Forces Driving the Demand for Content at Scale

Car dashboardWhat are the forces driving this surging need for content from brands and organizations? We often hear at content marketing confabs that it’s the growing need to shift from ad messaging to relevant content that customers and prospects appreciate and willingly choose to consume.

That’s fair, and true. But if that’s what was really going on, wouldn’t we be seeing at least a little less advertising? Have you tried watching cable TV or bought a magazine lately? These experiences are basically ads with a few content breaks reluctantly squeezed in. But let’s get more current than those channels. Have you tried reading anything on a website today? Pages present real estate that’s outright blighted with ads and push messaging. Often, readers get the added bonus of not just one, but a series of content-blocking pop-ups. The experience is not unlike walking into a desperate ambush.

Advertising is alive and the go-to marketing approach for most organizations. But they’ve at least started talking about content. For too many, the content they’re talking about and making are just ads called by another name or in another format. But for the seers, they’re seeing that content is needed for something other than stuffing the top of the funnel. It’s needed to bring prospects all the way through the funnel. At some point in that journey, slick deception and manipulation must give way to forming a trusted, authentic, valued relationship between brand and customer. That is what is driving the tidal surge demand for content.

What’s needed are thoughtful, data-driven content assets that honestly answer the prospect’s series of questions and progressively alleviate their doubts. Content is the oil that flows through the marketing automation and account based marketing pipelines being institutionalized. Okay, it might be the nicest technology stack any company ever paid tens of thousands for. But no content? Dry pipe. Technology, market conditions, and business evolution are making content creation a mandate.

Which leads us to how to capture the busy prospect’s attention in a world where they at any given moment not only have thousands of brand messages coming at them, but also thousands of immediately accessible entertainment and information choices they can give their finite time to. Oh, you think people aren’t watching episodes of “Shameless” at work? Why should they turn attention to what you are trying to get them to watch?

Erase from your mind those who have no reason whatsoever to watch your content. Hey, not everything is for everybody. Did you know there are people out there who actually hate the Super Bowl? (Go Falcons by the way). Spend your efforts offering your content to those who are at least visibly curious about the space you play in. Like sales, content consumers are leads, and there’s little point trying to get the unqualified ones to love your stuff. Be healed from “spray and pray” lead-gen my brothers and sisters. Data has set you free.

Prospects will consume your content in their time, in their way, at their pace, and when it’s relevant to what they’re thinking about. Remember, they probably don’t even want to talk to you. They want to research you on their own first. Before Google, most of what people knew was what marketers put in front of them. They now have the luxury of avoiding you, getting what they want to know from Google, social, peers or strangers…people who have no reason to lie to them. The stock they put in those evaluations is sky-high compared to any beautiful marketing prose or Millennial-pandering cleverness coming from a brand.

In that environment, what’s a brand’s place? Brands must now somehow enter that self-guided research experience. More than ever, that’s done with non-advertising content of higher purpose and value. That’s the content that must be strategized and produced at scale.

Photo:, anankkml

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