‘CONTENT MARKETING Needs to be COLLECTIVELY EXPLORED’
RP Singh – Chairperson, Content Marketing Summit Asia
In the last few years, Marketing has taken a physical leap from the ‘traditional’ ground and, travelling through the email-marketing-driven online space, the focus has obviously developed a liking for the mobile and social spaces on the digital firmament. And while the tools, tweakers and platforms like email marketing, SEO, SMO and the Social Media platforms respectively are abuzz, and agog, marketers across sectors and regardless of their preferences for platforms, have slowly but surely come to realize that today, the core business of both, the Media Industry and Digital Marketing, is in that one word that’s getting increasingly sticky with the digital denizen: Content.
Our Chief Mentor (firstname.lastname@example.org) caught up with RP Singh – Summit Chairperson, Content Marketing Summit Asia 2016. This young evangelist in the space of Digital and Content Marketing had, two years ago, set up a major B2B platform for marketers which has focused on Content Marketing. On Friday, the 23rd of September, the third edition of his major initiative, the Content Marketing Summit Asia 2016 will roll out in Mumbai, where it has travelled from Delhi where it was held over the past two editions. We spoke with Singh about CMS Asia 2016 which he promises plans to strike the right balance between Ground Reality and Virtual Reality to help new-age marketers prepare for the future of marketing.
An official communiqué says RP is also a digital marketing trainer and over the past 5 years, has traind over 2000 marketers. He has mentored “The Curious Digital Marketer” book on digital marketing. He loves to write on digital and content marketing and speaks regularly at marketing conferences. He is also a visiting faculty to B schools, and an angel investor and loves to help start-ups.
Excerpts from the conversation.
Everyone is focusing on content marketing, as though it were a recent phenomenon, but content is what drives any marketing communication – it has always been driven by the content. Please share your perspective on content marketing as it has been shaping up, especially in the Digital domain, where every individual is a publisher with access to several pipelines of distribution, and targeted distribution at that.
Today, consumers are bombarded with thousands of ads, and most of them, according to users, are irrelevant. No one wants to consume ads and some smart users have already started installing Ad Blockers — almost 35% according to some industry reports. So content marketing is the only effective way left to meet different marketing objectives.
When people search on web, they search for information — ie content and not ads — which can help them take decisions pertaining to their day-to-day life. Brands can easily establish a long-term connection with users by providing this information. Useful information that is not a plug; at best, the promotional aspect is very subtly woven in, or even just mentioned in the end, directly, briefly.
There are thousands of local and global case studies around how brands are doing successful marketing using content. The whole idea is to break the barriers of instinctive and automatic consumer resistance to direct promotional plugs.
So how will marketing shape up, going forward? What kind of a role will Content Marketing play in the future?
I dare say it will become and remain the one single, most potent and effective tool, and for a long time. Given its state right now, advertisers are facing some initial hiccups like: Who will produce the content? Should it be produced in-house or outsourced? What kind of content is the perfect kind of content? Obviously, there will be different yardsticks on the quality for different sectors and situations. How much content is sufficient? How to manage that content? How to distribute the content to a wider audience? How to keep producing relevant and evolving content regularly? How to measure the RoI of content?
Of course, especially in today’s day and age, there are answers available for each of these questions.
In a country like India, a great deal of opportunities exist in the content marketing space. There is something for every stakeholder — be it brands, publishers or agencies.
Content marketing is definitely effective in promoting a brand. Can you share any good examples?
Given how things are changing on the consumer side, every marketer has made it his primary business to be on the right side of the door when it comes to content marketing. Both B2B and B2C brands are utilizing content to meet their various marketing objectives.
From a B2C perspective, I love what Unilever is doing with BeBeautiful.in, by trying be a one-stop beauty destination for its users. Actually it started from beauty and has now expanded to Lifestyle, Health and Wellness content too. Almost 90% of this websites traffic comes from Search and Social, which advocates the fact that content can make a brand discoverable especially when a typical user’s journey always starts with Search or Social.
B2B brands, so far, are ahead of B2C brands in this game of content marketing. More than 80% of B2B brands use content marketing for closing the sale.
One brand stands out for me in this domain for doing some fantastic work using content — American Express. Their “OPEN Forum” platform is a unique hub of information for their existing and potential consumers. OPEN Forum is one of the largest channels for American Express to deliver leads for new card members. Year after year, they have proved that content marketing means business. This platform is a text-book example of how content marketing should be done.
There are thousands of smaller and large organizations doing content marketing successfully across the globe as they continue to achieve success in their initiatives.
And content marketing definitely has great scope in India…
Absolutely! More than one third of digital users block ads in India; that’s 35% less reach! How else will you reach this unique set of advanced users? And remember, the trend is growing.
Ad blocking is just one issue. Brands have started experiencing dramatic decrease in the response rates of their advertising campaigns; content can solve that problem to a large extent. A lot of brands use influencers these days to spread their messages; now these influencers cannot be sending ad messages all the time, they also need good content to be shared across their networks. The multiple-media nature of India as a market makes it a very scalable market for content marketing.
Across the market, B2B entities are coming up with an increasing number of marketing-oriented events, awards and what-have-you. It is a crowded marketplace. What are doing to ensure your CMS Asia 2016 will be a memorable event for B2B professionals? How is this year’s edition of CMS Summit Asia different from the previous two editions?
The 3rd edition of annual Content Marketing Summit Asia plans to strike the right balance between Ground Reality and Virtual Reality, which has always been the challenge for new-age marketers but will be crucial as we step into the future of marketing.
Content promises to be the bridge but is always looked at as a short-term tactic to win quickly. Scale and ROI have always been relatively unanswered questions when it comes to content marketing.
While everyone tries to figure out wherein lies the future of marketing, CMS Asia 2016 provides a platform to explore it collectively. It also touches upon softer aspects like Quality of Content and Art of Storytelling for consumers today who are flirting with multiple platforms simultaneously.
We have some of the top thought leaders attending and addressing the gathering. The CEO of OLX Amarjit Singh Batra and the Chairman of EM3 Agri Services Rohtash Mal will deliver the keynote address at the conference, while top executives from brands like Flipkart, Facebook, Yashraj Films, ESPN Cricinfo, Reliance and others will share their thoughts on various content marketing subjects. The speakers are a good mix of brands, publishers and agency partners.
It will be a knowledge crossroads with 3 panel discussions where brands will discuss their challenges of content marketing, agency partners will discuss how ready they are for their clients’ content marketing needs and publishers will tell brands on how to think, behave and act like a publisher.
With content marketing practitioners in the house from leading brands, technology companies and brands, the platform is all set this year to take Content Marketing discussion to the next level.
Anyone who has a direct or indirect relationship with the Marketing function will feel enriched after attending the conference.
For an event like this, it is ATL Marketing, especially across Digital, that will spread greater awareness amongst Brand Owners and Marketing Custodians, who are your primary target audience to attend. What is your marketing plan for CMS Asia 2016, because, obviously, it will have to rely most on ATL Marketing, as PR will yield very little coverage from CMS-targeting B2B sites and publications that will likely refuse to cover a potentially ‘rival’ event.
While most of the efforts are geared towards ATL marketing because of its precise targeting using digital media, we have seen a healthy response from B2B sites to partner with the event. Only one or two websites, I would say because of their myopic vision, have not agreed to partner thinking this is a potentially rival event. We are not a B2B publisher; neither we are an events company. I don’t see any rivalry for a subject which is still in its nascent stage.
We are trying to grow the content marketing ecosystem and we seek support from everyone. It is for the industry, which involves these websites too, and will eventually help them. If you look at list of our media partners, almost everyone is there to support us and I am thankful to them.