Cognito Breakfast Byte 19 June 2015 – The palatable takeaways
Yes, content is king. We all know this – but how can you make the most of your content in B2B financial services marketing?
Fifty marketers joined the Cognito team at Coq d’Argent in London on Friday 19 June for a lively discussion on challenges, trends and best practice.
Our panel from SWIFT, Truphone, COOConnect and BNY Mellon Investment Management covered a number of pressing points, including the role of content in retaining customers and attracting leads, the evolving relationship between content, quality and authority, the interplay between paid, owned and earned channels, and the need for personalisation – and ensuring that content is relevant to your audience.
Less than 10% of attendees said they had a detailed content marketing plan in place for the next year, but the appetite is certainly there.
In the spirit of the session - that is, be concise and tailor content to the needs of your audience – we have prepared some tips based on insight gathered on the day.
Seek internal buy-in and plan early
Kate Rowland, head of marketing support services, BNY Mellon Investment Management, highlighted that sometimes there can be internal apprehension about how content is used. “The key to channel planning for content is communicating with stakeholders as early as possible in the process. The challenges start internally – for example with social media a lot of education is needed on how to mitigate the risks.”
Paul Liesching, global head of business development, Truphone, agreed on the importance of appropriate planning, even for “spontaneous agility”. Budget Day is a great example of this – many companies start planning months in advance to have that “spontaneous” response ready!
Dominic Hobson, founder, COOConnect, said that it is related to trust. “In the financial industry it is important to be transparent. You need to be open to win back trust. Get internal buy-in on your plan based on facts, which can’t be disputed. Lessen the risk of sharing content by building relationships based on an agreed set of facts.”
Right message, right media, right time!
The panel advised that you must be clever with your content - chop it into bitesize pieces to give it longevity and ensure that the right messages resonate with the right audiences through the right media.
“Relevance is a big challenge,” said Paul. “It takes a great deal of strategic thinking to repurpose content for the right people. Don’t simply blast it out to everyone. This is an exacting science and everyone is still learning in online marketing. A white paper is an expression of who a company is, but why not break it down for different audiences?”
Kate talked about the importance of going back to basics. “Ask yourself, is the content valuable to the audience I am targeting? Pick meaningful, core pieces of content, and decide what channel is best for the target audience.”
Geraldine Lambe, head of communications, WEMEA, SWIFT, had a solution. “The new world of content marketing is about segmenting your audience. When thinking about a chunky piece of content, divide it into five subthemes that can be communicated in different ways. Repackage what you have in a smarter way.”
Get the voice right – and share your data!
Geraldine stressed the importance of choosing the right people to be outward facing. “Pick willing partners to get authentic content. Find the right voice and nurture it! It is crucial to ensure that your content sounds authentic – otherwise you risk alienating the audience.”
According to Paul, “the more personal you can make it, the more people will buy into it. LinkedIn can create a great network effect – the content is not broad brush but rather very laser-targeted. We are all publishers and this is powerful.”
The panel also noted the importance of sharing data. Dominic advised attendees to “keep your content concise, but make sure you share your data to transform relationships.” Geraldine added that you should “give people something. Don’t be afraid to give away your intellectual property. People want to see real examples, and will likely then approach you for more.”
However take care! Kate warned, “Be very clear on the difference between personalisation and tailoring.”
Pick the correct partner
Geraldine emphasised the power of getting a partner to share your content with their own network. “Your message, delivered by the right partner, becomes a validation for your product within their own context.”
“Renting someone’s reputation is useful,” added Dominic. “Picking the right partner to work with to create content is important. Think about it carefully. Working with academics is often a good strategy, and often an untapped resource. Other industries make better use of academics - financial services is behind the curve.”
Kate talked about the importance of feedback from chosen partners, as well as from your audience. “Feedback is key. You will really benefit from being open to the response to a piece of content, and this feedback will inform the next step and allow you to get more insight into your audience.”
Technology is great – but don’t neglect the old ways!
According to Dominic, “content and technology gets you in front of people. To then further build relationships, older tools - like events and surveys - may work better. Events allow you to capture the interest of people who are demonstrably interested in the services you have got. People still prefer face-to-face.”
Paul agreed. “Content marketing can get you 70% of the way there, but then get your best sales people on the case.”
Geraldine described herself as ‘technologically agnostic’. “Use content as a calling card to someone, but you should then still build up to a meeting.”
Video killed the journalist star?
Paul highlighted the importance of video as a channel. “Video is massively powerful now. The top 10 online news sites feature between 20 and 30 user-generated pieces of content a day.”
Geraldine countered: “Written content isn’t dead. You can take messages from a video and turn them into a blog or an article – and this highlights a real blurring between paid, owned and earned media. The question is, is it useful? Then it doesn’t matter if it is any of the three.”
And a final word from Dominic: “Independent journalism is dead. Most of what you see now is paid for. Content marketing has ultimately destroyed this channel – and so we need a new model for what is owned, paid for and earned.”
Thanks to our panellists and guests for joining us for a fascinating event. Get involved in the discussion at #CogSpeaks, or through the comments section below.
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