Interactive Content Drives Improved Marketing

Most marketers agree that content marketing has become a core marketing strategy for most enterprises. It’s also now clear that the use of content marketing is continuing to grow, as illustrated by the following findings from the latest annual content marketing survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:

  • 93% of survey respondents said their companies are using content marketing.
  • 73% said they are producing more content than they did one year ago.
  • 53% said they plan to increase or significantly increase their spending on content marketing.

Content marketing is the most effective way to create meaningful engagement with today’s empowered buyers. However, we are beginning to see signs of what might be called content fatigue. The irony is that the growing use of content marketing is adding to content fatigue and creating a new challenge for marketers. As more companies use content marketing and publish an increasing amount of content, it’s becoming more difficult to make your content stand out.

So, how can enterprise marketers make their content stand out in a crowded content environment? Recent research by Demand Metric indicates that interactive content can be a powerful tool for combating content fatigue. In the Demand Metric study, interactive content was defined as content that invites or requires some level of active involvement by the prospect, while passive content was defined as content that invites or requires little or no interaction other than reading, viewing, or listening.

Demand Metric used a three-step process to evaluate the effectiveness of interactive vs. passive content.

  • First, survey participants were asked to categorize their content as very passive, somewhat passive, moderate, slightly interactive, or very interactive. Then, Demand Metric grouped the responses into two broader categories – passive content (which included the very passive, somewhat passive, and moderate responses), and interactive content (which included the slightly interactive and very interactive responses).
  • Second, Demand Metric asked survey participants to rate the effectiveness of their content at performing three important marketing functions – producing prospect conversions, educating the buyer, and creating differentiation from competitors.
  • Third, Demand Metric compared the ratings of interactive content users with passive content users.

Demand Metric found that interactive content outperformed passive content on all three of these critical marketing functions. Seventy percent of interactive content users said their content was moderately or very effective at converting prospects, while only 36% of passive content users gave such ratings to their content. Ninety-three percent of interactive content users said their content was somewhat or very effective at educating buyers, but only 70% of passive content users reported the same level of effectiveness. Finally, 88% of interactive content users said that interactive content is somewhat or very effective at creating differentiation, while only 55% of passive content users gave such ratings to their content.

The bottom line? If you want your marketing content to be more effective, make it more interactive.

Using DAM to Manage the Creative Lifecycle

Since their introduction in the early 1990’s, digital asset management solutions have been designed to be the authoritative source (the system of record) for rich media resources. Therefore, DAM solutions have historically focused on providing a centralized repository for rich media resources and on providing basic “library” functions for managing those resources.

System of record capabilities are still an essential component of an effective DAM solution, but they are no longer sufficient to meet all of the needs of today’s enterprise marketers. In the current content-intensive environment, enterprise marketers must be able to quickly and efficiently develop rich media content and distribute that content via multiple channels. In addition, the growing need to localize marketing content both increases the volume of content resources that enterprises must develop and adds another layer of complexity to the content development process.

Therefore, to meet the needs of today’s enterprise marketers, a DAM solution must provide capabilities that span the whole lifecycle of rich content resources. In particular, it’s critical for a DAM solution to provide tools that facilitate and streamline the processes used to develop rich media resources, what is often referred to as the creative lifecycle.

At ADAM, we believe that an enterprise-class digital asset management solution will provide two critical kinds of support for the creative lifecycle.

User-Friendly DAM for Content Developers

The first requirement is to make the DAM solution easy for content developers to use. In the ideal scenario, the DAM solution will be almost “invisible” to content developers. Here’s what I mean.

The creative personnel who develop rich media content frequently need many of the capabilities provided by a DAM solution. For example, they may need to add new resources to the DAM solution in order to make them easily accessible to other enterprise stakeholders. Most creative personnel usually perform most of their work in the Adobe Creative Cloud family of applications (InDesign, Photoshop, etc.). To gain the benefits of a DAM solution, creative personnel are typically required to work in two technology systems, which adds to the complexity and time required to manage rich media content.

To solve this problem, the DAM solution should make all of its functions available from within the Creative Cloud applications.

Support for Collaborative Content Review and Approval

An enterprise-class DAM solution will also support a collaborative approach to content review and approval. The dynamics of today’s marketing environment are placing greater demands on the processes used to review and approve marketing content resources. The growing volume of content resources means that enterprises must perform more review and approval cycles. Review processes are also becoming more complex. More people are involved, and the need for collaborative interactions is greater. Lastly, content cycle times are compressed, which means that review and approval cycles must be completed quickly.

To address these issues, a DAM solution should enable enterprises to easily design and implement collaborative review and approval processes and workflows.

 Learn More About Managing the Creative Lifecycle

During a recent webinar, ADAM discussed how its software solutions provide critical capabilities for managing the creative lifecycle of rich media content. You can watch the on-demand version of this informative presentation here.

Gain Insights from Important New Capgemini Research

Since 2002, Capgemini has conducted four major research studies regarding consumer shopping behavior, with a particular emphasis on how consumers use digital channels in the shopping/buying process. Capgemini’s most recent study is the 2014 Digital Shopper Relevancy report, which is based on a survey of more than 18,000 digital shoppers from 18 countries.

On November 12th, ADAM will host a webinar that will provide an in-depth look at the findings of Capgemini’s latest study. The webinar will be presented by Kees Jacobs, who leads the All-Channel Experience Sector Growth Initiative within the Consumer Products & Retail division at Capgemini.

The key areas of the Capgemini study include the usage of digital channels and devices, purchasing behavior in different product categories, and the role of digital channels throughout the shopping process. Capgemini’s research addressed the use and importance of digital and traditional channels across five phases of an “All-Channel Shopping Journey” – Awareness, Choosing, Transaction, Delivery, and Aftersales Care – and the 2014 study includes data relating to each phase of the customer journey.

During our upcoming webinar, Kees Jacobs will discuss several key findings from Capgemini’s 2014 research. Here are just a few of the findings that will be covered in the webinar presentation:

  • The importance of social media in the shopping journey has declined over the last two years.
  • Physical stores are still the favored destination for consumers, but the majority of survey respondents say that in the future, they will spend more money online than in-store.
  • There are four distinct categories of “digital shoppers” in mature markets, and the shoppers in each category differ in their use of, and comfort level with, digital channels.

This webinar will be packed with valuable insights regarding the shopping preferences and behaviors of today’s consumers. If you’re a marketer for a B2C-focused enterprise, you don’t want to miss this important presentation.

You can register for the webinar here.

New Research Demonstrates the Value of Video Content

It’s now abundantly clear that the use and consumption of online video content has exploded.

  • Earlier this year, comScore, Inc. reported that 183.5 million Americans watched online content videos in May 2014.
  • Last year, comScore reported that over 1.3 billion people worldwide watch online videos on a monthly basis.
  • Over 90% of consumers globally now watch online video content, according to the 2013 Accenture Video-Over-Internet Consumer Survey. This survey also revealed that 25% of consumers watch video content on a desktop or laptop computer every day, and another 22% do so at least 3 times per week.

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group (Analyzing the ROI of Video Marketing) provides more evidence regarding the importance of video content in the content marketing mix and includes insights about how high-performing companies are deriving significant value from video content.

As with many of its research studies, Aberdeen divided the survey respondents in its content marketing study into three tiers – Best-in-Class (the top 20% of aggregate performers), Industry Average (the middle 50%), and Laggards (the bottom 30%). Aberdeen used four performance criteria to place survey respondents into one of these categories – website conversion rate, year-over-year increase in unique website traffic, year-over-year growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue, and growth in company revenue.

The Aberdeen research found that Best-in-Class companies are only slightly more likely than Industry Average and Laggard companies to use video content. However, Best-in-Class companies are 24% more likely than Laggards to have the ability to generate (and use) original video content (68% vs. 55%).

The Aberdeen study also found significant advantages of using video content.

  • Companies that use video content achieve an average website conversion rate of 4.8%, compared to only 2.9% for companies that don’t use video content. The higher conversion rate means that companies using video content require 37% fewer unique website visits to produce a marketing response than companies that don’t use video content.
  • Companies that use video content have an average cost per marketing-generated lead of $93, while the comparable cost for companies that don’t use video content is $115.
  • To maximize the potential of video content, enterprises need an effective way to manage, localize, and publish videos. Historically, most enterprises have managed videos in an ad hoc fashion using specialized personnel or outsourced services and stand-alone software applications. As a result, video content is not typically catalogued, stored, and managed like other enterprise content assets. As the use of video content continues to grow, and as videos become integral to an organization’s marketing and communications efforts, this lack of a common management system can create significant issues.

The Rise of Contextual Marketing

In the July 2014  issue of CRM Magazine, the lead article was “The Road to Omnichannel Marketing Success” by Maria Minsker. Ms. Minsker’s article is thoughtful and well-written, and she opened the article with the following statement:

“Welcome to the Age of the Customer, where consumers are more skeptical than ever and traditional marketing campaigns are on their way to becoming obsolete.”

The article asserts that potential buyers are increasingly choosing to do business with brands that “. . . can deliver customized experiences and facilitate meaningful interactions across all relevant channels.”

To successfully meet the expectations of today’s customers, Ms. Minsker says than an enterprise must build a “context marketing engine,” which the article defines as “. . .a brand-specific platform that exploits customer context to deliver utility and guides the customer into the next best interaction.”

Contextual marketing has recently become a hot buzzword in the marketing community. The definition of contextual marketing is still evolving, but the term usually refers to the delivery of advertisements and other marketing messages that are customized based on the recipient’s current (or very recent) behavior and delivered to the recipient on a real-time (or near real-time) basis. For obvious reasons, contextual marketing is primarily an online marketing phenomenon, where communications are essentially instantaneous.

In one sense, contextual marketing is simply the current incarnation of the age-old marketing goal of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time and place. In another sense, however, contextual marketing represents a fundamental transformation in how marketing is managed and practiced. One core feature of this transformation is a shift away from channel-focused, campaign-driven marketing communications to (a) marketing content that is customized based on the recipient’s attributes and behaviors and (b) marketing content delivery that is always available on all relevant channels.

Marketing thought leaders now agree that two technologies are required to provide the foundation for a successful onmichannel, contextual marketing effort.

  • A solid big data analytics solution with broad and deep capabilities that will enable marketers to determine what marketing content should be delivered to a recipient
  • A marketing execution platform that enables the delivery of rich, context-based content on a real-time (or near real-time) basis

At present, few software providers, if any, offer solutions that excel at both analytics and marketing execution. In fact, a best-of-breed approach is often still required to create a highly-effective marketing execution platform. Therefore when enterprise marketing and IT leaders are evaluating prospective marketing technology solutions, ease of integration should be a primary selection requirement.

How DAM Supports Global and Localized Digital Experiences

Delivering outstanding customer experiences is a critical component of competitive success for virtually all kinds of business enterprises. In a recent report, Walker Information wrote that by 2020, customer experience will surpass product and pricing as the key business differentiator. (Customers 2020:  The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience, Walker Information, Inc., 2014)

The reality is that providing great customer experiences has already become a vital source of competitive advantage for most types of companies. In a recent newspaper interview, Sir Richard Broadbent, the Chairman of Tesco, echoed the feelings of many business leaders when he said, “The company that provides the best relationship with the customer will win – not through product, but through the best experience.”

Delivering great customer experiences has become more complex and demanding because brands must be prepared to provide marketing content via multiple interaction channels, and most of these channels are now digital. Today, both consumers and business buyers are accessing information via conventional websites, social networking sites, “content sharing” sites like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, mobile websites, and mobile shopping apps.

These empowered and always-connected customers and prospects have high expectations:

  • They expect to have access to rich, detailed, informative, and entertaining content.
  • They expect to be able to access rich and detailed content via the interaction channels of their choice.
  • They expect content that is current, accurate, and consistent across all interaction channels.

Enterprises that operate internationally face an additional challenge:  They must be prepared to produce, manage, and deliver marketing messages and materials in the primary languages of multiple target audiences. The importance of “speaking the language of your customer” cannot be overstated. In a 2011 study conducted for the European Commission, 42% of Internet users said they never purchase products or services in any language but their own.

In addition to the language challenge, global enterprises must also be able to deliver rich media content – images, video, etc. –  that reflects the cultural preferences and sensitivities of multiple target audiences.

To meet the growing need for localized, multilingual, and multi-cultural marketing content, global enterprises need the right technology tools. On October 21, 2014, ADAM will present a webinar that explores how a robust digital asset management solution supports global and localized digital customer experiences. This webinar will explain why it’s important for a DAM solution to:

  • Support integration with translation solutions and workflows
  • Support broad and extensive content localization (language, images, video, and audio)
  • Support localized content taxonomies

Please join us for this important and informative webinar.

Does Your Business Need a Dedicated DAM Solution?

The pace of growth and change in the marketing software space has been nothing short of explosive over the past several years. As a result, the marketing technology landscape has become increasingly complex, and it is becoming more challenging for enterprise marketing and IT leaders to determine what specific marketing technology tools are right for their organization.

In the marketing software space, each vendor determines what specific features and capabilities will be included in its applications and how those applications are categorized in the marketplace. Therefore, the boundaries between software applications have become blurred, and several types of marketing applications can appear to provide the same (or very similar) capabilities.

For example, some vendors that provide software solutions for web content management (WCM), e-commerce, product information management, marketing campaign management, and marketing resource management are now claiming that their applications provide “built-in” capabilities for managing rich content assets. Some of these vendors also claim that their embedded asset management capabilities make it unnecessary for most companies to implement a separate, dedicated digital asset management solution.

So, how can you determine whether you need a dedicated DAM solution or whether the asset management capabilities provided by other marketing software applications will be adequate to satisfy your company’s requirements? In a recent report by Forrester Research, Anjali Yakkundi provided a framework for making this important decision. Ms. Yakkundi contends that three business requirements and five functionality requirements typically characterize the enterprises that need a dedicated, best-of-breed DAM solution.

The three business requirements identified by Ms. Yakkundi are:

  • Multiple delivery systems need access to content Most organizations use multiple systems for delivering content to customers and potential customers. These can include WCM, e-commerce, marketing campaign management, and e-mail marketing. In these situations, an enterprise can benefit by having a single repository for all customer-facing content.
  • A variety of business users access the system Some enterprises need to provide access to customer-facing content to a wide group of internal and external stakeholders, and it is usually easier and more efficient to manage this access via a standalone DAM solution.
  • Rich media is core to the business Enterprises with a large volume of rich media content will typically benefit from using a DAM solution that is specifically designed to manage rich content.

The five functionality requirements in Ms. Yakkundi’s framework are:

  1. Advanced metadata and taxonomy support Systems with built-in asset management functionality will usually provide the basic ability to tag content assets, but they don’t usually provide the ability to manage multiple metadata models, which can be important for enterprises with multiple business units.
  2. Advanced search capabilities Systems with embedded DAM functionality typically support basic keyword search, but not advanced search functions such as faceted search.
  3. Content creation workflow While many systems have functionality that supports channel-specific workflows, DAM solutions focus on managing the multiple steps involved in the content creation process.
  4. Globalization and localization An enterprise-level DAM solution is typically needed to efficiently manage global versions and multiple local versions of customer-facing content assets.
  5. Digital usage rights Systems with built-in asset management functionality may provide rights and usage restrictions via manual metadata entry. This means that usage rights will need to be specified in multiple systems. A dedicated DAM solution will provide a centralized mechanism for managing usage rights.

Determining whether you need a dedicated DAM solution is an important decision that can have a major impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing operations. The framework offered by Ms. Yakkundi provides a useful way to begin your analysis of this critical issue.