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Why Content is the true north of Account-based Marketing? - Part II

Why Content is the true north of Account-based Marketing? - Part II
"A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." - Herbert Simon, Economist
Just why Context is everything (and more)

So having ‘humanised’ our approach to content, we arrive at the most important leg of the four, to – ‘contextualise’. Allow me to provide some context on the 'why' (at the cost of sounding rhetorical).

At a marketing conference held in Singapore last week – LEAD, I had 20-minutes to attempt linking Design Thinking to Marketing Strategy. Often overlooked by marketers as a methodology predominantly for product innovation, design thinking I believe instead provides a truly transformative construct for modern marketing.

Empathy is the bedrock of design thinking and uncovering contextual insights as a way of truly empathizing with our customers is a natural outcome of following the discovery process. Not just at the surface, but a much deeper insight into the customer’s context, almost like peeling layers of an onion one at a time. And it is as relevant for consumer experience as it is for B2B marketing. For the latter too is about communicating effectively with your buying influences across the decision hierarchy, who are all humans trying to make good decisions in the best interests of the businesses they represent. In terms of content therefore, to truly understand what content our customers are consuming as humans of their own volition is the key to understanding why they make certain choices as individuals, and as professionals.

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I then spoke of Empathy Maps and Reframing as potent tools every marketer should have in their arsenals, and spent most of the time on the importance of context. The good news is that there are tons of free resources on the web we can choose from to ideate and explore new ways to deploy ethnographic customer insights around our customers’ lives, choices and lexicon. No one obviously wakes up eagerly looking forward to the next marketing message directed at her. But everyone looks forward to content that makes them feel more informed, feel smarter and more confident about their role in shaping the future, their own or the businesses that have tasked them with the responsibility of making the best decisions for the greater good.

Two of my other favorite tenets of Design Thinking that are relevant here are – challenging assumptions, most importantly the ones we make about our customers and how we might think we know them. And the other about seeking analogous inspiration in your work from areas completely detached to your function, your industry, your geography or in nutshell - your own personal context. The low-hanging fruit there is to attend conferences and events which aren’t related to what you in your day job, try it!

I then looked at some interesting examples next in consumer experience journeys based on the Design Thinking fundamentals that have been called out by the latest Trend Hunters report, by one of my favorite futurists – Jeremy Gutsche.

I called 3 of the 20 trends he calls out as the ones to watch out for in 2018, namely – Responsive Retail Display (read WholeFoods meets Amazon), Augmented Reality or AR in packaging design for immersive experiences and lastly Co-creation of DIY superhero figurines by children using avatars and 3D-printing. All of these use consumer insights based on Design Thinking principles, and use them rather well. It isn’t about technology, it is about people and how as marketers we can both help take away their pains or maximize their gains, and do so with our brands as part of the narrative.

In terms of content, to contextualise is all about being able to visualize, through a combination of ethnographic research and social listening, your customer’s working day and how might we then as marketers enable them to consume content that makes them feel and become a better version of their professional selves after having consumed it, in a language they understand, relate to and appreciate.

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In the next blog, I will explore the third leg of this stool, to – Localise. All the more important if 'Voice, perhaps, is the future of search'.

 

 

  • Rahul Mudgal
    Rahul Mudgal
    Global Marketing Director, DOCOMO Digital

    In addition to Global marketing Director DOCOMO Digital Rahul serves serve as an advisory member of the APAC-leg of the CMO Council. In this role, he is involved with curating bespoke learning experiences for regional CMOs called #CMODisrupt. He was recognized by the World Brand Congress and CMO Asia as one of the top-50 'Best Marketers in Asia' for 2016. LinkedIn has also recognized him as a Social-Selling expert CMO.

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