December 12, 2019
Let’s be honest, we sometimes overcomplicate marketing activities. Planners can be accused of planning a plan to create a plan. Creatives are claimed to create complex artwork for the sake or showcasing their talent. Strategists are believed to strategise the best approach for strategic construction of a tweet in line with the overarching strategic content strategy.
Ok, I’m being melodramatic and of course no one takes actions to these extremes, but you get the sentiment. In marketing, and particularly with the team’s charged with social media content creation, we can, at times, become overly focused on one’s talents. Reality being our individual talent comes to the fore if shepherded by those with other individual talents too.
What do I mean by this? Well, let’s explore Content Goals versus Channel Strategy for a moment. And for this, let’s home in on a seasonal content classic, the digital Advent calendar.
Over the coming days and weeks, we will all increasingly see a variety of social media Advent calendars appearing in our feeds. For clarity, I’m not saying these are wrong, but I do challenge the Content Goal that these are aligned too. An Advent calendar is a seasonal classic. Nearly all of us grew up embracing the analogue version and most of our children experience the same today. In some European countries the Advert calendar has greater meaning and impact. For example, I know countries like Germany create Advent calendars for loved ones, containing personalised gifts. What a lovely sentiment and gift. The thought of waking each morning to open and receive a uniquely thought-through gift is heart-warming.
If the goal is to impart happiness, then an Advent calendar is a terrific concept. If the Advent calendar is being used to trigger a subsequent action from me, then it’s a minor form of bribery. Ok, I’m being melodramatic again – stick with me for a moment.
If our Content Goal in December is to drive brand awareness, or customer acquisition, then an Advent calendar is not tactically astute. They won’t standout in feed from the social noise and they’re unlikely to be unique enough to foster widespread admiration. If your Content Goal is to share some seasonal happiness, in the same vain as sending a Christmas card then an Advent calendar is perfect.
My point being, we need to understand the Content Goals for the entire year; understanding quarterly and monthly focuses and requirements. Of course, the Content Goals ladder to the over-arching marketing strategy that will likely map acquisition and retention requirements.
Now, returning to my original point. Imagine charging creatives with producing a digital Advent calendar without giving them the guidance of ‘a simple tactical deployment to surprise and delight our audience’. Creatives would adore producing seasonal artwork with 24 iterations as there are 24 days on an Advent calendar. They would explore evoking images and messages that look wonderful, but essentially utilise far too much design time for a tactical deployment that’s unlikely to delivery acquisition or retention results.
By putting a specific talent in the room at briefing, someone who understand the strategic element behind the Advent calendar requirement; and by having someone in the room with a planning mind and the gift for mapping resource bookings. All of a sudden the creatives understand the tactical requirement, with the correct goal, and the right production constraints.
Win. Win. You get the required asset without burning excessive time.
However, if the original Content Goal is customer acquisition, then you need to revisit the content conversation. An Advent calendar won’t deliver that. You wouldn’t be enticing your audience to discover more about your proposition or service. You won’t activate audiences to trigger a purchase. Essentially, you would be clogging your feed with the wrong content to deliver a specific goal.
Your strategy defines what you need to do as a business and how you’re going to get there. It will encompass strategic focuses and deliverables that collectively deliver ‘what good looks like’ for the business. The Channel Strategy will define what Content Types sit where and define their role within the marketing mix. The Content Goal explores the specific goals that build towards successful delivery of your strategy; Awareness, Acquisition, Retention, Recruitment, CSR etc.
The point being. You can’t possibly ideate on a piece of content unless you understand WHY you’re producing the content. What roles does it need to perform? Sadly, too many businesses use the lovely and heart-warming Advent calendars for the wrong reason. When living the correct Content Goal, they have a place. If you’re thinking they will deliver brand awareness or customer acquisition then sadly you will be disappointed.
Now think about all the other content you’ve produced this year. Did you understand the right Content Goal for its production? How much of that time and output has been innocently misplaced? It makes you think, doesn’t it?
Unlock your creative talent, and improve your efficiency, impact, and ultimately, audience engagement by have the right strategic questions answered. It really does all start with WHY (are we doing this?).