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4 Ways Marketers Can Work With Marketing Suppliers for Premium Content

Amy Romero | December 17, 2018

4 Ways Marketers Can Work With Marketing Suppliers for Premium Content

Content is king. And well…also expected.

84% of people expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences.

In order to succeed in today’s marketplace, companies must create content at high volume, speed and aesthetic while making sure it’s personalized, works across hundreds of platforms, and is relevant to the locations they serve.

CONTENT NEEDS MAY BE GROWING, BUT BUDGETS AREN’T

It probably won’t surprise most readers that brands are actually reducing their content marketing budgets. As a percentage of overall marketing spend, content marketing has gone from 29% of overall B2B marketing budgets to 26%. For B2C, it’s dropped from 32% to 22%.

Of course, content won’t ever go away because it’s one of the most cost-effective lead generation tools available to brands, generating three times as many leads as outbound marketing, all while costing 62% less.

So what can brands do in this high-pressure environment to create quality content that resonates with their target audiences? Here are four ways marketers can work with suppliers for to create optimized content that fuels growth.

TRADITIONAL AGENCY

With brands facing pressure to produce quality content quickly, outsourcing content production is a common strategy and traditional agencies are a popular option for many marketers. Typically, agencies come up with big creative concepts and partner with production houses for actual content creation.

PROS

For retailers and brands who have large budgets, an agency approach can be appealing because they manage all of your other marketing suppliers. This lifts a heavy burden, while also providing consistency throughout content and a clear visualization of content performance.

Production houses are responsible for making sure content is optimized and omni-channel, so be sure they are brought in during the early stages of the brand-agency relationship.

CONS

Relying solely on an agency may have worked in years past, but many brands are moving away from having just a single agency of record that holds the keys to the entire creative and content production strategy. Decoupling these processes often result in greater cost and time efficiencies for brands.

Customized marketing campaigns and content creation for targeted audiences means marketers must be extremely agile. The siloed agency approach, outdated billing methods, and lack of transparency does not usually position agencies to provide the most value and highest ROI to brands.

IN-HOUSE CONTENT CREATION

Outsourcing isn’t the only option. In fact, many retailers may look at keeping content creation and marketing strategy in-house, which has its benefits and drawbacks.

PROS

An entirely in-house operation will provide unparalleled visibility and foresight into the content creation process. Updates and approvals are literally only a few steps away, as opposed to outsourcing which often requires much more back-and-forth for feedback, revisions, and approvals. Not to mention, the lack of agency overhead will help minimize costs.

There’s also no substitute for the brand knowledge that in-house marketers bring to content creation. Assuming they’re well trained by the company, in-house marketers have a thorough understanding of the company’s history, vision, goals, values, and competitors – which would be tough for an outside agency to match. As a result, an in-house team is well-equipped to create content that matches brand voice and speaks to the target customer.

CONS

Although an in-house approach can create cost-effective, intelligent content, it has its drawbacks. Creative fatigue can set in as brands produce content that lacks value. With marketers struggling to think objectively, you get brand-focused, not audience-focused content.

Asset management is also a sticky subject for in-house marketing operations. Brands with hundreds or thousands of SKUs per month may find themselves manually tagging assets throughout the production process without proper technology in place to streamline asset management. This leads to inefficient workflows and lower ROI.

PRODUCTION HOUSE

For today’s clients, efficiency in the content creation process is essential to innovative content, meaning brands must make relevant connections with customers at every step of the purchasing journey.

Production houses for content creation help brands become more agile in their strategy, positioning them for greater success.

PROS

Client teams in production houses are put together based on skill and custom solutions, as opposed to a hierarchal structure. This way, clients have access to expert creatives like videographers, CGI specialists, photographers and more, helping them create quality, specialized content, in addition to just the standard copywriters or project managers a brand may get from an agency.

Efficiency is rewarded in production houses, too, since compensation models are not based on outdated hourly rates and retainers that encourage inefficiency. Content is delivered fast, which is essential for success in today’s marketplace.

Production houses typically also utilize technology for a more streamlined, transparent content creation process. For example, CreativeDrive offers a proprietary cloud-based service that integrates data and workflow from the supply chain to content publishing. This technology helps reduce production costs by up to 50%, increases speed-to-market by 30%, and results in 35% faster delivery of content.

By leveraging technology for efficiency and transparency, traditional redundancies are eliminated. Brands have access to real-time updates and asset management at every step of the content creation process, positioning brands to achieve greater ROI.

CONS

Production houses provide clients with quality content both efficiently and at an affordable cost.

For brands to get the most out of their relationship with a production house, there must be a strong brand guideline in place. Often, brand-side creatives can be heavily involved on-set in the beginning of the relationship, but then need to step back in order for content production to be achieved at scale.

To ensure all content execution aligns with brand voice, mission, and goals, it’s key for brands to have defined guidelines established prior to beginning work with a production house.

MULTIPLE MARKETING SUPPLIERS

The reality for many companies is that taking an idea to market is now an interconnected ecosystem of ideas, content management, and constant engagement. This opens up the door for brands to potentially work with multiple marketing suppliers to satisfy content needs.

PROS

Working with multiple marketing suppliers is a logical way to ensure there are no gaps in any content marketing strategy. For example, a brand could consult with an agency for the big, conceptual idea. Then they could have suppliers for both ecommerce and social media to ensure each area is getting the attention, expertise, and efficiency it deserves.

CONS

Of course, managing multiple suppliers means a greater time management burden for brands. It can also be more difficult for brands to assess value and ROI from many suppliers. If multiple suppliers – each with their own framework and tools – are involved in a single project, it’s tough for brands to determine which supplier was most responsible for success.

CREATING CONTENT THE RIGHT WAY

Today’s marketplace is changing constantly, requiring brands to continually assess their content marketing strategies and how their marketing suppliers are bringing value.

Flexibility, innovation, efficiency, and transparency are the key qualities any company should be prioritizing when looking for the right suppliers and partnerships.