Content marketing is like a fixed asset

by PM, PART OF THE C3 NETWORK

November 2016

According to Primož Inkret, partner and director of content marketing agency PM, ignorance towards content marketing can almost be “life-threatening” for a business. Can we really survive without a strategy for content marketing?

With a multitude of different providers of marketing and communication solutions, concepts and tools, how can brands find an agency that can really help them to achieve effective communication with their clients and other stakeholders?

Primož Inkret: Yes, it can be very difficult. I think the most important thing is to choose a partner, an agency, a team that has a proven track record in the strategic understanding of communication and content marketing in particular - because without this element, I cannot imagine them having a  future. In our experience a successful partnership means a win-win situation; it is beneficial for the client as well as for the agency. Today results cannot be achieved with just a single campaign. I believe in a comprehensive, continuous and systematic approach to communication, which covers a whole spectrum of activities, all the way through to the sale or, ideally, until the transfer of information and contacts to the section which deals with the end point of the business.

Does the rapid development of tools and technologies that support information and communication processes decrease the value of content marketing as a concept?

Primož Inkret: All the data shows the opposite: the number of agencies is increasing, content marketing is discussed more and more at important C-level meetings and at a growing number of professional conferences. Start-ups that develop solutions for content marketing and the technologies behind it are springing up like mushrooms after the rain, there are more and more conference participants and finally, all agencies dealing with communications, ranging from digital, PR, advertising and other types of agencies, are talking about content marketing more frequently. Each of them is coming to an area which can only be effective with great content mixed with different experiences and knowledge. The integrated communications type of agency with a focus on content marketing, which covers the entire field of communications is at its infant phase worldwide, but I can say that we’ve already managed to reach an extremely high degree of merging integrated communication activities, with a clear focus on content.

Is content marketing only one of the options that brands can use in marketing communications, or is it an inevitable necessity?

Primož Inkret: It's one of the possibilities, but for some it’s the only option. I think it is extremely dangerous for a brand not to pay enough attention to a strategy and the concept of content marketing. Its key advantage is that often content marketing activities are (fixed) assets (financiers will understand this), with a permanent value, they don’t lapse. It’s similar to planning a garden party, or making the whole plan for a garden that will host many more parties. In the first case, it is a unique moment, but in the second it is a project that will last and be repeated several times. Along with the effectiveness of this method of communication, this is a crucial, sometimes ignored, value that can only be understood by true strategic managers.

It is extremely dangerous for a brand not to pay enough attention to a strategy and the concept of content marketing.

Digitalization is a global megatrend, but does this mean that brands will get rid of personal events, print magazines, and white papers, etc ?

Primož Inkret: Personal contact is and will continue to be the most effective method of communication. However, it is also the most expensive, so the challenge is to choose an appropriate combination of media or communication tools. Events are currently still the only communication tool or medium that allows us to communicate with all five senses. If we know how to properly exploit this, we can leave an impression on the visitor with lasting effects. The truth is that the memory of an interesting experience can last for decades. Print is similar. High quality print has, to use the digital terminology, an average expected "open rate" of 90%, which puts it at the top of effective media.

What has changed and what is an ideal competence map of a content marketing strategist today?

Primož Inkret: I think things have changed a lot. A content marketing strategist must be some kind of  superhero who has experience in content production and editing, digital media, print media, all possible ways of distribution and advertising, in-depth understanding of all  new media and networks; he or she is someone who knows how to  communicate perfectly with clients and diverse public, understands the business logic of companies and all industries, is an expert on "big data" and has the ability to understand  analytics, and on top of everything can also be an event manager with sales experience.

In reality, this can only be done by a team led by an experienced manager, who has been a part of at least some of these communication challenges, and has structured strategic thinking. The complexity of the activities is now so extreme, that I see and believe that it is only possible to compete and put together effective media systems  with the help of highly talented individuals who together constitute one magical whole.