Content Marketing in Australia Needs a Wakeup Call

Happy Saint (St.) Valentine's Day Heart ? - MCA - heart of gold - Chicago - fluid still video image

The Content Marketing Institute’s new report on Content Marketing in Australia is timed nicely for the upcoming Content Marketing Conference (4-6 March 2013). The report contrasts the content marketing approaches taken by marketers in Australia vs the USA and reinforces much that we already know:

  • Over 60% of marketers expect to increase or significantly increase their expenditure on content marketing in 2013
  • Australian B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn as a social channel while B2C prefer Facebook
  • B2B marketers allocate higher proportions of their budget to content marketing activities than their B2C counterparts
  • A large proportion of marketers outsource content creation (B2C 74% // B2B 54%)

These findings, however, should raise alarm bells for CMOs across Australia.

  • Poor digital capabilities inhibit success. While 96% of Australian marketers use content marketing, the tactical choices favour traditional marketing channels with much lower levels of investment in experimentation and digital engagement. Marketers should set aside greater levels of budget to experiment and innovate around digital and social media. Training and workshop/conference attendance  should be provided to help more traditional marketers to transition their skills.
  • Weak digital strategy delivers weak outcomes. Weakness in digital strategy is seeing a misalignment between content marketing objectives/focus and measures of success. Marketers should draw upon skilled digital practitioners beyond their organisation (and even their industry), to begin to correctly align their business and marketing strategies.
  • Conservative channel choice cripples engagement. Marketers the world over are challenged to create engaging content, yet continue to focus on non-digital channels which produce high-levels of engagement. Again, experimentation is vital. Also, look to pure-play agencies to bolster internal skills for particular marketing programs – for example, work with a social media agency on a social media project, bring in a digital experience expert to reinvigorate the online customer experience.
  • Lack of effectiveness is undermining confidence. Content marketing effectiveness levels remain abysmally low, undermining confidence in marketers and the work produced by their agencies and suppliers. After correctly aligning strategy (as noted above), marketers should build metrics and analytics dashboards to report on effectiveness. Investigate options from companies like Anametrix.
  • Executive buy-in to content marketing needs to be revitalised: Connecting results with effort will give marketers the tools to gain buy-in from their Boards and from senior executives. Investments in analytics and reporting software that aggregates multi-channel data should be prioritised.

The detailed report appears below.  Remember to check out the Content Marketing Conference, using the code CMI200 will save you $200 when registering.

Event Report: ConnectingUp.org’s Social Media Forum

CUSydney.jpg

CU-MelbAdl

Connecting Up is a not for profit organisation that provides vital products, resources and programs designed to make the Australian not for profit and community sector stronger and more resilient. As part of this charter, Connecting Up recently held a social media forum in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, showcasing the work of local organisations and sharing approaches and best practices.

In each of the locations I delivered a keynote address designed to set the scene – “Signs on the Road Ahead”. Rather than covering the basics of digital strategy and planning, many not for profits have moved beyond the social media basics and are looking for more targeted information. The aim was to provide communicators with a heads up on some of the trends and disruptions taking place in the world of digital communications. From this starting point, the participants then heard case studies from innovators working with not for profit organisations based in each city – rounding out a fantastic day with Q+A and an inspirational wrap up from Connecting Up’s Ben Teoh.

Adelaide – the hotbed of social media innovation

I am always amazed at the vibrance and innovation that emanates from the social media scene in Adelaide. The evening before the forum I was able to spend some time with some of the speakers and some of the energetic people who drive much of the online creativity coming out of Adelaide. It was clear that social media is maturing as a business discipline and Adelaide businesses are fortunate to be able to call upon professionals like Michelle Prak and Mal Chia.

During the presentation from Ben Osborne (University of Adelaide), many around the room were hastily taking notes and jotting down tips for handling challenging and sometimes volatile communities. His communications and crisis management flow chart was a huge hit and showed just how much planning and thought had gone into not only handling issues, but generating engagement and activating students across the campus.

Petra Durvocinova from RiAus sent all the geeks in the audience into paroxysms of bliss talking about science, story telling and community building. Linking curiosity, emotion, imagination and research together, Petra explained how storytelling can help audiences discover the wonders of science. The use of Livestreaming was a great opportunity to test and learn for RiAus, but the identification and nurturing of those passionate science communicators within the community was seen as essential to the long term success of their social media efforts.

Noriko Wynn from Conservation Council SA shared an in-depth dive into the world of Facebook ads and campaigns. Working not only in social media but across a range of communications and media, Noriko explained that the challenge was that sometimes there was too much to say. Social can accordingly, plan an important role in creating relevant and target communications.

CU-Sydney

Sydney – the niche and the scale

I was still a little jetlagged for the Sydney event, but a jolt of strong coffee soon had me ready for a full audience.

Rafi Cooper from WSPA delved into the narrative structure of digital storytelling. Using public narrative to focus and drive change and action (self->us->now), Rafi showed how WSPA campaigns were able to achieve impact at scale via social media. He did hint that WSPA have an advantage thanks to plenty of good stories and cute images of animals.

Yves Calamette from ACON shared a great – but niche case study on the power of social media to engage men on the topic of HIV prevention. While there was a niche focus for the campaign, Yves was able to show specific impact, ROI and best practices that are now being extended for an upcoming campaign.

Dae Levine from Republic of Everyone showcased how social media can help connect policy, planning and persuasion, presenting a case study on the Say Yes campaign. Integrated planning and digital strategy, events, installations, social proof and widespread educative communications were all used to influence the public debate around climate change and carbon pricing. While not all not for profit organisations can work on such a scale, Dae explained how various elements slotted together to create an overall impact. (And yes, the campaign was successful – with a carbon tax now in effect in Australia)

Treassa Joseph hit to podium like a dynamo. Armed with data analytics and a geek’s passion for statistics, Treassa introduced the audience to Twitter, Tweetups and Twitter festivals and showed how social media can mobilise a community to come together and take action around a cause. Expect to see more non profit tweetups in the near future!

Melbourne – from grass root to the oak tree

Cate Lawrence talked through the Green Renters experience – cultivating a niche community with style and grace on a shoestring budget. Many in the room marvelled at Cate’s grasp of social media and the impact that a very small team (see the presentation) can have when focused on the most important channels.

Chris Roberts from the Brotherhood of St Lawrence provided a great case study on how social media can be integrated into advocacy programs. Their efforts focused on a dental care initiative – and required audience education, influencer management, leveraging of existing marketing and integration of all channels towards very specific objectives. Again, this campaign was considered a success with dental now covered as part of the government’s Medicare scheme.

Daniel Lewis-Toakley from the Oaktree Foundation stepped through the Live Below the Line campaign that challenged Australians to live on $2 a day and share their experience via social media. The approach again followed the public narrative storytelling arc to create champions, engage a community and track engagement towards success. Another great not for profit success, the campaign showed the power of enabling a community not just corralling it.

Richenda Vermuelen from ntegrity provided a deep dive into the social media activation of a blogger program for World Vision. From the detailed selection process, storytelling approaches and on-the-ground management, Richenda stepped through the pitfalls and benefits that come from working with bloggers. It was a great presentation for any not for profit wanting to tap into the social media space.

Event Report: Constellation Research Connected Enterprise

CCE

cce1

At some events, all eyes are turned towards the shining stars on the stage, but at Connected Enterprise, Constellation Research’s annual conference, the lines are blurred. This weekend long conference is an intimate innovation event for senior business leaders who not only have an interest in disruptive technology – they’re putting it to work within their businesses.

Keynotes and sessions centered around the Constellation business themes:

  • Future of work
  • Next generation customer experience
  • Data to decisions (big data and analytics)
  • Matrix commerce
  • The new C-suite and consumerization of IT

The keynotes and panels ran from the high energy of Endeavor Global’s Linda Rottenberg to the explosive quirkiness of IDEO’s Tom Kelley. Private equity investor, Love Goel set forth a digital vision for emerging and established companies.The Gabriel Institute’s Dr Janice Presser challenged business leaders to understand the nature of teaming and its link to high performance, sharing frameworks and practical examples of her Teamability process in action.

cce2

Anne Lise Kjaer provided a glimpse into the near future through the Kjaer Global trend atlas – calling out a new vision of the 4 Ps of marketing – people, planet, pleasure and profit. SAP’s Vishal Sikka revealed the human creativity behind the global company’s technology success. And R “Ray” Wang fired some hard questions at Microsoft’s Mike Ehrenberg provoking a great fireside discussion.

Box.com’s Aaron Levie sparked some controversy with his comments about the ugliness of enterprise software and Adam Pisoni from Microsoft’s newly acquired Yammer suggested that the enterprise was ripe for disruption.

Interspersed across the jam packed weekend were one-on-one discussions between attendees and Constellation’s team of analysts. This allowed for focused discussion around particular business challenges – with a great deal of passion and insight often exploding from one table or another and rolling, contagiously across the room.

Live Quarks – short case studies from FanAppz and Metaio’s Trak Lord – kept the audience engaged and interacting not just with ideas but with live demonstrations of technology “in the wild”.

cce3

But it wasn’t all work and ideas. There were social events like golf, cooking and a spot of geo-caching designed to take the conference in a different direction – deeper, more personal, interactive.

The panel sessions provided case studies and deep dives into emerging technology and business impact. Talking with GetSatisfaction’s Jeff Nolan, Informatica’s Dennis Moore and Badgeville’s Kevin Akeroyd, we touched on the changing shape of customer experience and the power of big data to transform marketing and our customer relationships.

Fellow Aussie, Ben Haines, CIO with Pabst Brewing joined Leerom Segal from Klick Health, Ben Doyle from Enterasys and Lawrence Housel from Industrial Mold and Machine to discuss the changing nature of the C-suite and the impact of the consumerization of IT. Already many businesses are seeing clear value from this global trend – with panelists able to free up resources to deliver more strategic capability across their companies.

Shellie Molina from First Solar, Richie Etwaru from UBS and Meagen Eisenberg from DocuSign explained how their organizations were transforming business process through technology – linking demand and supply chains with matrix commerce strategies. It’s still early days for many companies, but these disruptive leaders were providing hard facts and figures to back their initiatives and drive further innovation.

A culmination of the event was the announcement of the 2012 SuperNova Award winners. Drawn from literally hundreds of entries entered into the business themed categories, a wide swathe of businesses competed to showcase their use of disruptive technology in a business context. The winners were:

The tight focus on topics and the restricted audience created a pressure cooker of ideas and innovation in a very short time. Those in the audience could easily have been featured on stage – and this made the non-conference program particularly valuable. Constellation’s Connected Enterprise 2013 promises more of the same – and will be a must-attend event for disruptive business leaders everywhere.

Re-invent Your Organisation

ci2012v2

ci2012v2 Almost every day we are reminded of the constant onslaught of change. Our customers are outflanking our businesses – challenging us to be more connected, transparent in our dealings and impact not only shareholder value but the world at large. These expectations have permeated our employee cultures, partner ecosystems and business networks. Taken together, they represent a complex problem that many organisations are unable to address.

What we need is to re-invent the organisation. And to do this, we need creative innovation.

The Creative Innovation Asia Pacific conference runs from 28 to 30 November in Melbourne, Australia. It brings together over 40 innovators, thinkers and business leaders who will present strategies, stories and insights to help you address “wicked problems”. Take a look at the full program here.

When you register for the event – use the code wicked to receive a 10% discount. It may be the best investment you make in your business’ future.

Australian Marketers Rock Up to the Marketo Rockstar Tour

If marketing technology vendors had doubted Australian marketers’ hunger for innovation, then the recent turnout to the Marketo Rockstar Tour laid those doubts to rest.

Stretching out of the main bar at Sydney’s Establishment Hotel and down George Street, a queue of 300 or so patiently made their way to the upstairs ballroom to learn about Marketo’s software as a service based marketing automation platform. Punctuated with case studies, driving rock music, audience questions and a keynote from founder Phil Fernandez, it was a glitzy launch with plenty of substance. Follow along with the tweetstream below.

Blog Monetisation at Social Media Club, Sydney

It was a welcome return and a good, vocal crowd at the Shelbourne Hotel, for the topic of Blog Monetisation at Sydney’s Social Media Club event. A panel comprising bloggers, agency folks, digital publishers, journalists, PR and digital strategists kept the conversation going and got the crowd tweeting.

Hannah De Milta from Rocketman Media moderated the panel featuring Karla Courtney from Tiny Times, Daniel Kjellsson from Fellt.com, Patty Huntington from Frockwriter and Matthew Gain from Edelman PR.

There were a large number of fashion bloggers on hand to learn the secrets. ALSO be sure to check out this wrap up by Francis McCarthy.

Creativity and the Practice of Empathy

I can remember seeing a friend after university holidays – and asking “how was your break?” It’s the natural conversation starter. But when he answered, it was not what I expected. Rather than the polite “great thanks … yours?” response, I was delivered a bombshell. There was no seaside holiday or relaxing overseas trip. There was only unspeakable loss and grief.

A single question had taken us both into an unexpected place. Even today I can still remember feeling my mouth opening and closing, grasping for words that would not come. I didn’t know what to do.

So we went, my friend and I, to site silently in the university cafe. Hours passed, and finally, buzzing from the caffeine, he said goodbye and left.

The following week he thanked me. I hadn’t rushed in to solve his problem. I hadn’t offered advice. I didn’t really DO anything.

This great presentation by Evgenia Grinblo on the practice of empathy reminded me of this story – and of the care that we should take when working with our clients. Don’t rush to conclusions. Don’t think solutions. Sit and figure it out.

World PR Forum – Using the Power of Stories to End Global Poverty

With the World Public Relations Forum arriving in Melbourne 18-20 November 2012, there’s bound to be plenty of on and offline conversations around the changing role of communications. But with a theme of “Communication Without Borders” – it appears the organisers are setting a broad agenda.

One of the more interesting sessions scheduled for the three day event will be hosted by Michael Sheldrick, from the Global Poverty Project (GPP). His view is that the world of PR has plenty to learn from the practices of seasoned social campaign-focused organisations like the Global Poverty Project.

The GPP engages people in a new way that shows progress in the fight against global poverty. Through their work and directly via their communications at all levels, the GPP aims to “show people that movements can still change the world”. The key to this, Michael explains, is to “craft stories that captivate large numbers of people”.

He sees that there are four elements to a successful campaign:

  1. Grassroots advocacy – tapping into the personal power and passions of your grassroots supporters
  2. Media engagement – enlisting celebrities and activists with loyal followings provide a focus for media engagement and storytelling
  3. Public engagement – extending the conversation on and offline (from YouTube and image sharing, petitions through to local activists making phone calls to local MPs)
  4. Government relations – lobbying and working with political advisors, ministers to provide them with the “public ammunition” they can use to effect change

But how does this work in practice? Is there a measurable impact?

The GPP measure by outcomes – not likes, follows, impressions or even reach and frequency. By way of example, Michael shared details of the recent The End of Polio campaign.In Australia, there were two goals – to have Prime Minister, Julia Gillard raise this campaign at a regional summit – and for the Australian Government to contribute $50 million to polio vaccination programs. Both of these goals were achieved – and Prime Minister Gillard went a step further, urging other leaders to contribute – resulting in a total of $118 million being contributed.

But there is also plenty of experimentation in the GPP approach. They are hosting a “free ticketed” music festival in Central Park, NYC, featuring Neil Young, Foo Fighters and the Black Keys later this month. To attend, you have to download the app and then earn points by learning, sharing and taking action against extreme poverty. Concert goers go into the draw to win two tickets only AFTER earning “three points” on the Global Citizen App.

With over 50,000 downloads, over 30,000 people have already accrued enough points to go into the draw for tickets.

One of the things that I like most about this is the strategy. There is clear alignment between the brand, the vision, the action and the lifestyle of their social consumers. There is an experience on offer but there is also a social compact. This shifts the relationship from merely one of transaction (buying a ticket, watching a show) to engagement (make an impact, join a movement).

Now – if only more of our communications achieved this much – we’d all live in a much better world. Or at least a world without poverty.

Don’t forget you can catch Michael Sheldrick at the World PR Forum in November 2012.

Book Now for Creative Innovation 2012

ci2012 For every wicked problem there’s a great opportunity. But it takes leadership and courage – and that’s the theme for the upcoming Creative Innovation Asia Pacific conference this November.

Held in Melbourne, Australia, November 28-30, 2012, is setting a transformational agenda for business and organisational leaders alike – how do we adapt flexibly and rapidly to a world that is constantly changing. To address these challenges, founder Tania de Jong has curated a program of international leaders such as Baroness Susan Greenfield and Wade Davis to business leaders like CSIRO’s Megan Clark and Telstra’s Steve Vamos, innovators such as Ruslan Kogan and a cast of creative connectors from Katie Noonan to Gavin Blake.

There are many more speakers worth seeing – far too many to list independently. I’d encourage you to take a look for yourself.

But more than this … I’d encourage you to book now using the code WICKED to receive a 10% discount.  And if you do so before SEPTEMBER 16 you’ll be able to take advantage of the EARLY BIRD pricing for the conference AND workshop packages.

And if you need some help to justify your attendance – take a quick look at the reasons to attend. You’ll be glad you did.

Vibewire’s fastBREAK – Lies

Each month, Vibewire, in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts a fascinating and always illuminating event that showcases innovators and the ideas, passions and personal motivations that inspire them. Each person is asked to share the personal story – the WHY, not the WHAT or the HOW. In a way – fastBREAK is like a TEDtalks for young people.

In July, the topic for the month was “lies”. Why do we lie and what does it say about us and our world. This topic was explored by

  • Hannah Law, social media director with Switched On Media
  • Tim Burrowes, journalist extraordinaire and driving force behind Mumbrella
  • Simon Cant, innovation consultant at CANTT
  • Jack Hilton, magician known as the Great Hiltini
  • Dev Singh, entrepreneur and marketing strategist at Sketchpad Ideas

As always, it was a brilliant morning, with Sydney’s art and business communities mingling in the Powerhouse Museum’s fantastic Boiler Room, nourished and inspired by the BlackStar Pastry’s inventive deliciousness.

fastBREAK happens on the lasts Friday of every month from 7:45am. Everyone is welcome – and if you’ve never come, we’d love to see you there in September. Put it into your diary today!