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In A Digital Age, It's Cannes Year-Round

In a world of ongoing content, how do we deliver cost-effective creative?

Cannes has shown us, once again, the magic that happens when you give creative people the opportunity to do their best work—whether it’s helping us reimagine truck precision or guilting us into a visit back home. It’s that magic that got most of us into the ad business. It’s also that magic that drives consumers to action.

But as global marketers and big brands recognize, creating a handful of powerful moments isn’t enough. In today’s digital age, brands need to be present, authentic and responsive year-round. That’s why digitally led rapid-fire work like Facebook posts, tweets and Vines play a vital new role, adding ongoing “tadpoles” to the major tentpoles of the calendar.

Which means that marketers and agencies must deliver more content than ever. It also means there’s a greater need than ever to maximize resources behind creating content that inspires. 

Unfortunately, maximizing resources behind content is something that’s easier said than done.

Why do I say this? Because, as a marketing technologist, I’ve had a lot of frank conversations with agencies and marketers about the business of content. And across all those conversations, I hear the same problem repeated: there is not enough money to fund the volume of producing great content necessary to engage throughout the year.

If marketers are going to afford all the content their new world demands, then it’s critical we get to a more efficient content creation process. How do we do reach that efficiency? I’ll offer five suggestions on how that’s possible.

  • Inspiration Content ideation is thoughtful work, so it’s no surprise that it can take a long time. But good data tools can help marketers get to bigger ideas, faster. That might mean finding the social trends to help frame marketing messages. It might also mean using discovery engines to uncover user-generated content that can go directly into creative or spark faster ideation.
  • Delivery If you want to maximize your content investment, you need to deliver your creative to the right channel, at the right time. Data-driven tools can be enormously impactful here. They can match images and content with the right outlet and can even granularly analyze consumers’ routines—knowing what times consumers make their kids lunch, read the news, or think most about clothes—to help pinpoint the right time to deliver a targeted message.
  • Making data actionable How readily actionable is your data? Many organizations use one set of tools for market insight—like social listening—and a second for translating that insight into creative work. That means multiple tools that content marketers need to struggle to learn, and to toggle between throughout the day. It’s a huge drain on resources, and a liability when brands need to get messages out quickly. To get the most out of creative data, it’s critical that there’s a streamlined path from insight to action.
  • Connecting the organization Bursts of smaller messages require a ton of collaboration for messaging, ideation and approval on nearly every piece of content. The email, phone call and Google doc trail can get truly massive—and can seriously bog down the process, especially in a large global organization. The right workflow and collaboration software can make all the difference.
  • Measuring success You can’t improve content without understanding what worked. But since there are many ways to measure a KPI, understanding what worked isn’t always clear. Is engagement measured by likes, shares or views? How are we really defining “reach?” How do we compare paid impressions—which typically get more views—with organic ones? An organization’s different agencies, regions or sub-brands might answer these questions differently—creating discrepancy which is not conducive to focusing resources on breakthrough content. The right data tools can normalize information and get all teams on one page.

The major lesson here is that the science of technology can be a creative’s best friend, freeing up time for more amazing content—to celebrate not just one week in June, but all year round.

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