It’s fair to say we’re all drowning in a veritable tsunami of content. Partly powered by automation*, there’s a perceived benefit to clobbering the marketplace with content that’s increasingly shallow and irrelevant – akin to dumping in one’s own nest.
By definition, “Content marketing is a strategy focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, to attract and retain clearly defined audiences and ultimately, to drive profitable customer actions.”**
If through careful analysis, an understand for what’s valuable, relevant, even entertaining for a specific audience group – and engaging content is created – now the outstanding question is ‘frequency’. Undoubtedly higher quality content will allow a high frequency of distribution, but there’s always a limit and this also needs to be measured and understood.
THE POWER OF AUDIENCE RESISTANCE
Low-value or overly frequent content will always be resisted by audiences… and more strenuously than marketers can afford to push it out. But this can also drag down brand perception, which incrementally adds to that audience resistance.
THE MOTIVATION OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
With ‘customer experience’ being touted as a brand marketing game-changer, this should also act as a positive pressure to elevate content quality, in and of itself. Content is an expression or extension of how a brand regards customer experience. If promotional rhetoric is verbose, force-fed and doesn’t resonate, audiences are unlikely to dig deeper or to ultimately trust that brand.
With fast moving topics like: AI, Big Data Analytics, Programmatic Media, Machine Learning, Voice Recognition and Personalisation etc. taking so much of the limelight (and they’re all helpful to understand), it’s worth remembering that human-nature has remained remarkably constant over millennia – evidenced by a vast number of psychological studies. So, as long as human audiences remain at the sharp-end of all we do, our understanding of human-nature and engagement should be fundamental to all content creation.
An advertising exposure study concluded – when audiences were tested in ‘high clutter’ situations, they confirmed seeing and hearing more, but remembered less detail. When audiences were tested in ‘less clutter’, they remembered larger portions of content. ‘Less clutter’ also improved audience ability to identify a brand within content. And on average, during ‘high clutter’ exposures, content that was recalled was largely due to it being “more likeable”.
These findings, based on Australian data, extended previous observations in the U.S. and Europe. Findings also noted, “If advertising is in ‘high clutter’, then it is ideal to use great creative and good branding. Such decisions appear as important as placement.”***
Plus, neuroscience informs us that our brains use heuristics, or short-cuts, to make decisions under pressure. Meaning current and future decisions are often governed by predetermined impressions. And that it’s these impressions, rather than rational thought, that govern much of what is ignored or engaged.
SURF OR DROWN
All considered, marketers must elevate the ‘quality’ of content, but to also be mindful of human tolerances for ‘frequency’. Purhaps it’s a case of surfing the natural waves of likability, rather than drowning in mediocrity.