It’s all about content
Martin MacGregor, MD of M&C Saatchi Connect, says agencies and brands can’t develop content until they understand how each digital touchpoint will play out.
“You have got two worlds which are slowly integrating themselves: old school media people and digital strategists. What disappointed me was that people claim to be digital strategists but are often planning in an old school way, not really understanding the full potential of digital. It starts with relevant content and you develop your plan around that.
MacGregor says the agency of the future needs to be structured to look at any business problem, with advertising (paid for media) as one part of a strategy; content (what is your content, your owned space and how can you best leverage that); and conversations (the earned media space).
This is the “maturity level” required from agencies.
“Digital has pushed us into a new space now, where one can no longer develop channel strategy and touchpoints without understanding what the brand message is. The digital message and the channel is one thing. It is not two separate things.”
MacGregor says mobile campaigns are more likely to work and clients are more likely to buy into it if you go back with a holistic plan which explains what mobile is within their broader communication plan that fits in with their broader strategy.
“Everyone is on the same page, we are all learning new technology. Many of us are spending a lot of time on mobile phones, but what that message is, the right context, the right opporunity, has to get harnessed. It is not easy to make money here.”
Melissa Attree, digital marketer and strategist at Cerebra, says storytelling is a big focus for mobile marketing content.
“What we are really trying to establish, is what types of content people are open to at what times of the day. It is the same as what we do on social, we are trying not to see a distinction, one enables the other.
“The key thing is to deliver the right type of content at the right times of day, that is easily accessible by mobile. So when we are thinking about campaigns, we are thinking how does it best translate to mobile? How would consumers derive value? It is about distilling our message and content significantly and still trying to add value.”
Attree says brands need to stop thinking their content is real good. “Good content is content that would add value to people’s lives. If you are a bank, I want help, knowledge, assistance, in a way that is accessible for me and adds value to me. Content has to educate, inform or entertain. It’s that simple.”
Good content, Attree emphasises, has to understand the human condition and all the things that people go through every year, the celebratory dates, the financially stressful months. Brand messages have to tap into the zeitgeist, try prempt people’s questions, make them feel better.
“Marketers need to ask how they can take their brand offering and put a spin on it and create educational and informative messages linking back to the brand and becoming the trusted advisor to consumers. Tap into someone’s average day. There are very different people engaging at different times of the day. Understand what they need, don’t try push a message to them.”
Marketers that send sms’s at midnight or insurance quotes on the weekend, were missing the mark. The mobile phone is such a personal device, with consumers 24/7.
Mobile has been overcomplicated somewhat, Attree says. “Most smart marketers are asking what people really really need when they are away from their computer.”
A big no no? Don’t cost your consumer money! MMS must die, says Attree.
Another mobile trend is when the $50 smartphone will be available. Angus Robinson believes it will come from the Chinese. “The Chinese will do for the mobile market what the Koreans did for the car market. They have a billion mobile customers already.”
The first clunky LTE phones will enter the market, opening up opportunity for innovation, such as micro-broadcasters and local content as 4G will allow the connectivity. It’s the longtail of video broadcasting, Robinson says. “What the web and blogging did for the longtail of web content, 4G speeds will do for web video. Imagine schools being able to broadcast rugby marches live, which people could watch from anywhere. It could open up local content globally over the internet.
“People want visual content, we need to all be better at creating visual content. Content production is a huge opportunity.”