It was Bill Gates who coined the term “Content is king” in an article published in 1996. It still holds true, perhaps even more so than when it was first written. Today, many brands, big and small, have developed distinctive content around their products and services to build a more personal connection with their consumers. Research has shown that a strong brand story evokes higher brand recall. This is reflected in the way media effectiveness is measured as well – engagement along with reach. Measuring the impact of content through engagement metrics is more valuable than only measuring impressions and views. But for content to continue its reign, it needs to stay true to ‘relevancy’.
The Digital ecosystem has been emboldened with access to multiple levels of data, especially the First-party and Third-party data. The data collection happens either with complete transparency with the users or in most cases (currently) without the users being aware. Brands have made use of such data to better target their consumers with more relevant messaging. They have been able to ‘follow the user’ across multiple platforms and also devices to move them through the purchase funnel. Technologies like DMP (demand management platform – that connects all customer touch points data) and DCO (dynamic creative optimisation – creates messages based on users’ real-time data) help brands deliver relevant messaging, at scale.
However, the recent backlash faced by Facebook for its change in privacy settings for WhatsApp is a sign of our times. Perhaps Facebook did not anticipate this, considering the ubiquitous status of WhatsApp. But they have realised people are willing to go through the niggling learning curve of adapting to a new solution, to protect their privacy.
There is also a major shift in data collection and management by the big tech players. Search engines and Mobile phone manufacturers have introduced measures to prevent advertisers using Third Party cookies and other personal ID data. Google has hugely benefited from Third Party cookie data for their advertising products. Therefore, their decision to stop collecting this data from 2022 and instead offering FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) as one of the solutions is significant. Simplified it means switching from individual level data to data by a group of individuals (Cohorts) with similar behavioral patterns. With the ongoing progress on data privacy regulations, the marketing and advertising industry will face an uphill task to deliver personalised messaging to consumers. They will not be able to serve a Facebook ad based on Google search or a display ad based on non-brand owned website visit. Even the existing customers or website visitors can be targeted only with explicit consent from the users, once the data protection guidelines become more of a global standard.
Today the industry relies on data to develop ‘relevant’ messaging. This is why the concept of ‘relevancy’ needs to be relooked at. There are already tools and technologies available that collect First Party data with user consent, at scale. But that is only half (or even less of) the story. The real challenge is to make content sharing as a value exchange, so that consumers actively seek for the brand’s content. Because consumers want ‘Personalised Experience’’ and will provide ‘consent for data’, only if they perceive value in the brand’s messages.
Courtesy: LinkedIn post by Aquilliz
Consumers expecting real value from brands is not a new concept; it is one of the very basics of marketing. Developing relevant and valuable content is a time consuming and resource rich process. It is easier to jump on a trending topic and make it seem relevant. The recent adoption of ‘Bernie Memes’ by brands is a good example of that. But consumers may not be willing to share their personal data for a few laughs. Also, to adhere to another marketing tenet – ‘differentiation’, understanding consumers at a granular level is required. This is possible only with access to data.
Is there a secret sauce to creating relevant and differentiating content? Yes, marketing basics again – consumer insights. When brands take efforts to understand their consumers and develop content using unique insights, the value offered to consumers will outweigh the hesitancy to share data. ‘Micro target audience segments’ is a good way to mine these unique insights. Brands can use signals around their audience’s personal preferences, attitudes and behaviours to re-tell why they use the brand (and not the competition). It helps to own distinctive content properties that add an ‘element’ to consumer lives. This element can be a tangible functional benefit or an intangible emotional benefit. In either case the benefit has to closely align with the brand values. A proprietary recipe guide for a nutritional brand is an example of an owned content property that offers tangible benefit aligned with the brand value. But to differentiate it from other nutritional brands offering recipe guides, signals around the consumers’ social attitudes can be tapped into to make it more relevant to that brand’s audience.
In summary, perhaps the lack of access to mass audience data will make brands refocus on the basics of marketing – insights, relevance, and differentiation. Brands will need to invest time, technology, and resources to gain valuable insights, develop content as a value exchange with the consumers and therefore establish the differentiation from the competition. At PHYGiTALNOW, we use a proprietary business framework C.A.R.T. to understand the Customers at a granular level, build a data-driven Architecture, develop a communication framework to Reach the consumers with relevant messages and therefore achieve maximum Transactional value. You may reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to understand how your business can benefit from this framework to help realise the full revenue potential through relevant and distinctive content.
PHYGiTALNOW is a digital marketing consultancy based in Dubai and we help businesses realise their full revenue potential by providing best-in-class Digital Marketing Services – Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Website and App Development, Social Media Strategy and Activation, Email Marketing and Digital Advertising. We also provide E-commerce specific services – Online Marketplace Management, Conversion Optimisation and Basket Analysis. We tailor-make our consultancy packages depending on the digital maturity of the business.