ARcade » Digital Marketing Weblog maintained by Hill+Knowlton Strategies\' global Analyst Relations team. Wed, 30 Nov 2011 02:40:13 +0000 en hourly 1 Curating Digital Content—Control vs. Collaboration in a Consumer-Driven Paradigm Tue, 30 Nov 2010 19:07:11 +0000 Joshua Reynolds In the first wave of the digital marketing revolution, companies had to come to terms with the fact that they now share brand power with their customers. Consumer-generated content reigned, and some marketers began to wonder how much control they were going to have to acquiesce to the rising groundswell. But this was just the first phase in an ongoing negotiation between customer and company. The pendulum is swinging back to intelligent and shared control, and the time is now for companies to move from just co-creating to actively curating content in a way that boosts the brand.

To explore how to strike this balance, the CMO Club convened Dolby’s Vice President of Global Communications Catherine Ogilvie and Netflix Global Corporate Communications lead Catherine Fisher in a discussion moderated by Velocidi CEO David Dunne.

One thing to note is that this discussion was led by two corporate communications professionals. Some would argue that PR plays a natural role in content curation because the discipline focuses on earned discussions rather than paid-for discussions. While the explicit discussion of where PR and marketing overlap was not raised on this panel, the panelists’ perspectives were uniquely suited to the topic.

What the discussion did focus on were undeniable trends: audiences expect both real-time and high-quality engagement. Professionally produced content is certainly high-quality, but lacks immediacy. On the other hand, consumer-generated content is immediate (and authentic in the rawest form), but lacks quality. A fierce consensus quickly emerged: we no longer fear this change.  Better insights, free marketing, and a more elegant way to participate in word-of-mouth? What’s not to love? So the question is, how do we curate content that remains real-time, authentic and high-quality?

For Netflix, a fundamentally B2C company, the guiding principles are to engage your audiences on digital platforms where they already are (Facebook) and talk about what they’re already passionate about (movies) and find natural ways to insert corporate messages (streaming services) that feel organic.  “What works best is showing up and talking and being transparent [with our consumers],” Fisher observed. “We keep the conversation going, and they become our brand ambassadors.”

For Dolby, a predominantly B2B company, the context is quite different. Dolby is a company with admirable brand awareness, but few actually know what all the company does. So for Dolby, the challenge is all about storytelling, and to leverage the power of social media to get the word out about what the companies does. “Personalization is key,” noted Ogilvie. “You have to give people a framework to use, and then create the content and evolve it over time.”

The hardest question remains metrics. As one attendee observed, “It sounds like the content that’s the most meaningful and high-impact is the hardest to track financially. Smaller companies can’t invest in content creation that isn’t founded in solid ROI.”

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Immersive, Measurable, and Mobile—The Guiding Principles for Digital Marketing in 2011 Tue, 30 Nov 2010 18:49:30 +0000 Joshua Reynolds It’s no secret that the paradigm shift toward digital marketing is accelerating. Depending on which research you read, offline marketing spend is down in double digits, while online marketing is up about 10% and mobile marketing is up nearly 20%. But the open question for marketers in 2011—and especially B2B companies—is what kind of digital marketing experiences to create, and what bets to make. Recently at the CMO Club Summit in San Francisco, Adobe CMO Ann Lewne shared some views around the principles that drive digital marketing decisions and the illustrative marketing priorities at Adobe, whose self-described mission is “to change the world through digital experiences.”

A few clear themes emerged from the group discussion. First, the most viral and valuable digital marketing experiences are those that feel the most immersive to the customer. Lewne observed that digital marketing provides unique opportunities for creating experiences that draw in customers, hold their fascination, and drive engagement all the way through funnel. Second, digital marketing allows you to measure not just engagement, but conversion  both on and off your web site (even through sales channels), which is essential for proving the ROI of your campaign. And third, the single most important bet for marketers to make in 2011 is on mobile marketing.

“Next year is the crossover year for mobile,” Lewne observed. “Everybody now has to reformat their content and create experiences that are mobile-oriented rather than taking what you have and slap it onto a mobile device.” And after a robust group discussion around the multi-screen revolution now underway among consumers, Lewne encouraged the audience to get ahead of the digital curve, now. “Get ahead of it and mandate it at your company. Because that’s where people want to get their information, purchase products, read magazines, watch movies. That’s where the world is headed.”

What was most interesting about the discussion was the discussion around which metrics matter most when it comes to digital marketing. Many attendees seemed to be thirsting for a hard ROI argument to take to their CFO, and while digital does offer a variety of metrics miracles, which one you turn to depends on your business objective—and your culture.

“Making it beautiful isn’t enough,” Lewne told the crowd, citing various metrics such as customer loyalty, sales conversion, brand position and consumer engagement. Even reputational standing can be enhanced through philanthropic endeavors such as Adobe’s Museum of Digital Media. “We’re not selling on this thing,” she noted. “This is just about connecting to our customers.”

And that, perhaps more than any other statement, captures where the smart bets in digital marketing appear to be right now—making meaningful, beautiful and authentic connections with your customers.

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