'Much Content Is Sub-Par': Q&A With Meredith Content Marketing EVP

  • by February 18, 2014
I recently wrote about the latest Content Marketing Lumascape, which showed just how crowded this market is getting. It made me wonder how much of this is technology tricks and how much is just tried-and-true principles tied up in a neat bow.

To answer that question, I reached out to David Brown, executive vice president of Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, a content marketing company that sits within Meredith Corporation.

Hiding from the Polar Vortex in a cozy café downtown last month, I asked Brown for his thoughts about the rise of content marketing: market meat and potatoes, or the latest shiny object?

Andrew Susman: More and more brands are making big investments in content. What do you think content marketing has to offer these and other organizations?

David Brown: Brands that can create content that is relevant, engaging and sharable will likely find themselves on the receiving end of meaningful consumer insights that will drive market share and customer loyalty. When content is generic, it risks lacking relevance, creating a lackluster experience for the consumer that could ultimately hurt the integrity of the brand. To be successful, content marketers need to act less like traditional advertisers and more like publishers.



What are the biggest challenges brands face when trying to succeed at content marketing?

As channels continue to evolve, marketers are struggling to keep up. Traditional agencies are often not equipped to serve as true content creators, and they are continuing to add more generic content to an already cluttered market. Customers are learning to tune it out. This makes it more difficult for companies that are creating engaging, quality content to stand out.

Do you have any example of a brand that’s meeting these challenges successfully or already winning at these trends?

A great example is Red Bull. They have shifted from energy-drink manufacturer to a content marketing success story. In order to cut through the content marketing clutter, they have tapped into what  consumers are most interested in and consistently aligned their content with action sports and adrenaline seekers – creating a new level of relevance and engagement with their customers.

Quality content is key, but so is the right distribution. What advice would you give to a brand struggling with distribution? 

While the quality of your content is crucial to success, it only becomes relevant and engaging when distributed correctly. Relevance is the biggest driver of content quality, but it is only achievable when distributed through the right channels.

What are your top predictions for the content marketing landscape in 2014?

1. Improved offerings from agencies: They need to provide increased integration of digital, social, CRM and mobile service offerings while maintaining subject-matter expertise.

2. Mobile is here to stay: Mobility is becoming ubiquitous, impacting more aspects of the customer journey and evolving the shopping process with trends such as showrooming.

3. Balancing between engagement and reach: Marketers have chased every channel and platform and are creating more content than ever, but much of it is sub-par and fails to perform well. General marketing agencies are struggling to keep up and deliver timely and relevant content.

The end result of these forces will be a desire to consolidate services with an integrated approach to digital, social, CRM and mobile.

3 comments about "'Much Content Is Sub-Par': Q&A With Meredith Content Marketing EVP".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Al DiGuido from Optimus Publishing, February 18, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.

    Guys at Meredith should know better. We need to stop using the phrase "content marketing" to describe what "Red Bull" in this interview accomplished. This is "custom' and/or special interest publishing. What Red Bull has done is position it's marketing message at the intersection between their target audience's behavior profile and highly relevant content. When that marriage happens...the environment is more fertile for relevant advertising.
    Most folks discredit "content marketing" confusing it with the legacy "advertorial" content units. Smart marketers and publishers understand that in doing with reader has been undermined. Let's call it what it is "single sponsored special interest publishing."

  2. Miriam Bookey from Mind Over Media, LLC, February 18, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.

    I love the Red Bull example above. They've got a niche (thrill seeking!) story but a wide audience (almost everyone, including couch potatoes, dreams of thrill seeking). Red Bull's content is also consistent, in that it's always customized for the adrenaline seeker. On that note, there are plenty of generic content sites out there that do a great job of reaching a mass market – Salon, HuffPo, Slate, etc. But the content marketing plays I love are to niche audiences, where the content created feels deep, authentic, and relevant ONLY for that audience. When your customer feels heard and validated through custom content, they will share it, engage with it, and contribute back to the conversation.

  3. Andrew Reid from Victrix Media, February 18, 2014 at 3:43 p.m.

    Regarding the author's first prediction, the most critical component in his mix is CRM, and agencies don't/wont have access to this piece of the consumer's profile, rendering content or production efforts sub-optimal. That said, the excellent production standards of the Red Bull brand don't require the complexity of high frequency CRM data to pull off the relevant customer insights necessary to make their content resonate with consumers.

Next story loading loading..