What could happen if you united content, advertising, media, consumer engagement and consumer insight with an interdisciplinary content marketing strategy? We found out when Julie Fleischer, Director, Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods delivered her opening keynote remarks earlier this month, The ROI on Content: How Kraft Learned the True Value of Their Content and Rebuilt Their Marketing Around It at Content Marketing World 2014. She shared how Kraft rebuilt marketing around content and transformed how they go to market. Kraft’s content is garnering four times better ROI than paid advertising and is capturing the equivalent of 1.1 billion annual ad impressions.
I was intrigued with Kraft’s position on content, recognizing its value and power and viewing content in the same vein as paid advertising—with an approach they call “relentlessly pursuing worthiness.” Fleischer noted that social media platforms like Facebook seem to have diminished the value of content in the minds of some marketers who simply view distribution as free, and also foresees the days of free organic reach coming to an end. She says, “It’s not about putting something out every day to be part of the conversation.” They believe brands shouldn’t post content they don’t deem worthy of paying to distribute. “If you wouldn’t spend money behind it, then why do it?” Fleischer asked the audience, “How many of us are guilty of being slaves to a calendar or posting cadence?”
It certainly is thought provoking. Other key takeaways from her keynote address:
- Content and data should be inextricably linked and leveraged to market to individual customers and prospects.
Kraft recognized the power of data and built a platform to identify customers based on their behaviors to help curate communications to the right person the right amount of times. Kraft has merged their content and data-management platforms and today tracks 22,000 attributes of the more than 100 million annual website visitors. Data is used increasingly in individually addressable advertising. They understand that permission-based marketing that is content-focused creates enduring, loyal brand relationships with their customers.
- Stay on top of trends and respond quickly.
Kraft uses data to identify trends and publishes current, fresh, personalized content, taking advantage of opportunities to engage customers. Fleischer cited examples of trending recipes that were generating high organic traffic on Pinterest, and how they quickly added them to their content mix.
- Integrative strategy makes advertising and content work even harder.
Fleischer recounted how early on, in spite of their content’s broad reach, their content and advertising messaging and media strategies were not aligned or integrated. Data and technology has changed that, linking content and advertising to drive performance and improve ROI. Content outperforms advertising in terms of engagement. Content is “…an invitation to engage. It’s not intrusive. It invites the consumer in,” she says, “but relevant content programmed strategically with your advertising makes your advertising work harder for you.”
- Develop measurement tools and establish metrics to understand customer behaviors and quantify results.
Metrics such as increased spend driven by content, increased purchase intent, increased engagement rates, and the value of first party are among several measures Fleischer cites as benchmarks for measuring ROI.
Needless to say, Kraft has been a pioneer of content marketing, publishing content for decades. Their sophisticated CRM platform delivers multi-channel publishing capabilities across web, email, mobile, print, and social. In addition to over 100 million unique visitors, their platform generates 109 million website visitors, 12 million mobile site visits, 400 million emails sent, over 1 million Facebook fans and 1 billion recipe views for Kraft each year.
In closing, Fleischer offered this advice for succeeding in today’s digital media world:
- Move fast and break things. Agility and the ability to change and adapt are essential to stay relevant.
- Culture trumps everything. Even strategy. The pace of change will never be slower than it is today. (Scary, huh?)
- Swagger matters. Do what you love and love what you do. Expect to succeed.
- The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Start with small steps.
- Done is better than perfect.
We know, you’re not Kraft. Neither are we. Chances are, you may not have quite the same bandwidth, or needs for that matter to generate the volume of content and connections that Kraft does. However, whether you’re B2C or B2B, there’s plenty to digest here. Learn from their content marketing strategy. Scale to your businesses’ size, market and content marketing needs. Just food for thought as you develop your own content marketing strategy.