Exploring value in content marketing campaigns

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Adam Wilson is a content strategist at Caliber Interactive.

How much would you pay for this pen?

Maybe 30 pence?

Perhaps you’re sitting at a computer or reading on your phone, without any need for a pen. So maybe right now to you it’s worth nothing.

But what if you were in desperate need of a pen for writing a phone number down? Perhaps then you would pay £1 or maybe £2?

What if you were a millionaire, trapped under your car after an accident, knowing you were about to die? You need a pen to write your final words to your loved ones. In that situation you might be willing to pay a small fortune to have for this pen.

For the founder of Bic (the world’s leading manufacturer of ballpoint pens) this design is equivalent to a life’s work and billions of pounds. And for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where this pen is on permanent display in the industrial design collection, it is priceless.

The point I’m making, of course, is that value is subjective.

In marketing, who should content be most valuable for?

You can exponentially improve a project's chances of success by making sure as many stakeholders as possible are getting some value; from those involved in financing it and making it, through to the customers you are seeking to influence. In an ideal world, everyone will have a clear reason to engage with your campaign.

The secret is balance. If you don't balance your value propositions, you will get unbalanced results. A campaign which is valuable for customers (e.g. a useful tool) but not for the brand (e.g. no conversions) won’t show value when you look at ROI. A campaign which is valuable for the brand and not the customer (e.g. a blog full of promotional information) will equally fall flat.

While it may be difficult to ensure everyone gets something out of a project, you can certainly try your best to tick off as many as possible. For example:

Brand - Improves brand perception and overall authority;

Product Team - Directly or indirectly leads to more sales;

PR Department - Represents the company in a positive way;

Social Department - Provides material to improve engagement;

CRM Department - Improves customer affinity with brand;

Customer Service - Improves customer service (e.g. answers common questions);

Active Customer - Improves usage of the product/service;

Non-Customers - Solves a problem not related to product/service;

Society - Provides useful holistic information;

Industry Influencers - Adds to the body of valuable information on a subject.

Agency - Adds an impressive project to their case studies;

Design/Development Team - Challenging and satisfying work;

Content Marketing Team - Impacts KPI;

SEO Team - Improves relevancy for target topics;

Account Team - Improves relationship with client;

How valuable is your campaign?

Just for fun, let’s look at a series of high profile projects and suggest where they could have added more value.

Airbnb Neighbourhoods

These image-rich local travel guides were designed to promote areas where Airbnb offer accommodation. Airbnb focused on characterful areas in major cities.

Key value for:

· Brand, Product, PR and Social Team

· Non-customers

· Content Marketing and SEO Team

Could add more value for:

· The local communities covered in the guides

This could be achieved by promoting local facilities mentioned. Linking to websites, marking locations on an interactive map, championing local charities.

Dumb Ways to Die

This was a Public Service campaign by Melbourne Transport authority to promote rail safety. It comprised a series of videos of charming/alarming scenarios.

Key value for:

· PR and Social teams

· Active customers

· Agency and Design Team

Could add more value for:

· Local communities

This could have been achieved by putting together a map of accident blackspots.

Name Our Plane

A national competition to choose a name to appear on the side of a Thomson 747 plane. This campaign was designed to raise awareness.

Key value for:

· PR, Social and CRM Teams

· Agency, Content Marketing and SEO Teams

Could add more value for:

· Industry Influencers

By collating the best crowdsourced names for planes/buildings/ships (e.g #BoatyMcBoatface) influencers could have joined the conversation. Gaining the perspective of branding experts builds relationships that benefit both parties.

How do you ensure your campaigns are valuable?

The important thing is to not be blinkered. Always attempt to quantify the value for as many stakeholders as possible.

Everyone involved in a marketing campaign has different motivations. Aligning the campaign with the one who shouts the loudest is a common pitfall. Even if this is who pays the bills. Maintaining an objective overview is key to avoid falling into a rut.

A campaign will prove most successful in the long run if it provides value on multiple levels. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate real content marketing ideology across every department of a brand. Different departments need to work with each other to ensure messages are consistent and that there is accessible and effective content for every stage of the user journey.

I would love to offer you a perfect formula of practical steps you can take to add value to match each team’s objectives. However, adding value depends on too many campaign specific factors. It is up to you (or the creative agency you employ) to make a thorough analysis of stakeholder requirements.

What I can suggest is looking at your last campaign and doing the following:

1. List all the people who benefited from it;

2. List all the people who didn’t, but who should or could have;

3. Bear this in mind when you start planning your next project.

Some teams will always make their voice heard, often because they can see the direct value in your marketing activity for themselves. Try to engage with the teams who don’t shout, if you think your project could benefit them. Your project will be more successful as a result.

Adam Wilson is a content strategist at Caliber Interactive. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin.

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