Catalyst

Technology trends that will transform content marketing in 2017

Sanjay Shetty | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 07, 2017

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Technology drives almost everything today. As our daily usage and consumption of digital media increases, focusing on content marketing has become crucial for every brand that wants to stay connected to its consumers.

Content marketing – the creation and distribution of relevant information to attract and retain users – is a huge part of digital marketing today. It is safe to say that all the data generated through various types of content drives digital marketing in the right direction and adds tremendous value to a brand’s effort. However, content marketing is not a new concept. What has changed in recent times is its perception and packaging.

Traditional content marketing

A company’s website or a brand’s blog page is the most rudimentary form of content marketing. These static sites, web ads and blogs belonged to the public content domain where the communication process was largely one-way, from brand to consumer. The same information was available for all to seek and see, irrespective of age or interest. E-mailing periodical brand information or blast SMSs to the existing database of consumers also formed a part of this public content strategy.

We were recording a number of clicks or identifying unique visitors but that was it, we couldn’t record the reaction to the information put out there. There was no scope to engage a potential consumer besides praying that the website design was interesting enough or the reader related to the blog posts. Call-to-action was limited, if not restricted.

Nurturing the e-mail

Once analytics tools matured and the population grew into tech-savvy beings, nurturing the e-mail platform to have more focused and targeted communication gave birth to direct digital marketing. This became a huge chunk/part of the unseen but more effective content. Brands controlled what viewers saw and could adapt the content to suit the customer’s preferences.

The ‘unseen’ content marketing

At the time of e-mail marketing gaining momentum, a number of brands experimented with the budding social networks, which generated even more unseen content over private networks. Various social media platforms and Whatsapp groups became the focus for content generation and personalisation. This era of content marketing also opened up two-way communication channels and made it easier for consumers to react and give feedback to the content they received. The conversion was almost instantaneous.

Drastic shift in the modern ages

Today, technology has superseded our imagination. Dynamic websites and web tools are changing the communication space drastically. Everything can be customised to the end user based on their individual interests and prior browsing history. Matured marketing tools have allowed brands to go from generic web presence to content produced and curated for private networks and exclusive platforms. Both public and private marketing platforms have come a long way and evolved to work in synergy and boost the cause of digital marketing.

Brand Content – Content Production versus Content Marketing

A few years ago, content marketing was focusing on the visible tip of the iceberg, i.e. creating more and more content and flooding the interweb with it. Not many bothered about the huge submerged chunk of ice, equally important to the equation – the marketing side of this content. In a correct strategy, if a brand’s content is X, their marketing efforts have to be 10X, and not the other way around.

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Thankfully, with extensive market research and past observation, this school of thought is gaining momentum. Brands have now shifted their focus and prioritised creation of quality content that meets the needs of their target audience. They have also increased their marketing efforts to ensure the content reaches the correct audience. The production of content is further divided into a smaller percentage of it being done in-house and a bigger portion of it being outsourced or co-produced with other influencers or the brand’s customers.

Brands have realised that packaging and marketing the content in the right way makes a world of a difference. So the question is, how do they make sure they are creating an ecosystem where the brand content and co-created data moves not just from one to one or one to many, but from many to many. Brands need to identify the right social platforms, which will help them create an online space that is unique and help leverage their content with the right audience.

The new technology

As we see brands use more innovative and mature content strategies, we also see their execution platforms change and diversify to make the most of the latest technology. We have gone from static content to dynamic to interactive to augmented reality and live streaming content. And most of this doesn’t even require big budgets. We are living in times where smartphones and personal devices are being used to create official brand content and broadcast it. This is giving the brand more power and freedom and most importantly, simplifying and speeding up the process of brand communication and messaging.

Facebook Live

This live streaming tool has enabled a space that is unique to a brand. Consumers can be made to feel a part of even the most exclusive events or get real-time updates about everything new that’s happening with the brand. Live streaming of instant, short videos on other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have also proven to be successful tools for connecting with the users.

Content Management Systems

These systems have evolved extraordinarily over the years. Now managing the brand’s content and messaging, its look and vibe with its online presence is easier than ever. These back-end platforms are easy to use and manipulate according to one’s own needs and preference. It is also one of the most powerful components of any brand’s digital marketing plan.

Along with CMS systems are the new breed of powerful marketing automation systems. These allow one to effortlessly track potential customers, their page views, time spent on site, and specific interests. They then enable one to nurture those contacts via sending personalised emails. They can also help brands track if the email was opened, clicks in the email, and allows businesses to programmatically send follow-ups based on user decisions. This enables a new level of segmented and personalised content delivery.

Social listening

Social listening tools have evolved considerably; they are now easier to integrate and their maturity levels in terms of understanding and segregating data have improved drastically. With the help of these analytical tools, brands can now understand better what customers want and act on it.

It is not then difficult to assume that going up to 2020, digital marketing will bring together people to people and brand to consumers in a way that wasn’t possible before, all with technology lying at the bottom of it serving as a foundation.

Sanjay Shetty is Senior Vice President - Brand Platforms, Asymmetrique, a digital era brand solutions company

Published on July 07, 2017

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