Content innovation - the customer comes first

LONDON, UK / CAPE TOWN, SA: There's often a temptation with content marketing to think about the next big innovation or technology without actually thinking about what it could mean for the customer. It's vital that content is always relevant and empowering to customers regardless of the technology used.
For example, we recently created a cover-to-cover augmented reality (AR) issue of the Real Food magazine that we produce for Tesco; the first food magazine to use the technology. But rather than doing gimmicky stuff on just a handful of pages, we used AR consistently throughout the magazine to create a useful experience for customers. Every page was augmented with click-to-buys or content linked to video tips and how-to demonstrations. It was all built around how to make the customer's experience simpler and more enjoyable. This was effective multi-channel content in its truest form.

Talk is cheap - so give it value

The same is true of content used on social media as social dialogue. Many brands think they need to have a social media presence. However, the bigger question is: How will that conversation benefit the customers to whom they want to talk? A brand's social media presence should be a personality with which people want to engage and simultaneously create a dialogue that enables customers. For example, our Live Food Chats on the Tesco Facebook page allow customers to pose their questions to food experts. We ran a Back to School chat recently and it really epitomised the Real Food mantra of 'Family Meals Made Easy'. This is a great example of how content can actually become customer service by making life easier for people.

Research from the CMA reveals that regular readers of the retailer's title have a higher average weekly shopping spend than their non-regular reading counterparts. I think this goes back to the nature of these magazines and the fact that they create a degree of loyalty, through the useful content they feature, that other kinds of marketing can't match. It comes back to marketing that really does something new rather than just saying the same old thing. It's this marketing which really delivers commercial success.

Enable the customer, to get the customer

Effective content marketing is focused on enabling customers, rather than just projecting a brand message. So the uplift in spend comes from the fact that customers feel empowered and savvy; they know they can make the money go further with retailers, thanks to the know-how they've attained from the content available to them.

Eve Williams is one of the speakers at this year's Content 2013 - the comprehensive content marketing conference taking place in Cape Town at the end of February.

This comment piece was originally published in Marketing Week in September 2012.

Content 2013

Content 2013, SA's first comprehensive content marketing conference has a line-up of top speakers, including Eve Williams. They will be sharing uniquely crafted presentations that address very specific aspects of the content marketing industry.

Content 2013 will take place on 25-26 February 2013 at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town and the full agenda is available at

For more, go to and follow @Content_2013 on Twitter. Join the content marketing discussion by including the hashtag #content2013, and let them know about the big, bold, contentious issues or challenges that need addressing.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Managing Director of Cedar, the global creative and commercial content agency. She is currently based in the London office, but was instrumental in setting up the Shanghai business in January 2011 and enjoys spending time with the team in Cape Town.
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