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Author: Andrew Davies
I am a co-founder of idio, and lead our commercial operations in the UK.
idio’s content personalization platform identifies patterns in each customer’s content consumption to understand their interests, and inserts real-time dynamic content into communications across digital channels to personalize the experience and drive increased engagement and conversion. idio then passes a new data stream of contextual customer insight back to the existing customer database.
With our deep experience in CRM and predictive analytics, idio’s products have been built from the ground up to solve the complex challenges in personalizing customer communications to drive lifetime customer value. For more information on idio please see http://www.idioplatform.com
As marketers, our actions have always been integral to not just driving business but capturing customer and prospect insight.
This is particularly the case in B2B, where everything from simple lead capture forms to more sophisticated marketing automation platforms have been a boon for enabling our colleagues in sales to understand the contexts of each lead that comes their way.
Yet despite all the advances in lead acquisition, nurturing and management, there is trouble in the camp.
Anyone involved in digital marketing will be acutely aware of native advertising’s meteoric ascendance over the past year or so.
According to Hexagram’s 2013 research, 62% of publishers are currently offering native advertising opportunities, followed by 41% of brands and 34% of agencies.
Furthermore, 66% of brands say they create their own content for native ads and the most popular forms of native advertising are blog posts, accounting for 65%, with articles at 63% and Facebook at 56%.
Native advertising presents a hugely exciting opportunity for brands to access new (and qualified) audiences that - through continual exposure to brand content - are increasingly likely to ‘convert’.
Furthermore, it is hoped native advertising will become digital advertising’s great saviour - particularly as the efficacy of online banner ads occupying similar spaces continues to diminish.
That said as the collective euphoria around native advertising grows, so too will the demands from brand CMOs that it be measurable, sustainable and profitable.
To that effect, all of us involved in the content marketing/native advertising space (whether you’re a technology-provider, as well, or a publisher or a content creator), would do well to start tackling these uncomfortable truths about our industry head-on:
As we draw closer to the end of 2013, not a day goes by without someone committing a feverish 'future of content marketing' post into the marketing blogosphere.
According to these digital soothsayers, next year we are destined (doomed?) to see more native advertising, more video content, more renewed commitment to ‘story first’ strategies, and so forth.
These are all strategies and techniques you could have read about in 2012, 2011 and 2010. The truth is content marketing has been around for over a hundred years, but there are many who would be happy for it to remain in its predictable, boring and samey infancy.
To be quite blunt, content marketing in 2014 needs to grow up.
Here’s how I’d like see content marketing mature over the next year...
In fact so much has been said about it that many feel it has been exhausted to death. In its wake, a smorgasbord of geometric configurations have been posited: cylinder, concentric circles, orbits, spindles, dodecahedrons (ok, I added that one).
Type 'purchase process' into Google Images and scroll away: everything from crazy path diagrams, the old funnel, cartoons and one that suggests it’s now a pretzel! Personally, I prefer the poetic variety such as the 'consumer journey'.
It suggests a Tolkien-esque epic requiring consumers to circumvent mythical creatures and fiery environs. Which is a typical experience for any of you that have hazarded Bluewater on a Saturday!
But whether it’s a funnel, a journey or a cycle the one thing that is generally the same is that it has a recognized objective beginning and end. That is to say, one of the chief goals of any marketer is to create awareness of their product or service and ultimately keep people interested enough to drive them to purchase.
"Targeted marketing" is often anything but and, worse still, reveals the way we view and think about our customers, as dehumanised objects within a segmentation bucket waiting to be hit with a marketing message.
I know it’s just semantics, but terminology is a real giveaway to underlying perspectives and intentions.
One that really grates with me is “targeting customers”. We are in a pull not push world, where customers are empowered, connected, and knowledgable, yet old-world marketers continue to target.