Byravee Iyer Nikki Wicks
Mar 20, 2015

Content the glue that bonds brands and millennials: Content Marketing Asia

SINGAPORE - Content marketing is essential for connecting with millennials, Lenovo’s Rod Strother told a panel at Content Marketing Singapore. Strother was responding to a question about what drives a brand to invest in content marketing.

Rose speaking at Content Marketing Asia
Rose speaking at Content Marketing Asia

“We’re trying to make a connection with our customers,” said Strother, director of Lenovo's, digital and social centre of excellence. “We can connect through our products and through advertising, but with a key audience for Lenovo—millennials—content really is the glue.” 

Go here for a closer look at Lenovo's content partnership with Ryan Higa. 

Strother was joined on the panel (Content Marketing ROI: from strategy to sales) by Inez Miki Tong, Asia-Pacific media strategist at Yahoo, and Vaasu Gavarasana, head of digital marketing at AXA.

Commenting what drives insurance firm AXA into investing in content marketing, Gavarasana argued it was the only way a brand could “always be on”.

Consumers are always on, but are your brands always on, asked Gavarasana. “The answer is no. The only way you can always be on is by adopting content marketing.”

The measurement of content marketing was a question that came up throughout the morning. Gavarasana was quick to dismiss the value of social ‘likes’ on a piece of content. “We measure time spent with a piece of content. We don’t consider likes—we don’t count them,” he said.

Tong argued that whilst content marketing is vital in driving engagement, the ultimate measure of success was on whether the content had driven revenues and ROI.

Commenting on the measurement metrics at Lenovo, Strother said: “We measure internal success on which other countries pick up and repurpose our content ... Just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean you should measure it.”

Build experiences that create loyalty

Earlier in the morning, Robert Rose, chief strategy officer of the Content Marketing Institute, suggested that we are moving into a new era of creating experiences, expanding the remit of marketing.

According to Rose, what’s changed for marketing is customer relationship. The disruption of digital has changed relationship expectations. “Loyalty today is based on the experiences we create, not the product or service.” For brands, this means democratisation of content experiences. It’s critical not only to grab attention but to hold it.

To achieve this, marketing teams need to evolve beyond technology and channels. One of the biggest barriers to the industry's development is the competitive way marketing departments are structured.

“In the last 20 years, as web and social came up, we’ve thrown boxes at the problem. The social team doesn’t get along with the brand team. When we are so segmented we end up competing with ourselves and we operate like we’re at war with customers,” said Rose.

Rose encouraged brands to organise marketing around content and then organically adapt it to any channel. It is his opinion that brands need to stop trying to map every step to content, you won’t, he said, you can’t. Instead, focus on a few strategic touchpoints. These include awareness experiences – feeding interests and passions; nurturing experiences; and creating loyalty experiences.

“Let’s get these three things right before we map their journey. That will move the needle,” Rose concluded.

The truth is, while most companies have embarked on content marketing, few are effective, commented Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. So although content marketers plan on spending significantly more this year, brace yourself for horrible content, he warned. 

"“It’s because companies have no strategy, if they do, they don’t follow it,” said Pulizzi ruefully. He added that 54 per cent of effective content marketers have a documented strategy.

Yesterday, Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Content Marketing Asia conference held three challenging workshops that tackled content creation management, lessons on generating more traffic and leads, and how agencies should be pitching to get client buy-in.

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