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A CMO’s Guide to Content Creation & Advertising

Left brain vs. right brain
Marketing is a two-sided field, and in the era of “show me the money,” provable ROI, one side appears to be getting buried. What separates a good advertiser from a great one is acting on science; namely: data, analytics, method testing, market research. However, the humanities angle (how do people feel about your product? what is the personality of your brand? what is your company doing to help the world?) is every bit as important. What CMOs and performance marketers need to remember is that every strong ad campaign has a skeleton of targeting and strategy, covered by a softer skin; let’s call it Humanization. As Universal McCann’s global chief content officer Scott Donaton put it at last year’s 4As Conference, “An algorithm cannot replace creativity.”

Other overlooked — but key — aspects of advertising:

Differentiation

  • He who lacks a unique selling proposition is lost. What value does your brand offer that competitors can’t replicate? Consideration isn’t enough to get you clicks; you need a convincing argument for why someone should buy, download, visit or share your content, and that argument needs to be clear in all of your communications, internal and external.
  • While diversity is a laudable goal for Fortune 500 companies, it doesn’t just apply to hiring for executive positions.  Assembling a diverse marketing team ensures that your ads not only speak to, but connect with, multiple audiences.

Which leads us to…

Globalization

  • Emerging markets like Asia Pacific and Latin America are the hot new target for eCommerce and mobile companies, but don’t move so fast that your ads get lost in translation. Local language, climate, customs and trends can all affect how your content performs. Keep these elements in mind as you assemble creative, and your international audience will respond favorably.
  • While the opportunities for tapping new markets are immense, there’s a dark side to going global. As Millennials like to say: “You’re doing it wrong.” From government outrage over gun-toting artwork in Italy to Mexican backlash at Burger King, being culturally insensitive can land you in social media hot water.

Speaking of social media…

Distribution

  • Pinterest and Twitter have a predominantly female user base, whereas Google+ and LinkedIn are primarily frequented by males. Well over half of Twitter users are tweeting from outside the US, while Facebook grew adoption by 55+ year olds a whopping 80% in the past three years. Picking the channels your target audience naturally flocks to is one of the best ways to ensure content relevancy.
  • TV, digital, radio, print — these media outlets all vary in terms of data management and metrics for measurement. And when it comes to mobile vs. desktop, Android vs. iPhone, each device type should also be a consideration as you shape your content. Marshall McLuhan, one of the forefathers of the digital age, famously stated “The medium is the message.” Translation: where you say it is just as important as how you say it.

Which brings us to perhaps the most important element of all: Adaptation.

Now that Millennial audiences have brought mobile devices into the arena of television advertising, campaigns that acknowledge the bridge between entertainment and social media will naturally achieve higher ROI — which is still the target most performance marketers aim for. Companies that identify mobile and social integration as key factors in their digital advertising strategies are sure to see success in 2014 and beyond.

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