Why challenger brands can handle content marketing better

Yes, creating content requires you to set aside a certain amount of your already-stretched marketing budget and yes, it is a long term investment.

So as a small challenger brand in your category, with a limited amount of cash in your hands, should you chuck the idea of investing into content?

No, said Gaurav Gupta, marketing director ASEAN of Kimberly-Clark who was speaking at A+M’s inaugural one day Content 360 forum held at Intercontinental KL. If you are a small challenger brand, the potential of creating great content which hits a nerve with your consumers is higher for you.

“Small brands might have a tighter budget, but they have challenger mind sets and a niche audience. This allows them to tell even more sharply defined stories unlike the big boys,” Gupta said.

While the likes of P&G and Starbucks might have several successful case studies when it comes to content marketing, they also have to be extremely careful in the kind of content they create. These brands have massive stakeholders' and audience's expectations to meet which often ties their hands when it comes to creativity.

They can't afford to alienate one group of consumers from others.

“At the end of the day they might be spending huge marketing dollars behind not so great brand stories,” said Gupta. He advises that brands, big or small, should use a story telling approach to deliver their core messages. Not only does it open up doors to the audience’s hearts and minds but it also drives more memorability than a simple ad campaign. This memorability ultimately aids in driving action.

“Stories humanise marketing messages. The stories are sugar coating your message and if they are great enough, it will motivate your audience. Story telling is the best way to deliver brand messages in the new world,” said Gupta.

Sarvin Rajoo, regional sales manager for Oracle Corporation Malaysia, empathised with the difficult spot CMOs often find themselves in, given CEOs today are always demanding for measurable ROIs. However, content marketing is not an arena where the returns will be immediate, he reminded. It is a long term investment.

Moreover, with the variety of customer interactions happening every second across digital channels, marketing teams often can’t keep up, said Rajoo. As a result, content often takes the backseat. Rajoo advises marketing teams invest in the right tools to carve out their content strategies, suited for their target audience.

“A major part of defining a content marketing strategy involves using customer data to target and personalise each content asset. Your content marketing strategy will be fundamentally flawed if you don’t know the audience for your content and the types of content they want to consume,” Rajoo said . Only after determining the personas can the marketer truly know what interests and motivates the audience.

A content checklist

According to statistics from King Content and iSentia, consumers are bombarded with 2,000-5,000 marketing messages per day. As a small company if you are thinking of placing a chunk of your content on traditional mediums such as TV, it is worth noting that TV ads are only seen by 20% of marketers’ targeted audience and 86% of all people skip television ads.

“There’s no fool-proof template, no silver bullet when it comes to content marketing.But there is a linear path you can follow to increase your chances of content marketing success. Nearly 80% of marketers who rate their content marketing as ‘very effective’ have a documented content strategy,” said Chad C. Laws, marketing and communications manager of Isentia SEA.

He outlines a quick checklist for marketers making a move into content.

  • Focus on feeling: The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
  • Become a YOUtility: The difference between helping and selling is just two letters.
  • Be objective: Don't create content for its own sake. The goal is action, not eyeballs.
  • Know your audience: And we mean really know them. Set the bar high - you're competing with their favourite content websites, brands, their friends and family.
  • Go viral: Is every piece of content findable, readable, actionable & shareable?
  • Focus on how to be social, not how to do social.