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APAC Marketers Move Beyond The Hard Sell

APAC marketers realize that traditional, outbound advertising is no longer enough to attract and retain consumers. Or, more the point: “Customers are sick of the hard sell,” said Aimee Engelmann, chief executive and founder of Australian outsourcing specialist Beepo. 

Marketers also understand that with technology at their disposal and time at a premium, consumers are just a quick click away from the information they need at any step of the purchasing journey. 

“To reach them, you need to provide engaging and valuable information when that moment of inspiration strikes. ... You need to be there with detailed answers to their specific questions if you want to be an option they consider,” Engelmann told CMO.com.

So it stands to reason that content marketing is very much on the rise in the APAC, according to Adobe’s “2019 Digital Trends” report, which surveyed more than 4,100 marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative, and IT professionals across the region. In fact, 51% of respondents identified “creating standout content and campaigns” as their highest priority for the year ahead. (CMO.com is owned by Adobe.)

But designing content that appeals to your customers isn’t just about the big campaign themes. It’s also about the little details that can delight and engage your customers.

Take it from Robbie Brammall, a marketer well-accustomed to finding new, boundary-pushing ways to engage audiences.

“Brands are so far down the totem pole that we’re lucky [people] notice us at all,” said the director of marketing and communications at Tasmania’s famously eccentric Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), during a CMO Show podcast. “When the moons align and the consumer actually is able to interact with your brand, you better make it worth their while.” 

Develop A Solid Strategy
The trend towards more content can be seen in both B2B and B2C companies, according to the Adobe report. For both types of businesses, “creating compelling content for digital experiences” was cited among their top three most exciting opportunities in 2019.

Compelling content provides relevance and value. Content that is perceived as simply an advertorial for a particular product or service lacks the authenticity consumers expect. As a result, it will do little to advance a long-term branding strategy or build a customer base, experts say.

One B2C brand that understands that is the South Australian Tourism Commission. Its recent tourism campaign, Rewards Wonder,” was designed to showcase unique places to visit in South Australia and increase the number of visitors to the state.

The campaign invited consumers to “Hit the road with us on an epic five-day journey across South Australia.” Using unbranded images of the South Australian landscapes and attractions that appeared in public displays and online, the campaign succeeded in generating consumer curiosity and interest, directing audiences to a website where they could tune in to five days of continuous live stream footage of the state’s features.

Within a few months of it October launch, the campaign yielded more than 3 million organic and paid impressions through Facebook, and 43,187 leads to South Australian tourism operators in October, a 96% increase from the previous year.

B2Bs Need To Build Content, Too
On the B2B side, brands are also realizing positive results from their content marketing, as business decision makers hunt relevant and useful content to inform their purchasing decisions.

For example, the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) has embraced content as an integral part of its customer engagement and brand enhancement efforts. AMI produces native and branded content, such as marketing blogs and free webinars, as a way to share industry expertise and thought leadership with members and potential members. Exclusive gated content provides value to subscribers, while quality, free content encourages conversion to membership.

“Ensure the activities are a meaningful part of the brand’s integrated marketing mix,” said Lee Tonito, former AMI chief executive, in an interview with CMO.com. “Most important is that native content and branded content practices can be optimised to address the different parts of the engagement journey.”

CMO.com, Adobe’s thought leadership site, functions in the way Tonito described. The site’s mission is to provide meaningful and informative strategic content aimed at business decision makers who are on the hook for customer experience (CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, heads of commerce, and more) worldwide. There’s never a hard sell or promotion of Adobe’s products or services in any of the articles, podcasts, videos, etc., featured on the site, though you will find the company’s leadership team providing their expertise on trends alongside other industry thought leaders. In addition to the website, content is shared via social media (with nearly 90,000 followers on Twitter, for example) and weekly newsletters. 

“Adobe, for the past several years, has been a consistent force when it comes to providing genuinely valuable thought leadership,” wrote Paul Greenberg, an analyst and ZDNet contributor, in a detailed write-up about “CRM Watchlist Winners.” “Their CMO.com site has been the center for high quality content. ... That level of thought leadership and attention to engaging design makes this an industry ‘Go-To’ site—one that enhances Adobe’s reputation as not just a leader in the market but a trusted adviser to their customers—present and future.” 

Meanwhile, digital publisher Mumbrella also offers an example of a brand covering the whole engagement journey for those in media, marketing, and entertainment. Its public-facing, subscription-free platform and daily newsletters serve as a top-of-the-funnel gateway to Mumbrella’s other business arms, such as awards nights, seminars, and its subscription-based media and marketing data site, The Source.

This unpaid-to-paid content journey enables marketers to move from understanding their industry all the way to uncovering fresh business leads and sales opportunities.

Maintain Focus On Your Audience
All told, ensuring content meets the needs of potential and existing customers should be marketers’ primary goal, rather than just pushing particular products or services. The more relevant the content, the more likely an audience will be willing to embark on a journey with a brand—over and over again.

Learn how South Australian Tourism Commission creates content that’s compelling, relevant, and valuable at Sydney Symposium 2019 (27-28 June). Click here for more details.

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