A really interesting article from last year which delves into two of the top professional services firms moving into content marketing and their reasoning behind it - they already consulted on strategic and financial grounds, so why not add another string to their bow?
What I find particularly interesting is that the move was predicated not by a desire to follow the general trends in marketing, but rather to better serve their customers and clients and to respond to the evolving digital economy. This is, of course, the hallmark of a successful business; to serve their customers' needs better than anyone else.
Where brand-driven organisations like Accenture or Deloitte used to move from campaign to campaign, running targeted, high-profile events/initiatives to emphasise one specific aspect of their offering, now they need to create a steady stream of relevant content which the consumer can access at any given time. This comes in the form of a steady drumbeat or pulse of content which gives rhythm, structure and consistency to their ongoing marketing symphony.
Accordingly, the power now lies with the digital consumer to access your brand and not with the organisation to control the interactions. As Alan Schulman (National Director of Content Marketing for Deloitte Digital) says a little later in the same article, “You can’t just go from campaign to campaign anymore. We’re now living in a time when consumers can turn your brand on or off 24/7, 365 days, so you better have stuff out there.”
This realisation for these large organisations is that to build, sustain and retain market share (as well as brand awareness) they need to utilise new forms of content to reflect the changing business & digital landscape. That is to say, these firms usually operated on a campaign basis - they would run an event, invite all of the relevant people and create a few shiny brochures and a handful of leaflets to give out in advance. However, the digital economy we live in demands that not only do these organisations have an 'always-on' mentality, where the consumer can access what they want, when they want, but that this content should actively and consistently demonstrate that Accenture or Deloitte are who they say they are; that they are experts. Indeed, Donna Tuths (Accenture Interactive’s MD and Global Head of Digital Content) said “In a virtual world, you are your content..." By the same token, if your content is not up-to-date, relevant and engaging, then what does that say about you as an individual and you as a brand?
Once both organisations are in the habit of producing regular content, the next step will be to have the frontline experts (the people who interact with the customers everyday) to produce regular content which is relevant and which accurately reflects their individual subject matter expertise. This is just another way these large organisations can leverage their breadth and depth of expertise, further increasing their competitive advantage and driving growth for the business.
Accenture was being asked to “step into the creative space,” said Donna Tuths, Accenture Interactive’s managing director and global head of digital content. The thinking was that if Accenture already handled companies’ business strategy and intelligence, technology, infrastructure, and cloud computing needs, why not take on digital marketing, mobility, and analytics, too? “In a virtual world, you are your content. … Consumers have begun to understand that, while many companies are just beginning to.”