Content First - Channel Last

Why It’s Time to Put Your Channel-First Mentality Behind You

Marketing is easy, right? It’s just telling people why your product or service is worth buying over everyone else’s. A little creativity, a little whiskey and a little luck and presto, your marketing campaign is complete. As paradisaical as that might sound, everyone knows that it simply isn’t reality. A little more goes into it in this data driven age.

Every marketing campaign begins with two basic questions - how do you capture your audience’s attention? and where is my audience most likely to engage? The answer will be that you’ll capture different audiences’ attention across different channels . Which complicates things just a bit.

As a result, omnichannel strategies are business as usual for most marketing teams. It used to be that a TV and radio ad might be enough, but now, without a sound digital strategy in place a company is simply not able to market to a broad enough audience. Even if a TV ad is run, if the audience is unable to research the product and/or company they’ll be unlikely to take the important step of purchasing.

If the questions are how and where then the answer is to put emphasis on your content and put the right message in front of the right person.

Putting the customer first

Putting the customer first means that content is tailored for customers’ needs ahead of a channel. In other words, it’s not about producing content to fit a specific channel and then attracting the audience to that platform. Rather, it’s about using audience insights, such as deep-dive analytics about their behavior and habits. By doing so, you can build a strategy which directly responds to how they want to interact with your brand—for example, if their decision-making process is more informed by aspirational messaging or real-life testimonials.

Going granular

Refocusing on a customer-guided mentality doesn’t mean oversimplifying. It is still a complex operational process with Big Data at its heart, as you need specific, granular insights that broad-brush demographics can’t provide. This information could be niche segment-level data on responses depending on time of day, divided by gender or age, or it might even be next-generation insights such as how weather influences digital consumer purchases.

Measuring return

Understanding exactly what your audience wants from your content will not only help deliver more targeted campaigns, but will also clarify how you measure return on investment. Deep insight will allow you to construct information-rich audience profiles and then allow you to measure whether the audience has responded the way you expected. This allows you to directly understand how your content impacts your audience—rather than how a channel is performing.

Rather than seeing how well you are attracting an audience to a channel, you can discover how you’re affecting their intrinsic decision-making behavior, which is a stronger indicator of long-term trends. Sudden growth in a channel doesn’t always imply strong retention, while seeing whether a usual pattern in purchase or conversion decisions is altered provides a more definite insight into the positive or negative impact your content makes.

Planning for success

By understanding what customers want from these various channels, you empower your team to deliver, in detail, the services that will make a difference to your bottom line. The key thing is to know what they want, plan for it, and measure your success at delivering what they want where they want it. Not at dragging them to your channel and pushing them through the funnel.

Done correctly, this will have a positive impact on brand consistency and user experience. That’s the power of a customer-first approach and the reason your channel-first mentality needs to change.

For more information about this new approach to marketing, download our whitepaper Why Marketers Need To Rethink.

Read More in the Whitepaper
Douglas Eldridge Douglas Eldridge

Doug Eldridge has worked in marketing and communications for fifteen years, with experience in marketing agencies and software vendors, he’s written for CMSWire, eContent Magazine and various industry blogs. Doug is based in Denver, Colorado, is an alumnus of censhare US and while he is not writing, he is a typical Coloradan, which means a lot of time in mountains and breweries.

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