This year, 35% of Australian marketers rated their content marketing as sophisticated/mature – a 5% increase from 2015. Most of them (42%) also believed their organisation’s approach to content marketing is somewhat more successful than last year.
In the Content Marketing Institute survey, 71% of Australian marketers believed quality of content is the top success factor. Yet 68% of them also expected to increase content quantity for the coming year.
The graph below shows the most popular content formats, which mostly fit with consumer trends in content consumption.
The majority of Australian marketers rated email as the most important distribution channel (95%), followed by LinkedIn, print, Facebook, then other social media channels.
In terms of paid promotion, Search Engine Marketing and Social were rated as the most effective channels (63% each), followed by native advertising, print/offline promotion, banner ads.
On the consumer side, how do Australians research before making a purchase decision? Or do they get the content they need to make up their mind?
The most common channels for offline research are in-store and word of mouth. The graph below shows the main online sources people use to make a purchase decision.
Sensis Social Media Report 2016 states consumers are more likely to trust a brand “if they find the content posted engaging and relevant (52%) and they regularly update their content (51%).”
Facebook remains the dominant player, with 95% of surveyed Australians as users. However, the decline of organic reach on social media, coupled with Facebook’s Instant Articles, publishers and brands fear social media is not driving traffic back to their websites.
Nonetheless, a typical Facebook user now spends 12.5 hours/week on the platform. Given other factors such as demographics, where people use social media etc., it’s the kind of exposure that brands can’t afford to ignore.
In Australia, 70% of people between 18 and 54 years old say they use YouTube at least once a week. For brands, partnering with influencers or creative video creators seem to be the best way to leverage this trend.
Meanwhile, half of Australia’s Facebook users watch video on the platform every day.
For brands wishing to tap this trend, consider publishing videos natively on Facebook, or repurpose content into fun, snackable YouTube videos.
Rise of mobile
To win in mobile, brands can identify “micro-moments” in consumer journey and then create content accordingly:
I want to know: snackable, helpful content
I want to go: leverage search engine marketing to display relevant information
I want to do: helpful videos
I want to buy: make the process easy, whether it’s a landing page, form or display ad copy
Nearly one-quarter of Australians in the latest Consumer Barometer survey said they use 5 or more connected devices.
Implication: Ensure your content works on different screen sizes/browsers/operating systems, and utilises unique strengths of each if applicable.
Recent phenomenon such as Pokemon Go, Snapchat Spectacles have highlighted the potential of emerging platforms. While still relatively nascent in Australia, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could be the next content marketing frontier as consumer uptake increases.
The rate of technology being developed and released and how content marketers can use these resources.
How storytellers position themselves to make the most of the changing world around them.
How Pete developed Deloitte Digital and the Centre for the Edge to help brands engage with new technology and innovations.
Preview of the show:
Rakhal Ebeli: It’s interesting isn’t it that the algorithms that we’re starting to become accustom to, particularly Penguin with Google and so for that really do benefit the content creators that are putting a humanistic lens on particularly the written material that they’re creating. Yet at the same time, it’s all algorithms. Do you see that there’s an intuitive nature of these algorithms trying to actually promote humanistic content at the same time? It’s quite bizarre.
Pete Williams: But even if you go back to Microsoft Word and those functioning there that effectively gave you readability scores. For somebody to understand this they would have had to have done 17 years of education. You’re like, “Okay. That might be a little bit tough.” I think we’ve always had that capacity to some level. What’s really changed in the last 10 years is with numbers its very easy to manipulate around that or an understanding and pulling sense out of, because they’re fixed. It’s math. Whereas unstructured data like text, that’s taken us a bit longer. That’s where we’re seeing so much technology development. I do a bit of work in the legal area and we’re doing work across millions of documents on major legal cases and extracting meaning content relationships between words and actions and sense making using data visualization. I think those technologies always been around but it’s how we’ve used them.
I think the other one from a content marketing point of view is you have the one I have to work hardest on, particularly on kids out of Uni is, when you’re in Uni you were writing to impress. I’ve read anything that everybody’s written and here’s my point of view in some jargon or taxonomy that nobody can understand. Whereas as a business sort of research publisher it’s very much about how can I take a complex topic and provide some meta layer of how to understand it and then give examples and then hopefully give some ideas and action points take. Which is where Centre for the Edge applies, what’s happening on the edges or coming down the pipe. How do I actually make people make sense of that?
I think that’s the sort of challenge for content marketers and marketers in general. That we’ll have tools, we’ll have technologies, but let’s step back and really think about who are we trying to work with, who are we trying to help. Goes back to my point. Are we targeting and campaigning for a short run boost in sales or are we looking at a fundamentally different relationship that we could have with people? I think those marketers that use content and data to build trust, to leverage that trust and scale it, are the ones that succeed in the long term. Those ones that are interested in very short-term performance kick ups will find that the market pretty well sees through them.
I think that another, I’m sorry this is a long answer, but I think another point is that you see through that marketing stuff. You see these ads and communications that come out and you just think, “Do they think I’m dumb?” Maybe there are a number of people who, at a point, there’s 5% of people if you were offering them something who will buy anything. I think for the other 95% of us we sort of say throw in … The younger you are the more sort of well attuned your bullshit meter is to content marketing that is crap.
Customer experience expert, Don Peppers kicked off proceedings with a reminder of Moore’s Law and the simple fact that although technology grows exponentially, business is still limited by the constraints of being human.
He centred his talk on the importance of removing friction from the sales process and suggested salespeople should be using data to isolate customer wants and desires.
Don gave everyone a stark reminder of ‘The Goldfish Principle’, and said “even well-intended services can be worse than doing nothing”.
A double dose of Don and a networking lunch later everyone was treated to a marketing panel headlined by Carolyn Bendall, Head of Marketing at ANZ and Kimberlee Wells, CEO of TBWA Group Melbourne.
She shared some of the tools that enable her to be across her industry including, feedly and coursera.
Her story of how she drove all night to make it to her first day on Obama’s social media team spoke strongly to her character, but one of the big takeaways was around opportunity; it never hurts to ask, she says.
The final message of the day from Rahaf: “Strategy is the most important part of any campaign”.
Day two started with Newsmodo’s own CEO, Rakhal Ebeli who sat down with Brian Smith, founder of UGG. The innovative slipper entrepreneur walked the crowd back through the history of the brand, highlighting the triumphs and tribulations that placed the business where it is now.
Brian called on startups and SMEs to act bigger and than they are. The Birth of a Brand author connected a Pink Floyd t-shirt, tadpoles and frogs, the story of Nike and passion for perseverance into a narrative about accepting your shortcomings and building them into your brand identity, and the audience were entertained.
“Sometimes your most disappointing disappointments become your greatest blessings” he preached.
You Don’t Need A Strategy If You’re A Cow
Swinging the conversation back to strategy was Don O’Sullivan, who quoted another market leader, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who said “I believe we are the best in the world to fail”, illustrating his point that innovation needs to play a part in any strategy.
“How much growth can be achieved if we take no risks?” he said.
Case in point, he said was the sad reality for phone company Nokia who failed to take advantage of the industry’s move to smartphones, with former CEO Stephen Elop saying following the acquisition of the company by Microsoft, “We didn’t do anything wrong but somehow we lost.”
And on strategy, he said that it can be hard to get your superiors to understand the value of it. He says refining your strategy so it fits on one page is the best way to sell it up the ladder.
Using the example of the battle between Pepsi and Coke for market share, he said that the American states could be divided into either camp, much like that of an electoral map.
Then followed a discussion about the Internet of Everything and the concept of moving screens and how video is fast becoming the norm with products and infrastructure lead us to a talk by Movember co-founder Adam Garone to round out the forum.
On the frontline of Mental health
Adam forged his career at Movember on the leadership skills he picked up as an officer in the Australian Army.
Movember can now be called a movement, with more than 5 million people taking part since its inception. For Adam, the key was reinventing the ice breaker (the moustache) to restart the conversation on men’s health. The more people who asked, “What’s with the Mo, bro?” the more conversations about the often avoided topic of men’s health there would be.
Speaking with Adam on the Brand Storytelling podcast and hearing him deliver his keynote, one message was clear: brands need to be pushing the boundaries and thinking outside the box with strategy. Whether it’s creative marketing on or developing a strong social media presence, brands need to be reinventing constantly.
He finished by saying: “Reinvention is the key to longevity… You can’t think outside the box if you live in the box.”
And so, the Marketing World and Sales Forum came to a close for another year. Disruption. Reinvention. Strategy. Three themes that will no doubt be prevalent when we meet again next year.
The World Business Forum 2017, Sydney will be headlined next year by Arianna Huffington (Co-founder Huffington Post, Jimmy Wales (Co-founder Wikipedia), Randi Zuckerberg (Facebook) and many others. Secure your spot and hear from the best minds in business from around the globe.
On the Brand Storytelling podcast, we talk to Uberflip co-founder Randy Frisch about the need for brands to build online reputations and keep in touch with their audiences. We also talk about the how content marketing and brand storytelling are two essential tools for controlling the message and building trust with audiences.
Uberflip is a content experience platform that allows brands to manage all their content (blog articles, videos and more) into a single platform. This allows for customer optimisation throughout the buying process and a unique online experience.
How do you use content in our world to build a reputation?
How to develop your brand reputation with the content marketing and evolving content platforms.
Creating that experience that stands out from the rest.
Preview of the show:
Rakhal Ebeli: When you’ve gone about building your own brand and reputation, could you give us some examples of the types of content that you feel really hits the mark in building brand rep?
Randy Frisch: I think it starts with taking a step back. I don’t know if it’s always one format of content or one style of content. I think we always have to start a little bit more strategically as a brand and figure out who are we writing for? Early on, when we’re maybe starting our first steps into content, we want to get something out. We want to get a reaction. When we’re really starting to up our game as a brand that’s in growth mode, a brand that’s trying to achieve that consistency that we’re talking about, we got to figure out who we’re writing for.
I’ll give you a great example here. For a while, we were actually catering to more of an SMB customer. Small businesses, some mum and pop shops, things like that. They were great customers for us. We grew a lot with that group. We decided, at one point, that we were going to actually go upmarket. Today, we actually sell more to mid-market to enterprise customers. A lot of companies who work with us are much larger corporations at times.
As much as we need a lot of those decisions to change our pricing to reflect that, to add certain factors into our product, we were a little slow to actually adapt our content strategy. That was because we were creating this great content. Everyone used to love it. We still have a lot of people engaging in and reading it, but then we started to see conversions go down. We said, okay, what’s going on here? We realised we didn’t really adapt to the new market that we wanted to sell to.
It comes back to making sure that that brand story you’re telling is actually relevant to the people that you’re talking to.
Major league sports are big businesses. The top revenue-making leagues are from the US, including the “Big Four” (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL). With millions of fans to please, particularly the millennials, these leagues are increasingly stepping into new marketing avenues.
The challenge for sports marketing
Just like a B2B or B2C company, US major leagues understand there are more constraints on people’s time than ever before. That’s why content marketing has emerged as a useful strategy to engage with their fans beyond traditional advertising.
However, there are some differences between sports marketing and other forms of B2B or B2C marketing:
Most of the content consumers already have a good level of awareness.
The focus is on creating unique content that drives engagement and affinity.
Social and viral aspects are potentially more significant.
Video as a popular medium
This comes as no surprise, and especially popular is the mobile consumption of videos. Let’s look at some examples of leagues thinking “well outside the box” and “develop aggressive content plans” targeting digital natives.
Major League Baseball’s digital arm (MLBAM) is so advanced in handling digital content for sports that the National Hockey League entrusted them to handle theirs too. If you look at their video section, there is a lot of content under different categories designed to keep fans engaged before, during and after a season.
Sponsored content such as Statcast (“powered by Amazon Web Services”) and Key to the City (by MapQuest) weaves engaging content with subtle messages about the sponsors’ roles in providing such content.
In 2014, NFL launched its own YouTube channel, featuring three sub-channels:
NFL Network: the usual in-season clips.
NFL Films: focusing on off-season engagement.
Together We Make Football: user-generated content.
MLB and NFL are both betting their money on producing creative content by partnering with other media giants. Example: MLB and MTV’s Off the bat show vs. NFL and HBO’s Hard Knocks documentary series.
Instead of the normal commercial breaks, broadcasters are now partnering with major leagues to allow sponsored content on TV. For instance, during this year’s MLB World Series, Fox Sports’ early in-game analysis in its studio was “brought to you by T-Mobile.”
This form of native advertising seems to be the way forward as media companies recognise consumers’ preference for less intrusive ads.
Turner Broadcasting System (owning channels like CNN, TBS) is another media giant looking to create longer content for its clients – or “Native Plus” pods. Soon we could be seeing native ads during their NBA broadcasts.
Expanding beyond popular channels like Facebook and Twitter, many major leagues are now active on Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.
Major League Soccer has transformed traditional press releases into an online event using Google+ Hangout, which allows direct participation from fans and the media. Examples include their 2013 MLS State of the League and 2013 March to Soccer pre-season address.
Meanwhile, MLB is big on Snapchat:
Customised lenses for each baseball team in the league.
Snaptchat Stories offering a peek into training days.
Shareable, bite-sized content
MLS’s Twitter account is heavily focused on visual content, providing “contests, promotion, news, while also taking fans behind-the-scenes with exclusive photos and videos.”
NBA Pulse is a web hub displaying real-time social media stats of sports players with options to follow social media conversations. It acts as both a fan destination and a data source to inform the content they create on the main NBA website.
On the Brand Storytelling podcast this week, we chat with the CEO of the Marketing Insider Group, Michael Brenner. We talk about the biggest challenges facing content marketers and the techniques we can use to solve them.
Rakhal Ebeli: When you plan out your content strategy or you’re looking to engage a new client for the first time what’s a step by step guide for our listeners out there who might be getting into this stuff for the first time around? How they should start to really simply map out their own approach.
Michael Brenner: We laid this out in the book and essentially I think there’s three key steps and the first one is building the business case and getting executive … you mentioned patience. Require some patience. You need to first almost sell in the idea of content marketing as something counter to the typical campaign approach that we’ve taken in the past. Building that business case, getting that executive approval and patience to not have to show immediate results immediately overnight like a campaign might I think is really important. The second thing and I mentioned this as one of the key challenges is finding the budget.
I always point out that content marketing brands that are really successful are spending 1% or less than their advertising budget on content marketing. This is not a million dollar get an agency involved and 50 people and whole brainstorming sessions. It’s really just about building an editorial machine and it doesn’t require the kinds of investment that a major sporting event, TV commercial might require or putting your logo, your company’s logo on a world famous golfer’s hat. It’s not that level of investment. Getting that budget set aside is really super important.
Then I think committing to measuring and optimizing and accepting that you’re going to fail and be wrong 80% of the time but that 20% where you’re right are going to produce … The 80/20 rule is going to produce all those results that your executives are going to want to see. Those are the three steps I think, is building a business case, finding that budget, getting commitment and then just accepting that you’re experiment to learn and optimize as you go.
In 2003, 30 men were given 30 days to grow the best moustache they could in the name of a good laugh. The organisers were amazed at the conversations ‘the mo’ inspired and the frivolity gave way to serious discussions about men’s health. One year later, the Movember Foundation was born and 400 moustaches were grown. Now, more than five million have been grown and almost $800 million has been raised. Adam Garone has been playing the part of ‘Chief Mo Bro’ since 2003.
Don Peppers is widely recognised as one of the world’s most prominent customer-focused business strategy experts. Often credited with dreaming up the modern CRM, Don has been at the cutting edge of the customer experience collaborating on 11 books and founding a consultancy.
Matt Kuperholz is known by his clients as the ‘data whisperer’, some even say he ‘dances with data’. Mad on technology for as long as he can remember, Matt trained in actuarial science but soon realised his true passion was computer science. Now a data scientist, consultant, company director and Matt has received recognition from the Australian Prime Minister and Chief Scientist as one of 100 knowledge workers shaping the new economy.
On the Brand Storytelling podcast, we are joined by Movember co-founder Adam Garone who is a keynote speaker at the World Marketing & Sales Forum this year in Melbourne. In the episode we discuss the Movember story, achieving goals and the emotional content that can engage an audience and make them act.
Movember is a global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health and helping them to lead happier and longer lives. Adam was the GQ Man of the Year in 2013 and has held previous roles in marketing and strategy before he co-founded Movember. To date, there is over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the globe contributing to the cause.
How brands can be built by pushing the boundaries.
The outlook for Movember in 2016.
The initiatives Movember is involved in.
Preview of the show:
Rakhal Ebeli: Adam, your background is clearly in business and marketing. You studied, you had a masters in marketing from Melbourne University, you worked as a marketing manager, a number of organizations and in the property industry initially before moving into what you’re doing now. What lessons can you provide from others in commercial marketing arenas from what you’ve learned from, you mentioned the 80% profit margins from day dot, but from a marketing and content marketing perspective that you’ve learned that you could say others could use to inspire their community, their audience to engage, maybe not to grow a mustache and walk around to be a walking billboard, but to represent the brand in such a way?
Adam Garone: I think for me, reflecting back on this, this is not just me, it’s the 4 co-founders that came together. None of us had any charitable experience, we all came from the for profit world. The 3 other guys were running their own businesses in the creative world and marketing world. We just looked at this from a different perspective, we just thought, “There’s no charities that related to us as 30 year old guys, there’s nothing for us in men’s health.” We wanted to create something that we would engage with and be proud of. Along the way, this is where I think brands are built. I think brands are built when they’re pushing the boundaries, and I think some of the best creative concepts and campaigns are the ones that polarize people. Movember certainly did that, a lot of people hated Movember. A lot of people and a lot and lot of people loved Movember, and the people that loved Movember were galvanized by the people that hated it.
There were very few people in the middle, and I think when your brand is in the middle and you’re chasing likes and you’re responding to anonymous comments online, that stuff, I think you can lose your way. Suddenly your brand becomes vanilla and meaningless, and no-one’s talking about you whether that they love you or they hate you. This is a real challenge for us now as we’re such a big organization, and hanging onto our entrepreneurial roots is, how do we continue to push the boundary, and the testicle shaped soap on a rope is an example of that. It’s, “All right, let’s do that,” and that got people talking. Sure, some people hated it, but a lot of people loved it, and it got people talking. I think the worst outcome for a brand is when they’re not talking about you. For me, brands are created on that edge. When you’re pushing and pushing the edge.
I think it’s all about consistency, and it’s as much about what you do every day, every moment as it is about what you don’t do, and that consistency with people observing both what you do and don’t do is really important. I also think there’s no shortcuts here, in the online world. Often I hear the life hacks and the shortcuts to building a community or whatever it is, for me, it’s about the long cut. There’s no shortcuts to building a loyal following and a loyal community, it truly takes time. Often times people are surprised how long Movember has been around, because they only engaged with it maybe 4 or 5 years ago. Creating a brand that people love takes time, and it is about consistency, it’s about being authentic and transparent around who you are and what you stand for.