Kevin Goddess discusses the growth of online video and the opportunity for brand's willing to...
Defining Content Marketing's Return
Across industries, brands are publishing and marketing their own content. While not a new phenomenon, content marketing is now truly taking root and blossoming. In its “2010 Media Industry Perspective” report, Booz & Company describes it as “one of the sector’s most provocative and disruptive developments.”
Naming Volkswagen, Nike and General Mills among the major marketers that “will continue to develop their own media assets, especially in digital,” the report offers this forecast: “The more media that marketers build on their own, the less they will buy,”1—posing a challenge to long-standing advertising-centric business models.
Propagating across industries, content is the “new” flower in the marketing garden, attractive both in terms of brand positioning and audience engagement. Wooing admirers is one thing, but does content marketing also bear fruit? While the complete ROI picture is still developing, brands are cultivating revenue and other rewards from content marketing across the buy-sell-service spectrum.
ROI, ROO or RIP?
As self-publishing brands revolutionize marketing, the time-honored challenge of quantifying ROI is changing too. “The industry must redefine metrics to properly quantify the value of branded content,” said marketing expert Cathleen MacDonald at the 2010 Branded Content Summit in Toronto. “Metrics for traditional advertising fail to measure how content engages audiences and translates into ROI.”2
More stridently, Rob Rose, chief troublemaker at digital marketing agency Big Blue Moose, goes for ROI’s jugular: “ROI as it is currently being applied to the marketing strategy should die as a way we measure success.”3
Soul-searching and bombast aside, the challenge is to find the right match between the multiple personalities of content marketing and performance metrics. For all its promise and buzz, content marketing is not some magical “one size fits all” solution. Similarly, return on investment is an elusive concept, with measures ranging from brand affinity and customer advocacy to the capturing and nurturing of leads to cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
Here, the content marketing garden can seem a jungle; the clear-cut path is the alignment of metrics with business objectives. “Obtaining your business goals does not change, but in content marketing, how you achieve these goals is markedly different,” writes Junta42’s Joe Pulizzi.