Content conversation with Sarah Ivey - EX. GLOBAL CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER – INITIATIVE WORLDWIDE, CEO – AGENTS OF NECESSITY

Q How does one balance between content creation & content distribution as most of the budgets are currently going towards creation leaving nothing for amplification? 
A This problem is as old as advertising – to this day many advertisers produce copy they never air! Getting this balance right requires three elements of success: integrated teams across creative, content, and media; project management skills are hugely undervalued, and are tailor-made for this kind of endeavor; and lastly, the team needs to be compensated for the project as a whole rather than the sum of its parts. The re-integration of the agency world is a real movement – but we’re not going back to the full-service model. We’re moving to integrated project teams.

Q Everybody is talking about content and most of the times it is not strategic in nature, how do you think brands can start thinking about content in a more integrated manner? 
A William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Most branded content efforts that disappoint have fundamentally forgotten this simple rule. Content either must be brilliantly moving or entertaining, or it has to be really useful. That requires really knowing who you are talking to – what they care about, when they’re open to new ideas, what matters most. Then integration becomes easy – but it’s less about integration within the brand experience, and more about integrating into the lives of the people we are targeting.

Q ROI is the toughest question a CMO needs to answer when it comes to Content Marketing, do you think they are measuring it the wrong way? What is the correct method then? 
A Branded content, generally speaking, is used to move “soft metrics” – familiarity, metrics like “it’s a brand for people like me”, and in some cases, moves specific messages about the brand, its purpose, or specific benefits. One of the most challenging things for CMOs is connecting the effect on soft metrics to the impact on sales and intent-based metrics. The other challenge is that branded content never exists in a single-touchpoint universe – nearly all brands should be looking at multi-touchpoint attribution to understand how the mix works as a whole.

Q B2B brands have almost mastered the art of storytelling, why is it proving to be so difficult for B2C brands? Any suggestions for B2C brands?
A There’s much B2C could learn from B2B – but first we need to see the parallels. Branded content in B2B is first welcome – it’s respected as a sales tool. B2B also has much smaller audiences, and they are very narrowly defined with a well-understood context of communication. Of course B2C is very different, but often it suffers from too broad an audience definition, which leads to limited understanding of context and relevance – the two elements needed to deliver great content. Great content is always welcome – as long as it’s either entertaining or useful.

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