Content Marketing's Queen
Content is king. We get it. We've heard it all before.
But if content is king, then who's the queen? Who's the king's better half? Who's the strong- willed supporter who is sometimes even more important and powerful than the king himself?
It's audience development; the activities taken specifically to meet the needs of existing and potential audiences to help brands develop on-going relationships with their customers, subscribers, fans, and followers.
The days of "build it and they will come" have long been over. To keep your content from being the proverbial tree falling in the woods you've got to earn a great, engaged audience as well. An audience that not only consumes the content, but an audience that interacts with the content and spurs action.
This is hard. Very hard.
Building a loyal audience of followers, fans, and subscribers is certainly a challenge, but keeping them engaged often poses an even tougher challenge for brands.
With that said, here are some great examples of tools I have recently come across that can help assist in audience development efforts:
Facebook Custom Audiences
Description: This tool allows advertisers to target a brand’s ad to a specified set of users who already have an established relationship with the brand on or off Facebook by uploading protected customer information like email addresses or phone numbers.
Real-Life Example: Daily deals giant Living social used the Facebook Custom Audiences targeting tool to drive both sales and awareness of their new deals format. The use of Facebook Custom Audiences helped Living Social achieve an ROI of 58% and a CPC that was 60% lower than past campaigns.
Additional thoughts: A brand may also use this tool to build new customers/audiences by excluding their current subscribers.
Description: A free software that is used for brands interested in learning what conversations are happening (and where) about their brand, keywords, and other statistics even sentiment.
Real-life Example: Maker’s Mark recently announced that their alcohol content was being reduced. This announcement sparked large scale displeasure across the twittersphere. The bourbon giant listened to their audience and quickly responded and announced the reversal of the decision to dilute.
Additional Thoughts: Listening using a tool like Socialmention allowed the brand to become aware of problems with their product, utilize real time focus groups, and use the input to empower their audience and convert their sentiment from negative to positive.
Description: Lotame is a feature rich “unifying DMP” – a data management platform (DMP) that serves to collect, organize, and activate your audience data from any source including online, offline, or mobile. This platform supports 1st and 3rd party data sources and leverages that data to improve theContent efficiency of content management and cross platform targeting while allowing the user a much deeper understanding of their audience.
Real-Life Example: Targeted Victory (TV), Alexandria based, a leader in online advertising, mobile com and social networking for political candidates employed Lotame’s Crowd Control to collect, categorize, and target audience data. TV now can easily monitor what’s going on across all of their channels and they’ve watched their revenue grow since including audience targeting in 70% of their ad campaigns.
Most brands have a person in charge of content development and content marketing... shouldn't there be a Director of Audience Development as well? Smart brands will build great audiences as well as great content. The brands that will succeed in the next decade will be very aware of these notions and employ a strategic fusion of marketing and audience development.