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Coronavirus: ‘Content marketing imperative grows’

Many marketing organisations lack the necessary capabilities and processes to keep pace with a growing content marketing imperative amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to new strategic report from the CMO Council.

Cleary, the impact of COVID-19 on face-to-face business interactions, particularly large gatherings, has been swift and pervasive.

Content will need to pick up the slack, according to Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of CMO Council and author of the strategic brief, Making Content Marketing Convert.

“Marketers must act quickly and decisively to increase the impact, scope, reach and return of their content marketing investments in 2020,” said Manuel Hüttl, Senior Vice President Europe beim CMO Council. “Our research also shows there is a critical need for marketing organizations to bring more discipline and strategic thinking to content specification, delivery and analytics.”

Developed in partnership with NetLine the report provides insights into the problems marketing organisations face in elevating the business impact of content development, distribution and lead conversion. It also provides a concise set best practices, along with a self-assessment check list for lead performance improvement.

Among CMO Council research insights that underscore the problems and shortcomings in current content marketing initiatives:

  • Only 12 percent of marketers believe their content marketing programs targets the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content.
  • Only 21 percent say they are sufficiently partnered with their sales counterparts in developing and measuring demand generation programs.
  • Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder, rather than customer, interests.
  • While 88 percent of business buyers say online content impacts vendor selection, just nine percent think of vendors as trusted sources of content.

The report offers commentary and advice on the top 10 essentials for effective authority leadership-driven content marketing:

  1. Partner with credible + trusted sources
  2. Produce relevant + compelling strategic insights
  3. Add customer-contributed views + validation
  4. Present authoritative, newsworthy and enriched content
  5. Engage qualified, verified and predisposed audiences
  6. Target the whole influencer, specifier + buyer ecosystem
  7. Embrace multi-channel distribution, promotion + syndication
  8. Authenticate content consumption and buyer engagement
  9. Ensure lead legitimacy and compliance 
  10. Cultivate, Activate and convert prospect flow

It also offers a set of best practices for lead lifecycle management. These practices cover:

  • Functional alignment between marketing and sales
  • Lead qualification—prioritization and scoring
  • Lead nurturing and relationship development
  • Hand-off and optimization of the conversion process
  • Campaign measurement

Download the report here.

IAB’s Gold Standard now ABC audited

IAB UK has appointed ABC to conduct a rigorous audit of the current Gold Standard certification process to ensure its transparency ahead of the launch of Gold Standard 2.0 later this year.

The audit, which set out to test the design and thoroughness of our internal process, included a detailed examination of the end-to-end Gold Standard procedure and evaluation of our controls against potential risks. 

The Gold Standard was introduced in 2017 to help the industry combat ad fraud, increase brand safety and improve the digital advertising experience. It currently has 95 companies certified – spanning publishers, platforms, media agencies and ad tech companies – and a further 14 registered to certify. In total, 34 companies have registered and not gone on to be certified. 

The Gold Standard also has six signed up advertiser supporters – ASDA, Coca Cola, JustEat, McDonald’s, Nationwide and Tesco –  all of whom have committed to working only with certified digital advertising suppliers wherever possible. 

Later this year, IAB UK will be launching Gold Standards 2.0, bolstering the certification process and incorporating the Transparency & Consent Framework as a requirement, to address privacy concerns within the digital supply chain.

As part of Gold Standard 2.0, IAB UK plans to employ a third-party auditor to ensure that certified members are upholding the Standard’s principles year round. This appointment is yet to be made.

Tim Elkington, IAB UK’s Chief Digital Officer, said: “By appointing ABC – an independent third-party auditor – to audit the Gold Standard certification process, we are not only providing assurance of its thoroughness, we are also able to ensure that we proactively put in place internal measures to maintain this level of rigour as the Gold Standard grows and evolves.”

Marketing production in highly regulated industries: overcoming key challenges

By Paolo Teotino, senior technology alliance manager, OpenText

An effective marketing strategy today requires an integrated approach across multiple channels to reach an organisation’s target audience. As a result, many different channels are now pivotal elements for a compelling multi-faceted marketing strategy, including email, mobile apps, websites, microsites, social media, webinars and many more.

Yet in highly regulated industries, such as life sciences, the ability to quickly make the most of new digital marketing assets is restricted by compliance requirements and stringent regulation. This presents a major obstacle for organisations trying to use new digital channels to promote new products and services to consumers – with many finding their efforts significantly slowed down as a result.

Sector challenges

The life sciences industry faces some specific challenges. For instance, organisations must comply with the relevant regional regulatory authorities – such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK. Consequently, marketing assets for prescription drugs must be accurate, include balanced information on risks and benefits associated with the product and be consistent with the prescribing information approved by the regional regulatory authority. Furthermore, only information supported by strong evidence can be included. Some regulations also require materials to be auditable and even stored in certain ways for certain periods of time.

Additionally, life sciences companies must develop highly effective review and approval solutions to meet the demands of changing relationships with doctors and patients. These industry-specific obstacles are combined with the broader challenges facing rapidly growing global organisations in every industry today, from evolving operational needs and transforming digital processes to overcoming information silos and adhering to broad regulatory guidelines.

In this environment, it’s easy to understand why companies operating in regulated industries are searching for best practices that enable an efficient marketing workflow as well as rapid marketing process innovation. The ability to implement a completely automated platform — replacing manual processes with system-driven workflows and asset lifecycles that use Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms – represents a major step forward today for businesses looking to reduce overall complexity and cut down on time spent creating a fully compliant marketing campaign.

Automate and speed up

Automating digital asset management is key if businesses are to enable a timely and efficient marketing workflow. Regulatory compliance demands that document management processes such as content creation, review and approval, and content distribution are executed in accordance with industry standards and are auditable. Creating workflows to develop and manage operating procedures for quality control ensures consistency, reliability and efficiency. Furthermore, streamlining collaboration via automation can also lower costs related to the creation, management, and storage of marketing content.

Automation can also extend beyond assets to project management. Marketing projects generate many digital assets. By implementing a content management solution that provides complete digital media supply chain management, teams can track individual elements and whole projects from inception through to distribution. Some systems also offer start-to-finish production accounting tied back to the business systems, providing details on how the budget is spent to bring greater accountability.

Utilising a comprehensive platform to regulate marketing asset lifecycle and unify cross-enterprise production and delivery processes enables organisations to achieve faster innovation, better brand consistency and regulatory compliance. Companies adopting these systems for their marketing project management processes can move more quickly. In fact, one OpenText customer experienced a 70 percent reduction in average time for asset review and approval – reducing the approval process from days to minutes.

While efficiently using and managing digital media assets can be a significant challenge for highly regulated organisations, employing the right technology to automate and streamline processes can transform the marketing function. Companies moving from manual processes to automated DAM platforms will quickly reap the rewards – from reducing time-to-market to complying with regulations – to benefit the entire enterprise.

IPA Bellwether reports UK digital ad budgets rise

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Bellwether reports marketeers have revised their budgets upwards in the first quarter of 2017, the highest level recorded in almost a decade.

Some 26.1 per cent of those companies polled remain positive about 2017/18 budgets, signalling growth for the coming year,  while 11.8 per cent of companies said that marketing budgets would increase during the first quarter of 2017.

32 per cent of those companies polled also reported improvement in the financial pipeline, compared to 19 per cent that predicted things would be worse during the quarter.

The IPA reported marketers on tighter budgets are seeing greater value from digital and positioning ad spend accordingly, mostly as a direct result of the unknown effects of Brexit negotiations and wider economic uncertainty.

However, despite a positive outlook for digital ad spends in 2017, the IPA predicts stagnation materialising in 2018, with marketers being advised by experts to proceed with caution.

Speaking about the report, the IPA’s director general Paul Bainsfair said: “The election result has thrown further uncertainty into an already volatile environment.

“It is inevitable that this has had a knock-on effect on UK. Specifically, for marketers this has meant a desire, where possible, to seek out more activation driven advertising. As evidenced strongly in this latest Bellwether Report, this has resulted in a further move towards advertising in the digital space.”