- Marketing by default is becoming more and more digital
- In digital marketing, content is King!
Being the result of technological progress and more particularly that of information and communication technologies, the digitalization of consumer behavior and corporate marketing processes is far from complete. The applications of digital technologies in the business continue to proliferate. The business models of companies have undergone a real metamorphosis and their relationships with their customers and partners are constantly taking on new configurations.
Digital marketing: a system
Marketing, which for some time now has been qualified as digital, refers to the various applications of digital technologies in the co-creation of value for and with the customer. However, the Internet is not just one more channel that will juxtapose with other conventional channels, but rather a channel that will profoundly transform the processes of creation and sharing of value by allowing synergies to be generated. Thus, marketing will become more and more omnichannel from a relational and experiential perspective. The online and offline dimensions will combine and will make marketing become digital by default without completely erasing its traditional tangible aspects.
The marketing system today is based on three complementary components. Platforms (websites, mobile applications, presence on social media, digital market places, local directories, etc.) which ensure a permanent presence on the Internet. Then campaigns to improve their visibility and achieve conversion resulting in specific actions around a number of digital marketing techniques and tools (search marketing, SoLoMo Marketing, e-mail marketing, Display, Video marketing…). To these two components constituting containers, is added a third which is not the least, the contents or “Content Marketing “. Good marketing is one that relies on the right platforms, well-designed and well-planned campaigns and relevant content. The three components therefore form a complete whole.
Content is King
Before we discuss the rules for effective content, it’s important to make a fundamental distinction between “content marketing” and “brand content”. These concepts do not reflect the same thing. Brand content is based on editorial content (experience videos, advice, video tutorials, practical articles, forums, reports, etc.) not directly aimed at achieving conversion. Its general purpose is to assert the expertise of a brand, to communicate a positioning, to obtain visibility, to generate traffic, to deliver value to the user, etc.
Content marketing is a broader concept referring to the approach of content design aiming at carrying out marketing conversion in a direct way. This content is used to furnish the company’s digital marketing platforms and campaigns while providing the answers to the needs of prospects and customers. Its objectives are mainly traffic generation/visits, sales, recommendations, sharing, etc. It can be texts, images, videos, user-generated content (UGC) or customer-generated content (CGC), interactive content, blog articles, storytelling, buying guides, etc.
Choosing which marketing content to deploy is a delicate and complex task. There are nevertheless “best practices” commonly accepted today by professionals. These are originality, value, evolutivity and co-creation.
The original character refers to the specificity of the response to the expectations of prospects and customers to differentiate from the competition. Although benchmarking is recommended as a management technique, it does not mean that it should lead to any duplication of content. The company must focus on creating its own content for its marketing targets in its specific context. On a technical level, duplicate content degrades referencing on search engines while considerably boosting it for the original one. Originality also calls for creativity in the design of content. The latter should be designed to be attractive enough to capture the very little attention available from consumers today.
A content of value
The value derives from the quality of the response to the needs and expectations of prospects and customers. It is the quality perceived by each and everyone. The more valuable the content is in the eyes of its recipients, the more the company will be able to achieve its marketing objectives and be competitive. Consumers interact more with content that provides answers to their concerns. From a technological point of view, the relevance of the content constitutes the foundation of a successful organic referencing (SEO) without which paid referencing (SEA) could not succeed.
Evolutivity should be thought of as the need to constantly revisit the content deployed on platforms and marketing campaigns to improve its effectiveness. It is the core of the “test & learn” approach to admit that everything is evolving and at high speed and that everything must be continually challenged. Developing content responds to a double challenge. The first is to better respond to explicit or latent needs that change very quickly. The second challenge consists of the adoption of new practices and tools resulting from the integration of new technologies. In short, the content must be thought out and deployed dynamically.
Last, the challenge of co-creation and co-building represents the foundation of digital marketing today. It responds to a sociological and technological evolution. Sociologically, the consumer is highly informed, demanding, versatile and seeking to assert him/herself (customer empowerment). On the technological level, it is the revolution in data science, big data, the cloud, blockchains, connected objects (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) which allow companies to capture more customer data and to draw the best knowledge that will serve reflection, action and marketing control in complex iterative processes. “Data driven marketing” is a fundamentally technical, interactive and predictive marketing.
Outbound vs Inbound marketing
Outbound and inbound marketing should now be thought of more in a logic of complementarity than exclusivity. Outbound was first part of a “push” marketing strategy used to push different content to the different target audiences of a business via marketing campaigns. These campaigns have been tainted with excess and deemed intrusive, invasive and aggressive by consumers who are more concerned about their privacy and seeking more autonomy and freedom of choice. The increasingly restrictive regulations on the use of personal data reduce their scope and effectiveness. This is how a new approach will emerge in marketing in the digital age. It is inbound marketing corresponding more to a “pull” strategy consisting in making its various contents attractive and bringing prospects and customers instead of going to meet them. Instead of excluding each other, these two approaches should be combined. The trick is to find the right balance between outbound and inbound practices. From a process perspective, inbound should precede outbound by attracting prospects and customers via effective content. The outbound will take over afterwards to conclude and allow the company to achieve its conversion objectives through, among other things, the “call to action” technique.
Content today represents the spearhead of effective digital marketing. Its efficiency conditions the competitiveness and survival of the company in an ecosystem that is rapidly digitizing. The content should no longer be improvised but stem from a real and deep reflection involving the client himself in their conception and by making it evolve according to the expectations of the audience and the new possibilities offered by technology.
A series of articles on #digital #marketing published in “Libre Enterprise” magazine by Pr. Mohammed QMICHCHOU