A reality check on the state of Content Marketing in Asia

Although Content Marketing has been around for more than 150 years, the more recent digital age has made it a core ingredient for every marketer in the world. For the past five years this has fuelled a rising demand for content by impatient marketers wanting to get in on the act, as well as a new wave of agencies providing content development and strategic services.

As these agencies are now being bought out by the global advertising conglomerates who themselves are desperately looking to re-invent their global service offering(s), the industry has witnessed some dramatic change, unfortunately not all positive.

The most dramatic buy-out in recent times was undoubtedly the purchase of King Content by media monitoring firm Isentia. While it can be debated whether the price Isentia paid was “over the mark”, ultimately the two businesses were not compatible and/or complementary and the integration was poorly executed. This ultimately led to the recent closure of the King Content business altogether (less than two years after Isentia’s acquisition).

However, as many industry leaders have acknowledged, and the market has proven, the demise of King Content has not led to the demise of Content Marketing as a whole. Yes the overall perception of the discipline did take a bit of a blow, especially amongst King’s former clients, but deliverable and measurable mechanics have ensured its survival and relevance.

Being brave isnt supposed to be easy, but its the key to moving forward

In-house or external resourcing?

Nevertheless the spate of acquisitions has had a negative impact on the quality of the content being produced. As more and more content is being produced by the advertising conglomerates, the industry has witnessed mounting pressure on profit margins. This has directly impacted the journalistic quality of the work delivered (the saying “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” truly applies here). And yes it can be argued that this can be overcome through the hiring of quality in-house resources (editors) as Rezwana Manjur, Editor of Marketing Week, wrote in her article on 27th February 2018.

Although such a “short-term” solution will undoubtedly overcome the quality issue, the long term impact of appointing “in-house” resources will have a negative impact on the overall performance. In-house editors over time, tend to focus more on the commercial aspects of their output rather than customer utility and/or overall industry considerations/trends. Moreover, having a single resource can hinder creativity and result in content that is repetitive and stale.

The discipline of Content Marketing has always been highly dependent on predictable algorithms (what will our target audience be looking for next?) and unless this is supported by independent research, social listening and industry experts, audience engagement will rapidly diminish over time. Predictive content modelling, although still in its infancy, is rapidly shaping the future of content development. This together with a dose of real-life analytics will propel early adopters to the top of the content food chain.

How do you ensure your content stays relevant?

The editorial quality of your content can easily be assured appointing in-house and/or external (sub) editors, but this does automatically equate to success. Success is a combination of foresight, guts and actionable analytics.

Companies such as RedBull, Marriott and Cisco have successfully invested in a robust content marketing strategy that was based on taking calculated risks combined with industry foresight and access to analytics on their content. Foresight can be mitigated by the appointment of independent industry/segment expertise that will help guide your content.…..BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE as these Content Marketing stars did.

By: Peter Bakker

Managing Director – Immedia Services

Singapore