As Google’s Eric Schmidt once famously observed, “There were five Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilisation through to 2003, but that much information is now created every two days.”
Leaving aside the fact that he made the quote six years ago (and that he was almost certainly talking through his hat) if anything the challenge today is even more compelling. Just the impact of Instagram and Snapchat alone – both of which launched after Schmidt’s observation will have moved the dial massively.
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Content is everywhere with everyone from your dentist to the nearby hardware store producing newsletters, Vine videos or branded entertainment.
With this plethora of information, do more brands really need to be making stuff? Richard Parker, managing partner at content agency Edge believes so. But with a caveat.
“The big challenge for publishers nowadays is that the internet is increasingly crowded. And most everything on the internet is content. Therefore, if you’re a brand and you want to get into content, you’re playing an incredibly crowded space.”
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, he says. By all means, get some skin in the content game. “The real challenge, though, is to find a way of standing out,” says Parker. Smart distribution of content is also imperative.
Parker believes the future of content marketing is about being smart about delivery of content.
“It’s about driving towards what we’re calling ‘the delivery of one-to-one content experiences at scale’. That means less of a focus on the volume of content and more of a focus on delivery of exactly the right piece of content, at the right place, at the right time, to the right person, in the right context.”
For the custodians of brands yet to get into content, the experts agree you’re not too late to the party. John Moore, Director – marketing Australia & NZ, Bupa, says: “There’s no doubt it’s probably better to be at the front than at the end. The bigger piece is less around how late you are to market. It’s more around how relevant you are when you come to market.”
- For great insights: John Moore is speaking at the ADMA Global Forum in Sydney on August 10. Which-50 readers get Digital Intelligence Unit member benefit rate for the ADMA Global Forum which is 20 per cent off the list price by using offer code GFW50SP at the checkout.
In recent months, Bupa has launched The Blue Room, a content hub and online community for its members. Moore says: “The whole idea of The Blue Room is to start building communities and to connect people who have like issues. Ultimately, it’s designed to deliver on our purpose which is living longer, happy, and healthier lives.”
AAMI is another brand embarking on the content journey. Josh Wittner, executive manager marketing at AAMI, says: “Our approach is very much around considering where the consumer is along the life cycle or the purchase funnel. We tailor our content to be as relevant as possible at each stage of the journey. What we do around awareness is very different to what we’re doing when we’re trying to acquire someone or then build advocacy once they’re a customer.”
These two examples are in line with what Parker sees as best in class for the content space with the most prominent example coming from GE, a brand that has taken what he calls a “post-advertising approach to content” by culling above-the-line traditional media budgets to focus on content.
So perhaps brands do need to be publishers too. The trick is providing value at the right moment in time.