Content Marketing for a Modern Consumer-Driven Market

Posted by: Skyler Huff

Marketing as we knew it is long gone.

These days, marketing is all about creating authentic connections thanks to the more than 80 million consumers that make up the Millennial cohort. These consumers demand more than just a decent value from their favorite brands. They, along with people of all ages who share in the Millennial Mindset®, expect fun, unique and personalized experiences that provide them with a sense of adventure.

Millennials want to be brand partners and co-creators, not simply a part of a target audience.  This means brands can no longer focus on just creating the most artistic ads or grabbing the most-coveted media slots. Instead, they need to focus on conquering Content Excellence when it comes to their content marketing.

Defining Content Excellence™  

For more than 40 years, yesterday’s traditional brands focused solely on creative excellence. They sought to craft the “perfect” message and then pushed it out to the world through various shotgun methodologies, hoping it would payoff and lead to brand awareness and product sales. As a singular strategy, this is not successful in today’s market. While it is still necessary for brands to build recognition, this alone will not translate into sustainable financial performance. Content now needs to be about engagement and discovery for consumers, not distraction or interruption via advertising.

In short, Content Excellence is an opportunity for a brand’s voice to live everywhere and build brand resonance through the enablement of consumer co-creation and participation.

Developing a Content Excellence strategy

A brand’s content strategy should be about activating and engaging its digital community in ways that traditional advertising and marketing never could. The goal is to challenge brands to go beyond methods of yesteryear and inspire trust and, subsequently, genuine relationships with modern consumers.

But where to start?

Brands must first ensure that their content falls into the following buckets:

Shareworthy

Millennials want to share their experiences with peers. They will also share anything that they believe to be funny or new, even if it’s a piece of advertising – as long as it doesn’t scream “buy something now.” Shareworthy content will inspire consumers to spend their invaluable time with a brand because it represents the image consumers have of themselves and somehow adds to their personal story or lifestyle.

Unique and Meaningful

The goal is to inspire consumers to create more content on behalf of a brand – at their own time and expense – than a brand creates for its own benefit. The key to this type of content is maintaining a certain level of uniqueness and meaningfulness as it relates to the brand in question. The highest probability of sustained economic performance results when uniqueness is used as a proxy for brand pricing authority and meaningfulness is a proxy for sales volume potential.

Useful

Content should not only be about entertaining. It is vital that it is also functional and inspiring. This will fuel participation, which increases brand value. When content is useful, avid brand fans will join the movement and increase awareness by sharing with their networks.

Authentic

This one is simple enough: brands must be completely honest and genuine if they hope to be considered a great brand by Millennials.

Creating content that falls within these buckets is only the first step, however. There are a variety of other filters that must be applied to content in order to optimize the reach and engagement. Consider these three filters when creating content:

Use Case vs. User

Traditional advertising has relied on heavy discounting and promotional sales to gain consumer attention in hopes they are enticed to purchase. This is catering to a use case, as it is all about instant gratification. This is beneficial only if brands want to get butts in seats – one time. Loyalty is not created when the marketing intention was about a single use case, not about the user. Instead, content should be created to build brand love rather than brand loyalty. Because, if a consumer loves the brand, they will return repeatedly.

Speed of Culture

For Content Excellence to occur, brands must be agile and have processes in place that allow them to produce content rapidly and at a moment’s notice. Because immediacy is so important, there is no time for a brand’s entire marketing team to sign off on a single Tweet. Management must have go-to people in place with the authority to push out the right messages when necessary.

Real-Time vs. Right Time

If brands are on target with the speed of culture, they may still fail because they have stake in the wrong conversations. For instance, is it really necessary that all brands have a campaign that relates to the Super Bowl? No. if that’s the only focus, it means that brands are only considering “real-time” instead of “right time” and not following their Editorial Authority.

Although determining a Content Excellence strategy is a daunting task, it is what brands must do if they hope to earn modern consumer love. By applying these buckets and filters, brands will be on the right track to creating successful and relevant content in today’s modern market.

About Skyler Huff

As a Content Specialist at Barkley, Skyler combines a fervor for strategic communication with a passion for serving others to create in-depth research reports and insightful trend-based material to help marketers understand modern consumers. Her...See Skyler's full bio.

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