On Wednesday, February 19th, Kyle Lacy, Senior Manager, Content Marketing and Research, at ExactTarget presented a webcast for the AMA, sponsored by Aquent, detailing how emerging technologies, from mobile and localization services to data-driven personalization and wearable technology, are affecting the ways customers consume content and setting expectations for the types of content they hope to receive from companies and brands.
Lacy opened with a funny video featuring comedian Louis CK and late night talk show host, Conan O’Brien, to remind us how quickly technology is changing (from rotary phones to wifi on airplanes in CK's lifetime). He went on to use the video to emphasize how critical it was for marketers to keep their fingers on the pulse of technological innovation in order to prepare for what’s coming next and, more importantly, to figure out how best to reach customers today.
He then dove into the technology trends for 2014 that will impact and drive content strategies.
TREND ONE: DATA
"Data always equals relevance," Lacy said, and put that thought in a marketing context with a quote from Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM:
“What you will see with rapid data and social sharing is the death of the average and the era of you. Businesses will be able to truly serve the individual.”
In other words, Lacy explained, companies have to focus on what people actually want, rather than what companies think they want. Why? Because the companies have the data and their customers know it.
With this in mind, Lacy described two ways that marketing data can guide content creation:
- Empathy – By understanding someone’s emotional state or feelings, based on the available data, marketers can understand why the consumer wants to buy, what drives them, why it matters, and then create relevant content accordingly.
- Perspective Taking – Content owners and marketers must have a complete understanding of someone’s interests and behaviors in order to develop content that will result in action. The data marketers can now collect allows them to get inside their customer's perspective and create content that speaks to it.
TREND TWO: Moments Matter
Lacy used some amazing pictures of dogs under water as an example of how all moments count and must not be overlooked. His broader point was that companies need to create individualized content addressing all the “moments” on the continuum of touch points in the customer lifecycle. At the same time, there needs to be an understanding that every customer is different and every customer interaction will be different. By collecting and reviewing customer data, content strategies can be built and implemented to make all those moments matter.
TREND THREE: Consumer Mobility
It’s a fact that technology, and not just phone technology, is becoming more mobile. With the wearable market expanding and other new products revolutionizing the idea of customer engagement, we are only seeing the beginning of how connected products will embed technology in our personal lives. According to Lacy, marketers must be aware that this is happening and work toward providing content that flows and feels natural within these channels.
TREND FOUR: Content Personalization
The last trend Lacy identified concerned making content relevant and completely personalized. He shared three ways to do this:
- Guided Selling – This refers to personalizing content and making the message(s) completely relevant to the individual customer. To do this, marketers need to identify and build profiles for each customer and then deliver targeted and timely messages to them.
- EGOnomics – This concept, coined by Faith Popcorn, refers to the concept that society is becoming increasingly depersonalized. As a result, customers really appreciate being noticed. Companies can thus make a big impression by acknowledging their individual customers through personalization. If done right, such personalization can encourage customers to become true advocates, sharing their experiences through user-created content across the web.
- Location – Location is key to any content strategy because people in different places have different VALS (value, attitudes, and lifestyles). In this context, Lacy discussed how ExactTarget seeks out resources in the geographic regions they target to create relevant content for their audiences there.
And that's Kyle's presentation in a nutshell. For more information on each of these four trends influencing content, feel free to watch the entire presentation.
Photo Source: Lauren Manning.