Top 5 Trends CMOs Should Harness as 2017 Planning Season Arrives.
As the lazy hazy days of summer become a distant memory, what quickly appears in their place is the fast and looming start of 2017. As a result, CMOs across industry and geography must begin to map out marketing and communication strategies for the year ahead. With that in mind, following are the top 5 trends to consider when making plans for 2017 in this fast-breaking and increasingly competitive business landscape:
1. Storytelling MUST morph into a proactive content creation and marketing engine and be viewed as not just an agent of awareness, but critical business competency.
For the last several years, storytelling has become a ubiquitous buzzword that unfortunately has lost the power of its true meaning from over-use, and being wrongly associated only with general brand awareness efforts. Smart CMO’s will recognize that in order to be truly effective, storytelling must be transformed into a proactive content creation and marketing engine that is embraced as a vital business competency.
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Such an approach should be connected not only to awareness generation, but to the attainment of meaningful and authentic engagement that can drive measurable business results. As you begin to shape your marketing strategies for the year ahead, figure out ways to directly connect content marketing to your pipeline of business and innovation, and do so in ways that deliver desired business outcomes. The idea of moving marketing (content marketing in particular) to the beginning of the supply chain of invention in the year ahead is paramount.
Case in point:
Airbnb’s content is not just used as a vehicle to generate awareness, its inculcated as a vital part of their business model. The company’s content marketing engine has a laser focus on emotion and human connection. By highlighting the people who own the homes listed and the travelers who go there, a steady drumbeat of content is created in ways that shape and define the brand experience.
Airbnb was a pioneer in showing how effective content marketing can connect and engage in ways that differentiate and drive competitive advantage and desired business outcomes. The importance of stories and content marketing to the Airbnb brand is quite evident in all that they do marketing wise. In fact. there’s an entire platform on their website labeled airbnb.com/stories. This area has videos and personalized content related to Airbnb hosts around the world. Using impactful stories and content marketing to help drive your business is critical, particularly as marketing becomes more and more responsible for end-to-end experience management.
2. The sharing economy isn’t just for Uber and Airbnb. It’s for winning content marketing strategy.
As the year winds down, it has become more and more clear that the sharing or collaborative economy has transcended blip or fad, to undisputed disruptive economic engine. As a result, leading CMOs will find ways of inculcating the idea of sharing into their communication strategies for the year ahead. The quickest and most effective way of doing this is by creating collaborative communication platforms that help transform brands into publishers of meaningful and engaging content. To be truly impactful, they must do so in ways that tie directly to improved business performance.
Critical to such endeavors will including the notion of collaboration and community in everything from content creation, to methods of sharing, education and invention. Building sharing or community driven ecosystems at the heart of content strategy development will be directly connected to winning efforts. What’s most important here is understanding the need for fluid and sustained content ecosystems in addition to more campaign driven models. In fact, the leaders of tomorrow will connect the two ideas to create symbiotic content organisms that deliver unmatched business results.
Case in Point:
The Farmers Insurance Inner Circle is built off of collaboration, community and the notion of sharing information, ideas and experiences. It is a customer-friendly resource that it created to empower the audience to become better educated about topics that many people find overwhelming and or inane. Farmers Insurance provides people with useful, practical information. It offers a huge variety of articles about things like taking care of your house and your car, how to prevent identity theft, what you need to know if you’re going through a divorce — basically how to deal with anything life throws at you. Their content platform works so well because Farmers Insurance establishes itself as an expert to its customers in a totally approachable way that encourages collaboration, sharing and community. If the content doesn’t answer something, Farmers makes it easy for customers to get in touch to share frustrations or request more information. By using content to help solve problems for your key audiences through the lens of collaboration and community, your brand can achieve a competitive edge.