin to join your customer service strategy with your content marketing strategy.

I must sign off now, I’m a ‘mamil’ (‘middle-aged man in lycra’ that annoys drivers at the weekend) and one of my screens is luring me in with a brands weekly double-shot of road racing reportage that needs to be consumed. And what’s that, I can buy the lycra in the video? Pass me the phone….

Neil CostelloNeil Costello – Head of UK Research, Aviva
Working in local and global marketing departments for the largest insurer in the UK Neil has tackled most parts of the funnel, including marketing strategy and planning, customer strategy, product development, innovation and customer experience, segmentation, and currently leads the research team across Aviva’s UK markets. He flexs creative muscles on the canvas and with the lens at weekend unless the British sun deems that the ‘mamil’ must emerge from hiding.

Post Views: 631