In 1996, Bill Gates penned an essay describing the future of the Internet as a marketplace for content. He named it “Content is King.” The rest, as we say, is history, because “Content is King” became the most famous phrase for content marketers, and it’s still used today.
“When Bill Gates wrote this article, there were only 24,000 websites in the world, and Google didn’t exist,” Micheal Maksoudian, managing partner at Netizency, told the audience at ArabnetX. He was moderating a panel called “content marketing- recipes for success” on the second day of the event, June 13.
“Today there are 1.9 billion websites on the internet. That is roughly around one website for every four people,” continued Maksoudian.
The panel speakers included Damien Le Castrec, strategy director at Droga5, a New York-based advertising agency; Rebecca Allen, chief commercial officer at Codec, and Urszula Bieganska, head of marketing Middle East and Africa at LEGO.
Bieganska kicked off the discussion by talking about the importance of identifying one’s target audiences. “In LEGO, we have different target audiences,” she said. “You have kids on one side who need attractive content, and you also have a lot of adult fans who want content targeted to them,” she added.
When Maksoudian asked if there should be one centralized entity that generates content in companies, Allen from Codec replied that with the internet being the democratic medium it is now, any type of control is impossible and doesn’t make sense in the first place.
“We have such a vast world of creativity and imagination, which means we have to be brave and open up to people. We should also be democratic about content. Everybody has the right to create it,” she said.
Le Castrec agreed with Allen and warned the audience about creating a fragmented approach to communication, which reflects a fragmented user experience. He cited the White House as an example.
“Content for me is the wrong starting point,” he said, “content should be the answer to something bigger, trying to solve a problem for example.”
As for the important roles technology and creativity play in content marketing, Allen says that "both are absolutely crucial."
“When we harness the data we do, we do it with a view of giving it a framework in which creativity can thrive, because when you have the right kind of data, you can be confident with your creativity,” she added.
Le Castrac showed his disdain for technology by saying it is full of buzzwords “that make people look smart in a room,” and that it is the ideas that make the content stand out.
As an example of a successful campaign, Le Castrac mentioned The New York Times’ campaign to use technology to identify communities of interest who champion a cause.
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