By Mike Stiles on Apr 09, 2013
Warning: before entering the social tech/marketing world, my background was about content creation. On radio, TV, stage, digital, or print, very little enthused me more than making “stuff” that informed and entertained the public, putting it out there and seeing what they thought of it. So I tend to get a little impassioned when I see what’s going on with marketers and content.
Here’s what’s going on. Very little.
New research from Forrester recently re-emphasized (and I’m not sure how many different times and in how many different ways the public can emphasize this for us) faith in digital ads continues to drop.
9% of Americans and 8% of Europeans trust texts from brands. 10% and 8% trust web site banner ads. Mobile apps are trusted by 12% of Americans and 10% of Europeans. 18% of Americans trust emails compared to 11% of Europeans.
So there you go. The best you’re going to do when it comes to the public believing your digital ad is 18%. And that’s if they read it or watch it. But ads are what we know, so ads are what we keep doing, thinking the world is wrong…not us. As with many things, the consumer is showing us what they want from us, and we’re not listening. We want what we want, and we want full-on sales pitches. We feel like we’re not doing our jobs if we’re not pounding the product.
It’s a new day. You win with the quality of your product. You win by knocking customer and prospect socks off with CX and service. That’s the new marketing. But to get the public close enough so you can wow them with your goods and service, you’ve got to give them something else they value. Welcome to branded content.
The study showed many marketers still aren’t even quite sure what branded content is. Forrester defines it as “content developed or curated by a brand to provide added consumer value such as entertainment or education. It’s designed to build brand consideration and affinity, not sell a product or service. It is not a paid ad, sponsorship, or product placement.” That’s a good definition.
It’s noisy out there, and branded content is the window to something that’s harder to get than ever, awareness. That’s especially true on social. You have a stage, you have an audience sitting there staring at it, what are you putting on it? Or here’s another question. Have you even hired a producer to put on your show?
Forrester points out that even though almost 80% of marketers say they’re spending on branded content, few CMO’s have actually staffed for it. Some agencies get it, and are creatively capable. But their clients inevitably double-clutch and end up pushing the end product as close to a traditional digital ad as they can get it. And then they scream, “Why didn’t my ad go viral?!” Money wasted.
Get your in-house entertainer/journalist sooner rather than later. Their prices are about to leap. Loosen the grip on your content calendar so you can capitalize on trends and breaking news (think Oreo). Believe that as the presenting brand, viewers will give you full credit for giving them content they liked. And if you show people how awesome you are with your products and customer experience vs. trying to talk them into something with ads, you won’t be able to keep the raving fans away or stop them from spreading the word about you.