Someone Let The Content Out.

In many ways, the role of Chief Marketing Officer has evolved to that of Chief Content Officer. From managing customer service, to outbound marketing, to crisis management, content is the primary tool in a marketer’s toolbox.

What is “marketing content?” It is all forms of customer-to-customer, brand-to-customer, and customer-to-brand communications. It may be one-on-one, or one-to-many. It will be used to influence awareness, acquisition, and advocacy. It is your greatest tool in crisis management, and in customer engagement. It’s images, press releases and articles, ads, tweets, and posts. Your content pops up everywhere—from blogs, to television; in emails and on Facebook; and in magazines and on Flickr. Consumers control a vast amount of the content that creates your brand’s marketplace perception. There are consumers who are great advocates for your brand, and others with an axe to grind. On the Internet, they have equal voice, and you have little control over what they have to say. All you can do is monitor, analyze, engage and respond.

But of course content needs to be managed. A marketer needs technology to manage content assets, and to analyze and monitor customer engagement. A Chief Content Officer needs to know where all of his big data is—from structured, to unstructured data, and have strong analyzing tools to make sense of it all. Trust me, your big data management platform will be your best friend—if it isn’t already.

Content used to be easily managed. You hired an ad agency, and a PR agency and they created content and pushed it out into the marketplace for you. When I worked on Madison Avenue in the 1980’s and 1990’s, we’d develop “road block” strategies where we’d buy “all media”—from radio, to television, to newspaper and outdoor, to corner consumers with a single message. We controlled the airwaves, and our content could be well-managed. Now we must deal with Paid, Earned, and Owned media, making content much more three-dimensional and complex to manage. Your brand messages are interspersed with consumer-generated messages, and a dialog about your brand is created through a network-affect.

Of course, it is the advances in technology which enabled ubiquitous content to be spread across the Internet, and it is advances in technology that will help you rein it into a manageable resource.

The technology to capture, structure and visualize vast amounts of information, is at your fingertips in content management systems. The key is bringing all of your content into one integrated platform. Storing your own content is easy, grabbing, managing and monitoring unstructured and structured content dispersed across the web gets a bit more complicated. And of course, finding a partner who understands both technology and marketing to help you identify a solution, is even more difficult. The marketing companies will tell you that it is easier to reach into technology from marketing, and the IT consultants will tell you that it is easier to reach into marketing from technology. At the end of the day, you need to evaluate a technological solution that meets your pocketbook, your needs, and a partner who understands that Marketing now equals Content.

This article originally appeared on the Digital Marketing 2.0 blog

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