Create Content That RocksWe are all drowning in a sea of information. And this is causing battle for customer attention between brands, agencies and publishers.

Our kids will see every memory documented and stored in the cloud. And like us, they will look back at the devices of today, the gadgets from their youth, and they will laugh. Reaching them will be an epic battle for the major brands.

So how do brands, agencies and publishers reach the audiences of today and tomorrow?

In this battle, I think the victors will be the ones that can work together to create helpful and valuable content, content that engages, content that entertains, content that truly rocks…

Last week I had the pleasure of attending one of the most interesting conferences in the world. The event was called Stream. Hosted by WPP, one of the largest agency brands in the world, it was called one of best conferences in the world by Wired Magazine. Attendance was free but invitation-only and so it was my great honor to participate.

At the event, I presented an Ignite presentation. Ignite is a concept born from internet and technology thought leader Tim O’Reilly, owner of O’Reilly Media and one of the early internet pioneers in the areas of free software and open source technology.

In the “Stream” version of an ignite presentation, you get 15 slides that automatically advance after 15 seconds. So 4 minutes of sheer terror on stage in front of hundreds of people. The basic points from mine:

  • It didn’t used to be so hard. When I was a kid brands had simple choices. TV, radio, newspaper, magazine. With the right agency and a big enough budget ANY brand could get their message to their audience.
  • When I graduated from college, a technology company called Mosaic changed their name to Netscape and opened the world to the internet. Within a few years, thousands of connected  computers became millions and now billions.
  • Today, we are all connected and it’s not the Internet but content and accessibility that is driving the world. There are more cell phones than toilets in the world and most people have to really think about which one is more important!
  • Bombarded with over 5,000 messages a day, consumers are felling like the Spartan hero-King Leonidas at Thermopylae facing a battle they cannot win.
  • Traditional publishers are struggling as well. newspaper ad revenues in America have declined by 300% over the last 4 years to 1950s levels. This rapid change is affecting all media and we are struggling to respond fast enough.
  • Marketing is broken as we throw more and more at them, response rates continue to decline. 2/3 of the US population is on the “Do Not Call” list.  86% of U.S. consumers skip television ads, 99.9% of banner ads and 99% of emails don’t  click.
  • In fact, one US website declared earlier this year, you are more likely to win the lottery, produce twins or die in a plane crash than to have someone respond to your banner ad.
  • So we’ve given up. We are bored to death of marketing messages and have accepted our role as great content filters – picking through the trash of marketing messages and looking for something valuable, something that can help us, or even something that can entertain us.
  • It’s not about the volume of the messages. It’s about the quality of the content. In this transparent world, consumer can see right through brands thinly-veiled attempts at selling what they’ve got and only caring about themselves.
  • Peter Drucker defined the aim of marketing as “knowing the customer so well that your product or service sells itself.” With a company like Apple, the product,  the content and the experience become the marketing!
  • Successful brands, agencies and publishers are reaching out and putting their customers first. They are not just seeking to make a connection to their customers, they are seeking to warm their hearts and inspire their minds.
  • I think we should follow the example of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. He doesn’t just write the songs, or sing the lyrics, or play the guitar, or bang the drums. He does all these things. He creates great content. He connects with his audience. And he rocks it out!
  • So in summary, the world has changed and most marketers, brands and agencies are struggling to keep up. The vast majority of marketing efforts are highly ineffective. It’s time to define the new marketing civilization. It’s time to create customer-focused content that connects, engages, entertains and maybe even rocks!
Here are the slides on slideshare.  Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow the conversation on Twitter,  LinkedInFacebook or Google+.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

10 Comments

  1. Vance Faulks said…

    Sounds like a fun event! Really appreciate the breakdown which is a great reminder of how much change we’ve experienced already. Question is if the marketers of today can make the shift to quality customer-focused content vs. just pushing more assets? I know you believe we can. Thanks, Michael, for your leadership here. Don’t give up on us!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Vance. I just published the top “tweetable moments” from the event if you want to check it out. I think marketers will be forced to make this shift. Many are resisting but the change will happen!

  2. Bhaskar Sarma said…

    Michael, that sounds really fun- the format of the event. No ra- ra or fluff and hard insights delivered without any hamming and hawing. How did you prepare for this?

    Your points are all well thought out. I think the challenge in the years ahead for marketers would be able to master new mediums and technologies like AR and NFC but also ensure that they don’t miss out on the old tried and tested mediums like good text or video.

    It’s scary, exhilarating and exciting times ahead

  3. Nick Stamoulis said…

    This is why inbound marketing is where it’s at. People don’t pay attention to promotions and ads until they are in the market for something, which is when they will do some research. Creating informational content that establishes your business and brand as a thought leader is the best kind of ad for your business.

  4. Stacy Ries said…

    Great insights about how marketing is changing. One question, are there any details on how Apple or other successful B2B companies address a business user audience? Creating content for consumers seems to be more straightforward than creating content for business users, where the value of the product is to the company first and the individual second.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Stacy, I think there are a ton of examples out there including AMEX OPen Forum and Adobe CMO.com and now, I am happy to say we have Business Innovation from SAP. For me the bottom line is simple: create content that answers the questions our customers are asking, in the priority order that they determine, not us. You can see that on the examples I mentioned.

      I hope that helps.

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