Content Happens. Now What.

Last month my team and I were in New York to discuss ’15 strategy and to meet a new client.

He came to his executive post after an impressive 20-year run with a well known B2B brand and had partnered with one of the most iconic agencies to continue to build and refine its brand story on a global scale. We presented our capabilities and moved quickly into our “Modern Marketing” presentation.

He nodded in agreement at the presentation, and when we finished he said something I thought was very compelling: “So according to your five tenets the new thinking is ‘campaigns are dead — long live the campaign?’”

The death of the campaign

nFusion_why_what Given his reputation and business acumen we weren’t going to argue the subtleties but, yes: The move away from campaign-centric thinking is one way that marketers can transform their approach to create a more dynamic and, ultimately, more successful organization. So if campaigns are things of the past and experiences matter more than ever, how do you create seamless experiences across the range of touch points your customers rely on to inform their decisions? And how do you ensure that you provide them the right content at exactly the right time — on the appropriate device?

This is typically where the rather clichéd idea that content is king is presented as some kind of win-win, rallying-cry manifesto. But it’s critical to note that content is not the answer to everything (though most articles you read these days would lead you to believe it is).

The rise of engagement

The starting point is the customer decision journey.This enables you to map the key steps your customers take to engage with your brand. This leads to better planning of timely, relevant and actionable content to help your customer discover, explore, buy, use and ideally share your product.

Content creation is just one component that your marketing programs and brand purpose are fueled by. Yes, it’s crucial to map the content “types” that your customers are looking for as they move along a decision path. But more important: You must embrace the idea of a content strategy.

Embracing the “why” not the “what”

Too many discussions start with the type of content vs. the business problem the content can help address.

The teams that I am fortunate enough to work with are built to deliver an amazing range of compelling content — from videos to interactive infographics and demos to blog content, case studies, quizzes and e-books. And we have always been more successful when we start with the “why?” as opposed to the “what kind?”

Content: Start with ‘WHY’ not ‘WHAT’ via @nFusion [Tweet this]

This approach gives us the perspective to create a content ecosystem by design and not by default. We see the value in setting up a foundation to help us organize the chaos that comes with multiple content creators in order to optimize efforts for maximum results.

Campaigns used to be the way to go. Now content creation can help deliver more engaging experiences, prompt conversations and build ongoing relationships with the customer at the center of it all.

Content happens. What you do and don’t do with it — how you distribute and tell branded stories with purpose — is the real modern marketing opportunity.