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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Is content really king?

The days of broadcast communication are behind us. It's time to take a fresh look at how brands communicate with buyers.

Content is king

If you're a marketer or communications executive you've likely heard this phrase uttered across boardroom tables or in creative departments across the country. It's no state secret. Nor is it a novel idea dreamt up by starry-eyed futurists. The importance of content simply cannot be underestimated - it is the lubricant that facilitates a strong relationship between buyer and seller.

But what about the platforms we use to distribute it? Just because an organisation has the capacity to produce stellar content doesn't mean it's being communicated correctly. The expectations and approach associated with a well-managed Twitter handle are vastly different to a corporate newsroom or sales brochure. Production isn't the problem - understanding the reader and the platform often is.

This speaks to a massive divide that has split the world of marketing and communications in two. Content creation is often commissioned on guesswork. Marketing teams and thought leaders think they understand what the buyer wants and subsequently spend a great deal of time and effort crafting messaging that doesn't translate.

There are few sectors in which this trend is more pronounced than tech.

This environment is complex and difficult to understand. The stakeholders signing purchasing offers are often completely uninterested in product features and specifications. They want to feel that their suppliers appreciate the business challenges they face on a daily basis. Don't tell me how much computing power a server has; explain to me why it will make my organisation better.

Despite this, technology organisations continue to push out highly technical and irrelevant content - preferring to focus on the nuts and bolts instead of the bigger picture. It's a classic example of failure to understand the unique needs of the reader and the intricacies associated with the medium.

Changing the way we process information

The days of broadcast communication are now behind us. The Internet has irrevocably changed the way we process information. Consumers are no longer satisfied with billboard or television ads designed with a mass audience in mind, they want to make a connection with the brands they love based on a mutual understanding and appreciation.

Content can only create this relationship if it is targeted enough to appear personal and unique. Skateboarders subscribe to an entirely different set of cultural elements than car enthusiasts - why are they so often expected to respond to the same cues?

If content is king, then consumer research and a highly segmented approach should surely be emperor. Without these elements we are simply crafting copy in the dark. Let the light shine in.