October 28, 2016
Nine keys to creating a content stream in an "always on" world
By: Mary Firth

What’s the biggest challenge facing your marketing organisation? For many clients the answer is simple: volume. Our new age of always-on marketing has seen the scale of content brands need to produce reach unprecedented demand.

Marketers now need to be able to craft content quicker than ever before, tailor messages to an audience of one, present their brand with an ultra-local lens, and do this effectively over an increasingly diverse channel mix.

Of course, this would be a nice problem to have if marketing budgets had increased at the same rate, but this hasn’t happened. If you’re a CMO today, you’re being asked to do a great deal more with a relentlessly static budget.

Faced with the problem that the traditional agency model is struggling to keep with the pace, scale, and complexity of the new marketing mandate, many CMOs are focusing on new content-driven approaches. The traditional agency model simply has too long a lead time from concept to content, and costs quickly stack up even if there’s a short-cut.

CMOs are now demanding new models that de-couple the above-the-line creative concepting from on-going, always-on, ultra-personalised production and optimisation capabilities. They are finding new ways to generate real-time content from the crowd, allowing their brand advocates to take ideas and build upon them. You can’t be everywhere all the time, but you can be more lean and agile—growing your brand with the most relevant content in the most fertile spaces.

Here are some considerations for putting together an agenda for a winning content capability.

De-couple concept and content

Identify when you need to develop new concepts, creative ideas, and campaign themes, and when you simply need to execute on these concepts at scale. Ensure you have the right partners delivering at the right points in this value chain.

Create a factory for fine-tuning

Modern marketing is about constant evolution of your content based on what you are learning from your data and the reaction of the consumer. Establish capabilities that allow you to continually refine and test new content as you learn more.

Focus on micro-segmentation

A focus on the long tail, for example, makes sense in today’s fragmented media landscape, but that means you need to change the way you target audiences. Micro-segmentation allows you to target only those customers you know will buy your products. Social media is the ideal platform for this, as it enables highly targeted and personalised marketing campaigns aimed at known individuals. To be successful, you need to build up intelligence on these customers, understand their behaviour, and provide them with the content and experiences they want.

Upskill and retrain

At the same time, upskill and retrain your existing staff. Hiring new employees with the right skills can help meet the increasing customer demand for rich content that includes everything from video to games.

Respond in real time

In a 24x7 world, the ability to respond in real time can be the difference between a viral winner and dead silence. Create the ability to listen and react to events in real time and empower your teams to seize the opportunity whenever and however it emerges.

Co-opt the crowd

With a constant thirst for new content and perspectives, understand how you can build content and campaign themes that draw the crowd into your activities. Encourage them to create content that amplifies your brand and makes it relevant to their peers.


Increasingly, success will be achieved through innovative partnerships with channel owners, content producers, and influencers. Explore bold partnership opportunities and use the power of real-time content to make your message relevant through your partners.

Learn from the leaders

Brands such as BMW are de-coupling their initial creative output from the task of rolling this out across over 100 markets. This includes management of their individual market websites, and also the creation and curation of content for social channels such as Facebook. This is increasing responsiveness and the ability to localise whilst reducing costs. PepsiCo, meanwhile, has recently announced the opening of a state-of-the-art content studio in New York. The unit will produce everything from TV series, films, reality shows, music recordings, and digital content.

Action points

While not every marketer has the scale and budgets of the leaders, CMOs will get left behind if they don’t keep pace with the ever-faster pace of the business world.

Find ways to build content capability that is fit for a global, 24x7, multi-channel, highly segmented world of marketing. Look at how you create a content production line that can operate at the pace of the consumer. Understand what is high-value creative output, and what are operational tasks that can be de-coupled for pace and productivity. The result will be that you can better manage your increased workload and make the most of your budget. Read more at:

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