As their digital budgets increase, CMOs are under correspondingly higher pressure to quantify the business impact of their efforts. That pressure also extends to the agencies they work with, which have to push back against the mentality that digital marketing is less expensive to produce.
“It’s a fallacy that digital content is somehow, by definition, cheaper than TV content. If you want high quality, you should expect to pay the same price. We do not get discounts on camera rental, cameramen, flights, and hotels because we say, ‘It’s just for digital,’” said Jim Ribbans, head of business development at Beach House Productions, in Singapore. “Quality on-screen does cost money, but so does experience and the quality of ideas. This is the danger in cutting costs.”
Josh Black, CEO of Group M Content APAC, agreed that consumer industry sectors in the region are “all being asked from higher ups to do more with what they’ve got” to deliver ROI on digital content because of this cost assumption.
From an agency perspective, Black said he would prefer to deliver less high-quality work than add more low-quality content to the existing “clutter and noise.”
“Marketers sometimes ask agencies to figure it out because, like it or not, clients want efficiency, and we need to deliver it as best we can. Of course, as soon as quality starts getting compromised, we push back and flag the concerns,” Black said.
Guided By Strategy
It’s no secret that content marketing has made waves within digital media. “The incredible speed with which it has developed, combined with market pressures, has led to a lot of disillusionment from both [agency and client] sides, where creatives are stretching their resources to compete without being able to adjust client expectations accordingly,” according to Nicola Eliot, BBC StoryWorks’ APAC lead.
Unsurprisingly, “this often has the inverse effect on content quality,” Eliot told CMO.com. Also fanning the flames is the use of traditional metrics to gauge contemporary brand interactions, such as online video, inhibiting brands’ ability to understand, target, and measure the performance of their content against the bottom line.
That’s why a solid strategy is more important than ever.
“Strategy helps frame the creation, delivery, and governance of usable content you are distributing to help a customer choose you,” according to an article by the Canadian Marketing Association.
Still, clients demand quick results, so agencies must find creative ways to comply. Conversely, agencies needs to make brands more aware of the time, money, and resources needed to do what they’ve been hired for. They also need to educate them about how changes in technology implemented by Google, Facebook, and others are changing the way consumers search for and discover content, Black said.
“Brands should be focusing on producing higher quality content underpinned by strategy to add more consumer benefit,” he said.
Budgets are being used more and more strategically, Eliot added. “Nearly 90% of our briefs now use data and audience targeting woven into their strategies,” she said.