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Is “going viral” the only metric for content marketing?

Industry stalwarts explain challenges in content marketing, process of allocating budget to it and more.

The term ‘content marketing’ is heard a lot these days. It can be done via newsletters, videos, partnering with influencers, movies, sponsoring a reality show, and other ways. Well, the objective to execute it varies from brand to brand, some do it for awareness, some look to entertain their TG, while some even do it to generate direct ROI. 

The challenges to execute it are many, according to a report by Content Marketing Institute, 57% of B2C marketers said creating content that appeals to different TG is their biggest challenge.  

afaqs! organised a panel discussion on ‘Big challenges in content marketing’ at the first edition of afaqs! Brand Storyz Awards. The panel was moderated by Sreekant Khandekar, cofounder, afaqs!, and included speakers, Tish Condeno, senior director of sparkling flavours category, Coca-Cola India, Manu Kumar, head of marketing and communications, Hero Electric, Mayur Hola, chief marketing officer, Culinary Brands  (a holding company for Subway South Asia, Fresh & Honest, a corporate coffee vending brand, and Lavaza, an Italian manufacturer of coffee products) , and Neha Chimbulkar, head - marketing, APAC and MEA, Quora.  

The role of content marketing is different for different categories. Kumar from Hero Electric explains it from a lens that EV (electric vehicles) is a new category in our country, in that case, content plays a huge role.   

“Depending upon category/ brand, the content strategy also changes. For us, one of the important aspects was to educate consumers. We can’t advertise directly, rather we had to state the motive behind why consumers should go with EVs. Educative content is most important for us. Also, primarily the content has to be interesting while positioning the brand,” he states.  

Condeno from Coca-Cola believes the beverage category is also new, as the consumption of packaged beverages is still low in the country. She thinks there is a huge headroom to grow for multiple brands.

She highlights that the content has evolved a lot now. “Earlier, it was just about reach, then pivoted to engagement, but now with access to digital content it is now about two-way communication with customers,” she states. 

She says that in India there are two layers of content split: the first is of national content, second is about regional conversation. 

Chimbulkar from Quora explains from a social media lens that brands have evolved their content marketing strategy extensively. They have now understood that the brand should listen to its audience before serving them the content.

“We as a platform come in a consideration mindset, one comes to us before buying a product/ service. On our platform, customers ask a lot of questions, and in that case, brands can step in by producing content that can answer those questions,” she highlights. 

She also added that content is subjective, one piece can work for one brand, but not the other. 

Hola says that they’re currently working with a meme marketing agency Younggun. “We think about how we can create a free piece of content that can give us at least 10 million views.” 

“Our approach to content is to make it shareable with the first 100 users who watch it. Then it will be visible for the next 100 users, and chain goes on. We should make the content shareable,” he highlights. 

Budget Allocation 

Condeno says the budget allocation depends upon the target audience to reach, which will determine the kind of content and modes to reach them. Then the decision of allocation of the amount to be spent on the content and distribution model comes in. 

“In our category, there are millions of choices for customers. If there is one-way communication, nothing would make an impact. For us, we should look to have a two-way conversation. The content should be created in a way that can carry the narrative of a brand with a compelling factor that can generate reaction.”

Kumar agrees that it depends upon the objective of the content. 

“In our category, they are looking to understand EVs before making a buy. The majority of customers study online, before engaging with us. SEO plays an important role, we work with automotive influencers and automobile magazines, and ask them to put out reviews before they hit out. As customers will use our product for a long cycle, the right information is a need.”

He says that they spend a substantial chunk of the budget on content creation with distribution to make it visible. 

Hola says that their approach to content starts with a product. A product that can make life a little easier. Their focus is more on cross-pollinated content across platforms, rather than going for frequency.

The budget allocation is different for every brand depending upon their goals. 

Watch the full panel discussion here: 

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