Content Marketing Plan: 3 Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Building the Brand and Sales
Marketers have reached a crossroads. The Internet is disruptive. Media consumption and consumer behavior have changed drastically and it has become increasingly difficult to break through the clutter.
Understanding the challenges brands face and successfully navigating this change underscores the introduction of our new brand, Cofactor, which combines the DNA of long-standing digital leaders Shoplocal and PointRoll. In building Cofactor, we asked ourselves three key questions:
Why do we exist?
Why would anyone care about us?
What problems are we solving?
Months of planning, thinking and talking with clients led us to this simple premise: for marketers when it comes to building a cohesive content marketing plan there is No More Either/Or
- Promoting the brand or making a sale.
- Creativity or ad efficiency.
- National or local campaigns.
- Ecommerce or
- Either equity overtime or action right now.
The Point of Conflict
eMarketer forecasts that US programmatic digital display advertising spending will reach $20.41 billion in 2016. At that point, 63 percent of all US digital display and 40 percent of digital video advertising will be placed programmatically.
This reliance on complex distribution platforms to do the heavy lifting highlights the growing need: How will marketers build a cohesive content marketing plan?
While marketers have made strides in figuring out the “how” and the “where” to target an audience, they continue to struggle with delivering the “what” to impact the advertising metric that matters most – a sale.
This fragmented view has led marketers to focus on the left side of the equation – spending our time on who to target vs. what to say and how best to move the intended audience to action. So whether you’re selling clothing, detergent or cars concentrating solely on targeting without a cohesive content strategy often leads to marketing messages that are incomplete and often ignored.
The following underscores the point of conflict along with three paths to bridge the gap between marketer’s disconnected ‘either/or’ thinking.
Three Paths to Resolution: Getting Beyond Either/Or . . . to AND.
1) Build a Creative/Content Planning Function
Currently there is no creative planning function or ‘content planners’ to organize and plan, how brands manage their content. How do marketers build a content marketing plan to onboard, organize, activate and distribute content and information to reach the right audiences and measure success?
“Historically, it was creating one piece of brilliant creative to be fed to millions of people,’ said Douglas Kofoid, president of global solutions, VivaKi. “But now . . . we need a million pieces of brilliant creative to be fed to each individual on an as-needed basis, depending on who that person is, where they are and what their needs are.’”
In order to make this a reality, marketers will either need to build or outsource a creative and content planning function that integrates media planning and content planning.
2) Construct and Connect a Unified Content Plan
We get too hung up on definitions, specifically, what is or isn’t considered content. A blog, ad, video, social post, all of these distinctions drive further silos within organizations. Consumers could care less how we categorize different forms of communications, so then why as marketers are we enamored with these distinctions?
I believe that content should be viewed as any form of communication that is seen as relevant by the audience. Content is native advertising. Content is a recipe. Content is advertising. My point here, it’s less about how it’s defined, we must focus on the outcome – which for marketers is simple: reaching the right audience with a relevant message that drives action.
This expanded content scope spotlights the challenge in building a content marketing plan: More content. More variations of content. More ways these content variations can and should connect together. And a lot channels to distribute this content.
Where before marketers always had to choose between promoting the brand or making a sale; today’s success necessitates marketer’s ability to bridge the gap between these disconnected worlds, eliminating the either/or proposition all together connecting both sides of the marketing continuum.
- Equity + Action.
- Commerce + Ecommerce.
- Content + Intent.
- Web traffic + Foot traffic.
- Digital + Physical.
- Micro Target + Micro Message.
- Content + Context.
3) Move Beyond Ad Content to Intelligent Content
As the amount of content and number of channels of distribution continue to expand ‘intelligent content’ will be central to driving digital marketers success. For marketers, the key to success goes beyond data and targeting, success ultimately will lie with personalization of content and a consistent real-time feedback loop.
Intelligent content isn’t about more data or more pages to a post-campaign report, its about clarity, surfacing what content connects with which audiences, across which channels and why? What happens between the impression and click is more important than the number of clicks. What messages or combinations of content and context drive action?
Bridging the Either/Or Gap
In summary, marketers are moving massive bags of money from analog to digital, but don’t have a cohesive cross channel content and communications strategy.
Bridging this gap between media planning and content marketing planning is the foundation for our new company, Cofactor. We’re excited to introduce marketers to a more unified way of looking at their world and executing content more seamlessly across both sides of the equation.
Join us on this quest to bridge the gap between these disconnected worlds and eliminate the either/or proposition all together.
Welcome to No More Either/Or, think AND.