EVG CEO Brice Bay’s keynote address at Communication Camp, sponsored by Creighton University and Cole Information and hosted by the Omaha chapter of International Association of Business Communicators, was a big hit with attendees. Speaking about building the ultimate content marketing machine, Bay offered a quick history lesson on how marketing has changed in the 30 years of the Internet’s existence, as well as a comprehensive look forward.
The key shift in today’s marketing strategies is that consumers have stopped listening to advertising messages—consumers are now the ones driving the conversations, and businesses must engage with them in order to stay successful.
Win Your ZMOT
Bay points to the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) model as a sound guide for digital marketers; ZMOT is the most crucial moment in the purchasing-process chain. It’s when potential customers begin to search for valuable information to guide their purchase decisions. For companies, then, the objective becomes winning ZMOT, and that means thinking like a publisher and building the brand across online channels.
But thinking and building are two different actions.
Ultimate Content Marketing Machine
To accomplish the above objective, companies must dedicate themselves to crafting the ultimate content marketing machine. The four key elements are:
- Resources: people and expertise
- Process: systems and flow
- Touch points: localization
- Timing: calendars and analytics
It may seem like the world revolves around digital concerns, but we need to remember that there is a person behind every computer. Smart companies learn what customers are searching for, analyze in-house vs. outside resources, and hire the skilled people required to get the job done. Once the Who question is answered, they can then address the question of How.
From a comprehensive style guide to an effective content management system, attention must be paid to how the new content will flow through the system from creation to publication to eventual retirement. Content management systems do just what their name implies: they organize systems, processes and content so that a project, large or small, runs efficiently and error free.
Touch points include each channel that distributes new content, working together in harmony to support the target goals. Bay notes that it’s not just a matter of writing one article and putting it up on Facebook, LinkedIn and a company blog. Each platform needs to be considered and utilized to take advantage of its inherent strengths. A comprehensive digital strategy uses an editorial calendar to track writing and publication; such a strategy ensures that distribution is not done helter-skelter.
Above all, attendees were reminded that the Internet has brought the world to our doorsteps. Localization is the key, and that means creating and disseminating valuable content that speaks to locals in their voice and language.
Finally, the issue of timing was discussed. Calendars have been around for more than 20,000 years, and the Internet needs them as much as early man. Websites are not a one-and-done creation. And with Google upping the ante for fresh content, staying current is critical. How to judge when something needs replacing that is not time sensitive? Analytics track page performance so that effective strategies can be repeated and enhanced, and failing pages can be replaced.
Gravity of Success
Above all, Bay says, be aware of the gravity of success, a key concept from Peter Sheahan, CEO and founder of ChangeLabs,TM a recognized innovation thought leader. One of the key lessons the Internet has taught us is that companies need to be nimble and not afraid to try, experiment and change. Don’t just stick with something that works because it works. What works today, may not work tomorrow. The payoff, Bay noted with case studies of two recent EnVeritas Group projects as examples, can be staggering.
Great content is an asset that CAN be measured, valued and made to earn its keep. Smart companies are adapting to the new model of marketing, meeting their customers at the Zero Moment of Truth, and winning consumers’ dollars and trust.
CEO, EnVeritas Group