Digital marketing is being disrupted. New technologies, including social media, and increased consumer sophistication are requiring digital marketers to rethink how they engage their audiences.
As detailed in CMSWire's August 8th webinar, “Rethinking Web Engagement - Leading with Content Marketing,” by changing their approach to a content- and journey-centric marketing strategy, marketers can weather this change and distance themselves from the competition.
Read on for a recap of the webinar content and to access the full recording of the event.
The event featured presentations from Robert Rose, a 15-year content marketing veteran who authored the book, “Managing Content Marketing”, and is a contributing senior analyst with Digital Clarity Group and Ian Truscott, VP, Product Marketing, SDL Content Technologies Division and director at CM Pros Association. Barb Mosher Zinck, CMSWire's Managing Editor, served as moderator.
Marketing Processes Change
Robert Rose began the webinar by describing how marketing processes have changed in recent years. Media filtering technologies such as Netflix, Spotify and Twitter allow consumers to pinpoint what information they receive according to their specific interests, weeding out advertisements and extraneous information.
In addition, years of exposure to these technologies has trained consumer brains to serve as media filters, meaning a consumer looking at an online or physical environment full of marketing messages will only see the ones that meet a particular interest at that moment.
IT Strategies Must Also Change
In response to changes in marketing processes, where consumers can now effectively filter out any message they don’t want to receive, Rose said IT strategies must change as well.
Where content was once delivered in the 1990s through desktop publishing and in the 2000s by Web Content Management Systems, in this decade it must be delivered via combination of tools and process often described as Web Engagement Management.
“We must facilitate the buying journey,” said Rose. “It’s more important to get IT involved as the way we implement (Web Engagement Management) tools becomes more technical and complex.”
Rose said the marketing and sales teams must align as part of this process to understand the “buyer’s journey” and the personas of the consumers they are targeting. “It’s not enough to facilitate the sales process. We must look at the journey holistically. Web Engagement Management is delivering value to the customer every step of the way.”
IT can support this holistic view by helping deliver value to consumers through functions such as landing page management and delivering content through social and mobile channels.
Rose cautioned that in addition to communicating with consumers to ensure the engagement process is buyer-focused, marketers must clearly communicate their needs to the IT department, and must understand which systems the IT department care about (and will interfere with) most.
“IT guys don’t care which analytics you select,” he said. “At that point they’re busy playing World of Warcraft.”
Engagement Cycle Disruption Produces New CXM Model
Truscott then initiated his portion of the webinar by offering thoughts on how the traditional consumer engagement cycle has been disrupted. “Engagement used to be a linear process,” he said. “The customer would see and respond to messages.”
Now, according to Truscott, customers have “influences all over the place” as to whether they engage with or buy a product or trust what marketers write. Truscott said a new customer experience management model which encompasses Web engagement and content management has evolved. Truscott puts content in the middle of this model, and said success in customer experience management starts with embracing the complexity of modern consumers.
One key to embracing this complexity is to take a local approach to consumers, which does not necessarily mean approaching them according to ethnicity or where they live. “Local means speaking in techie, whatever tech community they’re part of,” Truscott explained. “Speaking Canadian French is no longer enough.”
Truscott said embracing complexity also means adapting content to the form factor through which it is viewed, such as adjusting messages to fit the 140-character limitations of Twitter or sizing images to be viewed through mobile devices.
Truscott concluded his presentation by discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by what he termed the “content explosion” that has happened in recent years. “How do you get subject matter experts to engage consumers?” he asked. “There are more authors and more systems than ever before.”
Building the Business Case
In response to an audience question in the Q&A portion of the webinar following prepared presentations, Rose said that marketers should focus on building a business case for Web engagement, rather than an ROI model. “ROI is setting goals for results that are not prerequisites for trying something new,” he stated. “Web engagement is new for most organizations.”
To build a business case for Web engagement, Rose recommended marketers work slowly and start by taking an existing tactic that is not working too well and infusing it with “more engaging content that drives and supports customers on their buying journey.”
Truscott added that Web engagement is not about getting hits on a website. “Publish a picture of a cute, fluffy kitten and you’ll get thousands of hits,” he said. “Find out what kind of engagement you’re trying to achieve and focus on actions that are achieving this. Advocacy is valuable, not just the initial purchase.”
To further illustrate the extended value of an engaged consumer, Rose described the experience of a client in the debt consolidation industry that discovered that although it took more time and more money to bring customers who it engaged more thoughtfully into the office for a consultation, when these engaged customers came in and signed up, they were 500 times more likely to make a first payment and then continue to make payments.