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Seven CEO Sean King: Why the downturn will be good for content marketers…

Seven CEO Sean King: Why the downturn will be good for content marketers…

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The dark clouds looming over the UK and global economy could turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to those of us working in the burgeoning content marketing sector.
Pressures on budgets mean that businesses will more than ever be looking for innovative, cost-effective ways to reach and engage with their customers (new and existing) and this is great news for us.

They will also be looking to put a value on all their marketing activity.

I predict that 2012 will be the year that marketers actually start shifting spend away from traditional paid media and into owned media assets. It’s been talked about for some time now in the marketing press but given the inevitable requirement for brands to invest in their own media channels and assets (web, mobile, email, video and print) to deliver deeper engagement and one profitable conversation with their customers, the issue now is not if but how much should they divert from ATL.

Advertising and media agencies now increasingly recognise that their clients’ requirements are changing and they need to recommend investment in owned media – their concern is how can they protect their business at the same time. It must send a chill down the spines of ad agencies around the world when they read that the likes of Coca- Cola can no longer rely on the 30-second ad spot and instead need to turn to dynamic content creation and storytelling.

TThe big thinkers at McKinsey’s are all over this trend, as illustrated by a spot-on observation in the esteemed Harvard Business Review Blog (no less) exploring the different ways that brands are using content in the US: “…retailers, banks, airlines…are rapidly recognizing the importance of content to their brands. They are building content supply chains that are guided by insights into customer behavior and replenished by customer-generated content. It’s a new publishing model, and one that retailers may be heading towards even faster than traditional media companies. So, the time seems right to ask: ‘What is your publishing strategy and who is your brand’s Editor-in-Chief?’.”

That’s that then. It’s no longer a question of whether brands need to do this, but what they are now asking themselves is ‘How do we make this happen?’

As all agency disciplines scramble to diversify into content creation themselves there is going to be a massive opportunity for agencies like Seven, who have invested significantly in talent and capability in content creation, to grow significant share in this market.

The new game in town will be to grab a slice of the entire marketing budget and I predict the winners are going to be those who can best articulate the value of content to a business…but that can wait until the next blog….it’s going to be fascinating to see how it plays out.