Hello and welcome to Part 2 of our series 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. Earlier this week, we talked about super channels – including wearable tech and virtual-reality simulators – and how these mediums boast plenty of opportunity for marketers to explore. If you missed it, need not worry – check out Part 1 and you’ll be caught up in no time.
There are many ways and methods to interact with consumers these days. Executing the best strategy possible is contingent upon a multitude of internal and external considerations. So before 2016 rears its beautiful head, take a moment to become familiar with the trends and innovations that are destined to shape the New Year.
2. Creating Valuable Content Is Not Enough Anymore
We can all agree that the undisputed, byte-for-byte champion of digital marketing is content. Good, meaningful and unadulterated content. In any case, content marketing isn’t really a new concept – it’s more of an umbrella term for a series of practices and philosophies that are generally well-received by consumers in the present day. You cannot just tell someone to buy your product anymore. You must provide something of value that will actually move people to be organically interested in your offering.
Hey, wait a minute – this is common knowledge by now.
Sure, the past few years have seen a proliferation of content-driven marketing campaigns, as brands duke it out over the attention and curiosity of the consumer populace. But to be plainly honest, there’s almost too much content out there and it’s a tad overwhelming. So if the Internet is just swarming with all kinds of branded stuff, what does it take to, you know, stand out?
Whatever content you produce, it either has to be: genuinely useful or wildly entertaining.
In the domain of affiliate marketing, one of the fastest growing verticals is consumer-facing credit cards. These websites serve as digital brokers and have a rather straightforward purpose – to provide the most relevant information about the various credit card options available in the marketplace. In the past year or so, many of these publishers have begun implementing a tool that totally streamlines the consumer selection process. Its primary function is to help individuals find a credit card based on a few simple parameters like age, income and interests. For instance, if you’re a recent college grad who wants to bank some cash and work a little while before taking a trip around the world, the tool might suggest a student-travel option. Conversely, if you’re wealthy proprietor looking for an elite cash back credit card that’ll give you access to a vast network of luxury services, perhaps it would recommend a premium-rewards product.
Because of the tool’s genuine usefulness, online credit card brokers can’t really compete without it. Thus, the industry benchmark has been set.
Another genre of content that’s equally as effective is, unsurprisingly, entertainment. The greatest example of wildly entertaining content that I’ve ever experienced occurred way back in the early 2000s, when a third-person driving game called Final Drive was published across the Internet. Gameplay consisted of driving an off-road vehicle in an open, sandbox-style terrain – packed with hills, jumps and cliffs – making for a profoundly entertaining way to kill anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours. The creator? Oddly enough, it was produced by British rock supergroup, the Gorillaz.
In Final Drive, you play as the band’s fictional front-man, 2D, while their original song “19-2000” plays on an endless loop in the background. I can proudly admit that Final Drive was my first real exposure to any material by the Gorillaz, and since then, I became a fan and have been for the past decade. And if you’re unfamiliar with Final Drive, ask around – the majority of young people I’ve talked to can recall the game, with many admitting that it consumed far too much of their time.
Perhaps it was some kind of brand building fluke, but a Google search will provide evidence of the game’s lasting impact. Many old users have taken to forums and YouTube comments to inquire about the present availability of Final Drive. Others just like to discuss how ridiculously entertaining it was, including one Reddit user operating under the name Jessori who states:
“This game actually made me hooked on Gorillaz back when I was a kid. Man it was so awesome.”
Another user, macaronyboy, also chimes in with the kind of campaign-feedback that every content marketer dreams of:
“I remember finding the game as a kid. I loved the music, but I thought it was just a game until years later…”
Just a game? Oh how you were so wrong, macaronyboy. But as was I and that’s OK, because the Gorillaz absolutely hit the nail on the head with Final Drive. It was just marketing content – cleverly disguised as a wonderfully-addictive game – providing a stunning illustration of how to properly execute a content-driven campaign in the 21st century. Honestly, who knows how many additional albums, concert tickets and merchandise was sold as a result of Final Drive, but it’s safe to assume that the figure is impressive.
For the TL;DR’s out there – content is much more effective when it’s either genuinely useful or wildly entertaining. Yup – two ridiculously simple attributes that can take a campaign from being mentioned in a few Tweets all the way to the front-page of Reddit.
That concludes Part 2! Check back soon for Part 3, where we demonstrate why Ad-Blocker is not a threat, but a surety that marketing is going to get a lot more creative.