What is the future of content marketing?

The Westfield shopping centres generated almost £2 billion of sales last year as thousands of Olympic visitors flooded through the new Stratford mall. At the women4technology event organised by Bailey Fisher and Adjust Your Sets, Angel Gambino, entrepreneur and investor (SVP Digital Innovation at Westfield Shopping town during the 2012 Olympics) gave an insight into the various engagement tactics used by Westfield, during the Olympics to connect with the shoppers. She mentioned that of all the various value additions provided by Westfield, the most appreciated & re-tweeted was—no, not the photo opportunity with David Beckham or Mo Farah—it was the free Wi-Fi and stations for charging mobile devices.
Duh! Of course! We live in a connected world, where after air, water & coffee what’s most essential is Wi-Fi; and then you want to make sure your smart device is juiced up so you can stay plugged into the etherworld. In today’s battery sapping, app heavy world, where my Iphone-5 does not last more than 4 hours, I for one, have learnt to never leave home without my charger. In fact, my choice of a coffee shop, or a shopping outlet boils down to which one provides Wi-Fi; and as my Dad confessed, the key reason he equipped his home with Wi-Fi was because without it his children absolutely refused to visit.

This underlines a core principle of marketing—provide something, which makes the real difference to your consumer’s lives, and they will come.
As a content marketer though, it begs the question—what real need does content deliver for a viewer. Content entertains & engages. But does it making a tangible difference to the lives of the viewer? To some extent, factual programming does provide value, so does news. But what about pure entertainment which does not make a tangible difference to their lives–then what is its future?

What is the future of pure entertainment?

Content that resonates with viewers normally tends to be the kind, which elicits a specific emotional reaction. It makes them laugh or moves them to cry, or perhaps taps into their deepest fears. Thus most successful content brands have been those who have focussed on fulfilling a specific emotional niche.
But the added complexity in the connected world is that it also needs to specifically appeal to, get noticed and shared by the key influencers, who add real value to the lives of their connections.
Which means 1% of the audience.
I predict then that the future of marketing for content-based brands such as TV channels is to laser target that 1% of the audience with content, that is not just unique or exclusive, but which compels influencers to share. So it comes from a trusted source and is seen to add value to the lives of its viewers. Which means really moving beyond mass media to individual targeting of influencers thus generating word of mouth and finally viewership. Or else it has to be content that adds social value of some kind to the community at large. The days of just providing a simple tune-in message and expecting viewers to come is over, it has to be teamed with engagement tactics, which adds value to the viewers’ lives.
What do you think? Do you agree?

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3 thoughts on “What is the future of content marketing?

  1. You are ignoring the impact of the second screen when people interact with TV. Here is the fact: content no longer lives alone: there are multiple inputs getting into the customer simultaneously.

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