Craig Aron, SVP of Strategic Business Development, Bidtellect

Like many things in digital media, the current process for content creation, distribution and measurement is extremely disparate. The myriad stakeholders and companies in the content journey has proven to be a double-edged sword. While there is great expertise in this growing field, it has also created silos that lead to inefficiencies and a non-optimized consumer experience. The holy grail of digital advertising has always been to reach a target consumer with the right message, at the right time, and right place, but until we bring the walls between these silos down, this will be unattainable.

Content marketing has ascended on brand marketers’ priority lists, giving way to numerous avenues for content production and delivery. Society has shifted to a pull media world where consumers are in complete control of the content they wish to engage with, and simply don’t waste their time with something they don’t care about. This, combined with an increasingly fragmented media landscape and limited attention spans, has made it more critical than ever that the content being created and delivered is deemed valuable to each individual. Brands that are marketing to their target audience are doing what they can to keep people engaged and coming back for more, so to widen their reach they have looked into areas such as how they can buy TikTok followers or buy Facebook likes, etc. to help them with being noticed and to provide the content their followers are looking for.

Break Down of The Content Silos

Many brands tend to leverage creative agencies for content creation, but increasingly brands are seeing the importance of bringing this piece closer to home with in-house content marketing teams and content production arms. Additionally, the big consulting firms tend to seek assistance from a website designer in Bristol or elsewhere to make sure that their website is on point along with advising brand marketers on content strategy. Major media companies are also investing heavily in content divisions and studios that specialize in producing and distributing specific content for brands, coupled with strategic investments and acquisitions in digital media companies with branded content at their core.

Content management platforms have emerged to provide brands with a valuable platform to manage the lifecycle of their content marketing initiatives. Marketing automation and CRM platforms are also playing an increasing role in creating and delivering content for brands. Then there are the distribution platforms that enable brands to scale their content initiatives and drive consumer engagement with the brand. Traditional Demand Side Platforms and creative ad serving vendors also exist to help dynamically deliver advertising messages to consumers.

Another group that cannot be forgotten are the closed ecosystems – Facebook, Google, Snapchat etc. – which offer powerful distribution platforms and significant scale. In these closed ecosystems that have their own unique user experiences, content must be specifically catered to that environment.
It’s a complicated ecosystem, to say the least.

Audience Data Is Only Half The Battle

Data-driven strategies, advanced targeting capabilities and sophisticated optimization technology empower brands to identify target audience segments and connect with them across devices and formats in real-time. High consumer engagement and positive results have instilled a renewed energy in content marketing for brands that leverage data to make smarter decisions. For example, if you were to visit a trade show, you might come across a few stalls offering catalogs or landing booklets (for example, to describe the services and products that they offer. You might obviously take a read at those pamphlets to gain a better understanding and then only indulge with them. Similarly, when it comes to data-driven results, they are powered by continuous research and the expertise of professionals.
In the race toward utilizing deterministic data to identify the right person, we have overlooked the importance of delivering the right piece of content based on that data. Both the problem and opportunity lie in the ability to meaningfully couple these two pieces – creation and distribution – in real-time.

There is already a growing movement amongst brands, publishers and technology companies to begin integrating these various components – creative, data, targeting etc. As consumers demand better advertising experiences, leading brands and agencies are looking to eradicate the existing fragmentation.

As the industry tackles this challenge, technology will take center stage in bridging the gap between the art and science of marketing. While there is an immense challenge ahead, I am excited about all the opportunities to help marketers navigate this fundamental shift in how content is being created, distributed and consumed.

In this article, I explored the driving forces behind this shift, how it has manifested and the major types of players involved. In the next piece, I’ll take a closer look at who these players are and how they contribute to the ecosystem.