Tuesday 2¢: There is No King or Queen, Only Community

As a content professional, I have spent years watching and participating in the debate as to what the most important element of managing and developing a digital experience strategy is.

  1. chevron left iconTuesday 2¢: There is No King or Queen, Only Community
Ian TruscottAugust 21, 2018
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Marketing

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢. It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week it's the turn of digital experience strategy, as Ian Truscott enters the debate on what is truly key to delivering a great one.

As a content management professional, content marketer, digital experience professional, or whatever we call ourselves these days, I have spent years watching and participating in the debate as to what the most important business practice or element of managing and developing a digital experience strategy is.

Is it the content? The customer insight? The technology? The orchestration of the experience? The channel? Or name your own industry trend that someone is proclaiming to be the king or queen of the digital customer experience.

Some claim that Content Is King! I for one used to subscribe to this notion, that content is the lifeblood of the customer experience and without it there would be no experience. But it’s not really a ruler, it doesn’t really provide a strategy with direction. Instead, it’s really more of a foot soldier - if we think Alice in Wonderland, content acts like the playing cards doing the bidding of the Queen of Hearts.

So, who would be the Queen? Well, the latest installment that I’ve seen in this debate comes from Darren Guarnaccia over on CMSWire, who, in a very interesting perspective on marketing technology, discusses the role of context:

“..to better focus our content to specific customers and their needs. Many people like to call this personalization, but I prefer to focus on the outcome we need to seek, which is to increase the relevance of what we say and deliver it in a way customers are open to and will like.”

Darren then goes on to crown context as queen (and I am sure he’ll admit himself that he’s not the first to do this). It makes a lot of sense - any marketing or customer experience strategy should start with a day walking in the customers shoes in order to understand what they need and what would be useful to them on what channel and in which moment.

But, I recently had a long chat with our CEO about the publishing industry and I came away inspired that for us marketers, there is something else to consider - we are all now publishers and I think we can learn from this industry.

Let’s consider that there is a new member of the royal court who could also have a tilt at a term in the big chair – community.

Seth Godin calls them Tribes and in this TED Talk he discusses the idea that:

“Tribes are about leading and connecting people and ideas”

Which is the essence of what we do as marketers and publishers. We are community building, we want to find, identify, and connect a group of people who subscribe to our way of thinking, are interested in what interests us, believe our brand promise, have the problem which our products solve, who then read our magazines, newspapers, engage in our content marketing, and finally buy our products or trust our advertising (or whatever else we would like this community to do).

To build a community, however, or perhaps we should say to join this community, as these people are already there, we need to be relevant. And to be relevant we need to understand the community which we want to join, including where they hang out and… yes… their context.

So interruption marketing is not going to work. We can’t just walk into this party with a loud hailer and be included. If we think of the folks who are interested in us as a community, then we also need to think of how we can connect them with each other and not just with ourselves.

In fact, our content, whether we are content marketers or publishers, needs to provide this connection.

Adidas purchased the running app Runtastic. Why? Because they want to nurture and be accepted in the running community by being useful and relevant to them, because runners love running apps.

A few years ago, I worked with Transamerica, an insurance company which at the time sponsored Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons. The work we (the agency I was with at the time) did with them was focused on understanding tribes within the marathon running community, from the supporters to the athletes themselves, and their relationship with the sport. Why? Because they wanted to provide useful and relevant content which connected their brand and their products with no obvious sporting connection, to the community and the event.

We at censhare sponsor Rockstar CMO. Why? Because we want to help connect a particular tribe of disruptive marketers with each other by being useful and relevant.

So, all hail the community! Who’s with me?

Ian Truscott
Ian Truscott has a passion for creating ART (Awareness, Revenue and Trust) for B2B software companies as a marketing leader and is a censhare alumni. Wanting to connect a like minded community and share something useful, he founded Rockstar CMO, a monthly digital publication, and is currently helping B2B companies create ART at appropingo.

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