Think customer-led content, not channel-led content
By Rhys Taylor
When it comes to content, organisations often fall prey to putting their business agenda ahead of the customer's reality. Does yours? The best content strategies flip this model on its head to focus on what really matters—the customers’ needs.
Let’s look at an example. VS Sassoon is one of the world’s most recognised hair styling brands. The brand’s promise is to ‘empower women to create salon professional results at home’. It’s a powerful message, and it’s powerfully advertised.
But just because this message packs a punch, it doesn’t mean that it should be blasted out across all channels, all the time.
In the recent rejuvenation of VS Sassoon’s digital assets, we saw that the most important content objective was not to promote this inspirational brand message. Rather, it was to simply ensure customers knew how to use the product. By providing content to help customers get a handle on how to use their new hair straightener or dryer, VS Sassoon would deliver on its brand promise.
So, instead of inspirational brand content, we recommended and produced educational content. Content that the customers actually need, on the most helpful channels—video content on the website, for example, or customer support on Twitter. And the results affirmed our research hypothesis: there was a 33% increase in engagement during the campaign period.
Every day we challenge our clients to think about content more holistically, and use it as a tool to solve customer issues first. The business agenda should follow.
The move from multi- to omni-channel
As modern marketers, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to getting the word out. Customers roam from the physical to the virtual across a wide range of channels—which they adopt and abandon faster than ever. We’ve got plenty of ways to reach them.
But showing up on the wrong channel at the wrong time is like gatecrashing a party. It’s not long before your presence is resented and your reputation ruined.
You need to think about what your audience wants from you, where they’d like to meet you, and when. Just because channels like email and social are cheap and scale easily, it doesn’t mean you should blast all your customers with every piece of content your marketing team churns out. Simply adapting a TVC or print ad into a social post is not going to cut it.
Instead, think about what your customers need from email or social. Is it customer service? How-to guides? Value-added content?
We use six ‘content currencies’ to help us identify what’s needed, and when. These currencies—Information, Education, Inspiration, Entertainment, Utility and Experience—can be mapped to key stages in the customer journey to ensure we keep the customer’s needs at the centre of everything we do.
And we stick to a simple formula. The customer journey comes first, followed by an understanding of their goals and pain points. Then, we look at the value exchange (in other words, which content currencies apply) and, finally, channel selection.
Once you start thinking this way, you can make the move from multi-channel (read: gatecrasher-style) to omni-channel (read: thoughtful, timely and considered) content marketing. It’s not a simple move, as it requires a new frame of mind and supporting technology, but it will pay off.
More leads, lower cost for Microsoft
Dynamics CRM is a software solution from Microsoft hand-tailored to help sales departments better reach and serve their customers. At Wunderman, we work closely with Microsoft on content marketing for this software.
Previously, we had taken a tactical approach to marketing Dynamics CRM, focusing on the lower end of the funnel. It drove great results—but we knew there was huge room for improvement. This realisation was the first stage in our new approach.
In 2015, our single-minded marketing focus was on acquiring contact information for sales leadership. We partnered with Microsoft to operationalise an agile content marketing engine that produced customised content to better reach and engage our target audience and ultimately acquire their information for subsequent email nurture and telesales.
We wanted to create as many ways as possible for our audience to get to our content. All up, we produced 91 different journeys and 173 tactics for engaging across a range of channels – for example, an enticing Facebook post that linked through to a blog, which drove downloads of a whitepaper.
Not only did we achieve our goal of acquiring more leads for Microsoft, we did so at 90% lower cost. It was omni-channel content marketing gold.
To learn more, contact us today.