Lessons From CES

CES, the world’s biggest consumer electronics show has wrapped up and the industry is abuzz with the latest trends and technologies.

The result for APAC marketers? According to U.S. trend reports Connectivity and Tech Innovation will rule this year, meaning you will have more opportunities to speak to your consumers than ever before, in an increasingly connected world. In the near future, the number of channels available to reach your audience will multiply. You will be able to deliver your message through their fridge, their smart TV, their watch, even their fork! It’s a marketer’s dream.

Yet just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

The best way for your brand to be effective in 2013 (and beyond) is to stop for a minute. Stop and think. Our first and most important job is to decide how we can deliver timely, relevant, and engaging content.

What’s Happening Now

Digital marketing is still an evolving discipline in APAC, trailing other regions like North America and Europe. We have real challenges that include a lack of talent and limited budgets. Most marketers remain traditional in their mindset, but they’ve begun to recognize digital marketing is important – according to the Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard 2012 by Adobe and the CMO Council, 93 percent of marketers believe it can create a competitive advantage for their company. Shockingly though, only 6 percent believe they have the proficiency level to execute digital effectively.

That’s a big opportunity for agencies to step in and fill this role. But we can’t do it alone. As a former client I can attest to the fact that as marketers we must learn to shift our view of the agency relationship from a production or tactical mindset to a more strategic one.

What Will Happen in the Future

I believe APAC marketers need to start thinking more like journalists, and brands need to operate more like publishers. Coca-Cola is one brand that has already started to make this transition by deploying a solid content marketing strategy (Content 2020), and trading its corporate website for an online lifestyle magazine. They are providing content that talks loudly about Coke’s brand values, but quietly about Coke. And their customers are engaging.

This is a timely example because in 2013 we will see a big focus on native advertising (content marketing), as APAC marketers realize that it’s not just about channels and platforms, but more about the strategic approach and the stories we are telling.

Digital channels are increasingly important. However, the reality is this: whether customers are part of the “mobile generation” or “social media mavens,” unless brands understand the value of each channel to each consumer and how to engage with them, these efforts will fall flat.

Making this change will be difficult in APAC because it requires a fairly big shift in our mindset. However, agency partners who are strong in digital strategy and consultation can be the perfect partner for brands who know how important the change is but need a guide to help them through.

Here are four keys for brands to think of when making the shift to content marketing:

  1. Learn to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and tone down the “marketing” speak. Be open, transparent, and deliver content that is of value to your target audience. Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about them.
  2. To become a publisher, building partnerships and a strong content curation strategy will be key to deploying the right amount of content at a reasonable cost. These are equally important elements in your journey to delivering effective content.
  3. Understand that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the way. Consumers are individuals, so get to know them and their interest graphs. Intimately knowing your varying customers and creating content that is relevant to them is the key to success.
  4. Determine how to best monitor conversations and deliver content in real time, to ensure your brand gets into the conversation, when it’s timely and relevant to your target audience. Solutions like BrandLIVE can be a practical solution.

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