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Content conversations

Content Conversations: MediaCom Beyond Advertising’s Tom Curtis

Tom Curtis is managing partner and head of MediaCom Beyond Advertising. Often labelled as MediaCom’s content marketing division – a tag that Curtis dismisses as too narrow – MediaCom Beyond Advertising launched all the way back in 2009 to focus on what the agency then called non-traditional marketing activities such as content creation. It has since ridden the wave of ‘content’ and content marketing growth as brands seek more meaningful engagement with consumers than traditional advertising.

Curtis’ favourite song is Roygbiv by Boards of Canada, while the film Silent Running makes him cry. Collective Content had a chat with Curtis about what content marketing really is, where it sits in an evolving marketing landscape of changing tech and media consumption, and the key trends we should expect over the next few years.


Q: ‘Content’ is something that media agencies have always done to some extent but what’s changed now in the context of the growth of content marketing?

 A: Content has obviously been around a long time and some people are using the word ‘content’ as an excuse to try and claim they are doing something new that they have been doing anyway, or trying to present something new to clients and brands. I think the name ‘content marketing’ is fine, as is ‘branded content’, as are lots of other different words being used, but it’s a bit of a side issue. The point about ‘content’ is that I’m not massively convinced it is content that is pushing the agenda towards full-service agencies again. It’s about data and better targeting of people. Using data to brilliantly target people is something we clearly do but there’s not been enough of the industry pushing towards using that data to actually work out what the message needs to be. That’s the biggest driver.

Q: How do you see this content and/or data-driven marketing landscape evolving over the next couple of years?

 A: A lot of agencies are obviously claiming they are bringing creative and media closer together. I don’t know how much of an impact we’re going to see from that for some time. I think there’s a lot of talk about it but I don’t believe that full integration is yet happening. But I do think it should happen quicker, absolutely. I don’t think the industry has changed significantly because of ‘content marketing’. It’s evolving because of the changing nature of the way people consume media. Certainly many organisations within the industry have used the term ‘content marketing’ to justify or announce new roles, new focuses and, in some cases, new structures. Inevitably some new ‘content’ agencies have launched themselves claiming others can’t do ‘content’ but they can. In some cases their point is valid, because many creative agencies have been slow to adopt data and many media agencies have been slow to improve their creative output. Of course the next stage for the industry will be further consolidation and further bringing together creative and media.

Q: How are client needs changing? How have you seen that conversation change in the context of content marketing?

 A: There’s absolutely no doubt the media landscape is changing and clients are inevitably having to adapt accordingly. I don’t think there have been as fundamental shifts as you’d think if you were to go a conference when you hear people going on about ad blocking and various other threats. Of course, most clients’ businesses and needs have changed hugely over the past few years, even decades. We have to service them differently. We have to help them navigate a world of data and tech that a decade ago nobody could have imagined. We have to advise on how to react to disruptive new competitors.

However, the one fundamental thing that hasn’t changed is the job we do for them – help them grow their business. Every decision we make needs to go back to that core objective. But one thing’s for sure – it’s certainly become quite tiresome over the past few years sitting in conferences listening to people debate the definition of content. Although in fairness I’d rather listen to people debate the word ‘content’ than the phrase ‘native advertising’, which I dislike very much. The industry took years trying to define it but, even still, the very nature of the term sounds like we trying to hide something – in other words making advertising not look like advertising.

Using data to brilliantly target people is something we clearly do but there’s not been enough of the industry pushing towards using that data to actually work out what the message needs to be.

Q: Are you saying ‘content marketing’ has been over-hyped?

 A: No, I’m not saying that. These threats are real but ultimately the overall challenge hasn’t changed, which is basically creating great quality content that people are going to care about, and therefore care about the brand. We still know that TV delivers massive scale. Yes it’s on the decline as are lots of traditional media but I think ultimately what clients are requesting from us hasn’t dramatically changed. You don’t want to jump into new tech willy-nilly just because it’s new tech but we need to maintain a foothold in the future and we need to make sure we are offering clients new solutions and we obviously need to have a point of view on it. We need to know if it’s the right time to do something about it.

Q: Can you give us some insight into the set-up and approach to content at MediaCom Beyond Advertising? What particular skills and expertise are important to a unit such as this?

 A: We don’t consider MediaCom Beyond Advertising to be the content marketing team within MediaCom. Unlike much of the industry, MediaCom considers everything to be content – including traditional advertising. So MediaCom Beyond Advertising differentiates itself from the rest of the agency by being the content execution team. We are positioned around three core areas – creative, production and organic distribution of content.

So within the team we have a large variety of different people with different skill sets. We obviously have creatives but we have production experts, people producing all sorts of stuff from original content to partnership content. Original content might be TV idents or banner advertising or online video. Partnership content is obviously a big growth area in the industry. Then within our distribution team we have editorial, we have writers, we have social engagement experts and community management. We have a very good influencer marketing team, which is a big growth area within the industry and within MediaCom Beyond Advertising. And then also a very robust SEO team. One thing I have real ambition towards is really multi-skilled integrated producers who every time there is a new thing that comes along we shouldn’t necessarily have to create a new team for it, we should have people who can focus on that as part of their wider understanding of media.

Q: You mentioned the growth in influencer marketing, which was also highlighted in the Content Marketing Association’s annual report. What’s your approach to this and what’s your take on it?

 A: Influencer marketing is all about endorsement, and endorsement has been around for a long time. We are basically working with a new wave of people. There are very interesting times with it. One of those is obviously about creative control. We are constantly having to educate clients and other stakeholders in how to work with these influencers because they ultimately have their own take on what their audience wants, which might not always be exactly what the brand wants. That’s one of the most interesting challenges we have with it. There’s going to be a continued question being asked within the industry around that creative control and whether it’s okay to allow people to have more creative freedom over what they say about your brand. There’s a lot to be said for not treating every piece of content as a standalone piece of content. It’s important to consider the entire comms system. If an influencer produces a brilliant piece of engaging content that their audience loves but the brand isn’t as prominent in it as the client might want, that’s okay providing we connect it clearly to another piece of content within the system that is more effective at driving towards a sale.

Q: What do you see as the key elements of successful content marketing today?

 A: Having a framework is important. As are the three I’s – inspire, involve and inform. Having an understanding of what the content is designed to do is critical. Going into it understanding what the audience is into is very important. Understanding what the objectives are is vital. If you don’t have objectives and if you are going into it just because you think you should be doing content then you probably shouldn’t be. And then knowing how you are going to measure against the objective.

If you don’t have objectives and if you are going into it just because you think you should be doing content then you probably shouldn’t be.

Q: With reference to measurement and data, presumably clients are asking more questions about return on investment (ROI) around content marketing?

 A: Clients are rightly asking more and more questions around measurement and ROI. The industry has slipped dangerously into a place where it is kind of satisfied that trading metrics are a measure of success. What I mean by that is the number of people who have viewed your content. You can pay for people to view your content so when you see the awards entries and ‘x’ million people saw our video, well that’s not a measurement of success. We look very clearly at the inputs, being those media trading metrics at the start. Then you’ve got your outputs from that, which might be shares, it might be view-throughs, it might be subscribers. But then the most important thing is obviously outcomes, which is the business result for the client, such as sales, especially if they are long-term sales which is the inevitable outcome often of branded content, which isn’t quite as response-focused as response media.

Q: Where do you see the biggest areas of growth in content marketing and what trends in types of content and tech to you see over the next year or two?

 A: The growth in this area is going to be from the acknowledgement that we shouldn’t silo it off as a separate discipline. I think people need to understand that if brands are going to brief their agencies to do some content, content marketing, branded content, whatever it might be, then they are almost inevitably going to end up with a siloed response. And that is not going to be as joined up with the rest of the comms plan as it should be. The big change is going to be the greater integration of conversations and solutions. So, people ignoring the fact that it’s content marketing or branded content and basically just coming up with brilliant big ideas that are going to inform the entire comms system.

In terms of specific tech, I expect to see more brands investing in live video and also in virtual reality and augmented reality. However, I still believe that these things, certainly for the time being, are going to be a fairly niche solution. But obviously we need to keep a very close eye on it and we need to ensure that we’re offering clients big future-proof solutions on that. One of the more interesting things in the more immediate future is around ‘shoppable’ and how we create content that leans closer to the transaction. For example, online video where you can click in and purchase clothes people are wearing or the products people are using. There’s quite a lot of interesting tech around this now and that’s something I think will be a really important part of the near future of communication. And obviously mobile is massively important. I still don’t think enough people are creating video content that is adapted to the mobile experience – so creating video with sound off by default, for example. There are too many people still sticking TV ads on and it’s kind of ludicrous.


Advertiser-funded programming’s big opportunity

There is also an interesting point about advertiser-funded programming (AFP) on TV, which most people would bracket within branded content or content marketing. In the UK there is a big opportunity with AFP and we should embrace it more. We did a TV show for Skoda, called Tour de Celeb on Channel 5, before Christmas, which was very successful in terms of viewing figures. There’s a point here that people go on about content marketing and branded content being something that people choose to watch as opposed to get interrupted by, and surely therefore AFP fits absolutely within that. Yet producing AFPs has been historically very difficult to get off the ground in the UK across the terrestrial channels because the commissioning teams and the commercial teams often haven’t brought joined up solutions to agencies and brands. I just think that, yes, we don’t want to be putting rubbish on telly but if we all agree that the way people are consuming media is changing then surely there should be more of a focus on this type of model. The Skoda Tour de Celeb show was good proper decent telly. It was marrying a brilliant idea that the commissioners were into and the very long process to get a client on board – and to sell it at the highest level it takes a lot of work. But it was a genuinely good treatment, the idea of putting celebrities on bikes and getting them to do a stage of the Tour de France is almost a logical progression of celebrity shows, particularly given the popularity of cycling in the UK. It was just a very good idea and of course all good AFP, just like all good content, ultimately comes from brilliant ideas.

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Content conversations: MEC Wavemaker’s Ben McKay

Ben McKay is managing director at MEC Wavemaker UK. Media agency MEC launched its Wavemaker content division last year to simplify its content, social, partnerships, SEO and creative offerings. Wavemaker uses insights from MEC Momentum, the agency’s purchase journey planning framework, to create content based on where it is most likely to change the consumer’s behaviour.

Collective Content caught up with McKay to talk agency landscape in response to the rise of content marketing, what makes great content marketing and the coming trends to watch out for.

Q: How is content marketing evolving here in the UK and what are your predictions for the next couple of years?

A: As audience behaviours and attitudes to media evolve, it’s quite right that agencies evolve their offer for their clients. Knowing what drives behaviour and attitudinal change and then also measuring it through the life of a campaign for the activity is going to be really important to us as a business this year. And I don’t think many other agencies are really interrogating what that means. The reason I came back to this agency was because it brought me closer to data that would help me make more future-proof decisions on our marketing efforts. Marketing measurement is something we have invested a lot in and over the next year or two it is going to be big. Using analytics is much more of a live process than it used to be. This means understanding how best to boost consideration at different points around the buying cycle, and we are using the data we have collected through surveys, through historic data, through live campaigns to inform future decisions. There have been lots of softer measures of what success looks like, over monthly or quarterly, but doing this on a live basis gets us to a very exciting place.

The reason I came back to this agency was because it brought me closer to data that would help me make more future-proof decisions on our marketing efforts.

Q: Where do you see the biggest areas of growth in content marketing?

A: Video as a format will continue to be incredibly significant as a result of its return on investment (ROI) and inherent ability to travel across media formats. We tend to see about half of the most shared content to be video. Video is a flexible, brand- and audience-friendly format. It’s a great storytelling platform and it’s a very portable platform across different channels. It’s important for brands to understand how they can use it. ‘Voice’ is also becoming a thing – accessing content from home, and with further incremental growth from mobile voice search. Artificial intelligence from Google Home’s launch in Q2 will be a significant boost to this field along with an acceleration in Amazon’s Echo.

The B2B sector remains buoyant – data from Forrester and Google, and our work with GE, AIG, Vodafone and B2B FS tells us that – but techniques continue to mature beyond more traditional direct marketing routes. Financial services and telecoms will see growth – sectors where loyalty, customer service and differentiation play a role.

There will be a growing appreciation of the intrinsic link between content and the channel when it’s delivered, and there will also be more accountability over content investments. ‘Why are we doing this?  What is it delivering?’ – I hope to hear more challenging questions asked of content and its distribution.


Q: How are you responding to changing client needs? Is the setting up of the Wavemaker content division about MEC pitching itself as a full-service agency?

A: We were in a good place with so many of the disciplines that clients wanted already but we wanted to simplify the navigation of these disciplines with a single strategy and single plan and single conversation, so five conversations becoming one.

MEC’s ambition is ‘full-service behaviour’ as opposed to a full-service agency. It embraces the fact that the world of digital marketing, content marketing, creative decisions, data is all a lot more complicated, and clients find it more difficult to try and navigate. We want to help clients navigate through that complexity and make smarter bets. So for us it’s more of a behavioural change. It’s not us trying to bring everything in-house. We are looking to be the most open and collaborative agency in London and the UK, and that’s quite exciting. We made a decision to give up a third of our floor space at our offices to our partners and for it to be a space where people can come onsite and collaborate with us. We truly believe the best solution for us to be our client’s most valued business partner is by us helping them to navigate those decisions, make commitments to them and bring on the best talent that’s available from across the marketplace.

We are an audience-first agency as opposed to format-first, channel-first or brand-first. Deep knowledge of the audience as a starting point – that allows us to then frame analysis of what really matters when looking at sector trends, competitors, etc. Audience-first means we obsess about outcomes. In a world of content marketing where the creation of stuff, the creation of value, is so important, that value is in the eye of the beholder – the consumer, the audience. We think that’s the starting point to be more robust on creating value than other agencies. That’s where our USP is.

In a world of content marketing where the creation of stuff, the creation of value, is so important, that value is in the eye of the beholder – the consumer, the audience.

Q: Data is clearly becoming increasingly important in understanding the audience and planning content marketing strategies. What’s your approach at Wavemaker and MEC?

A: MEC Momentum is a purchase journey-planning framework that informs what will drive attitudinal and behavioural change around the buying cycle. I spent months trying to stitch these channels together in planning and measurement in my previous life client-side [for Moneysupermarket.com], and so was very excited to see the launch of this just after I joined MEC. The most important thing from our perspective is that Momentum gives one version of the truth, so what really matters to drive those behavioural changes. That’s incredibly helpful to start to organise very disparate teams with very different capabilities and very different behaviours. If they know what their role is in trying to drive a certain change at different points across the consumer journey, that’s really powerful in helping us bring these different capabilities together. At a practical level it means some of the Momentum insight fuels the Wavemaker analytics process, so it’s really important for us in selecting the key performance indicators (KPIs) that really matter.


Q: What are those KPIs that really matter, and how do you measure success and return on investment (ROI) in content marketing? For example, in a LinkedIn post you talked about the need to move on from traditional industry standard benchmarks.

 A: Success is typically measured in sales and lifetime value of target audiences, but we know that some brands find it refreshing that we go further than these anecdotal KPIs. We prefer to understand what KPIs will drive change in consumer behaviour and/or attitudes in a way that leads to business outcomes for our clients.

Those macro measures of success – such as change in consideration, purchase outcomes or lifetime value – are not enough for making creative and media and distribution decisions at a campaign optimisation level. Underneath that we need media, experiential and creative campaign marketing signals that we know ladder up to those points. The KPIs that we use differ quite widely and there’s no silver-bullet KPI. It’s what matters to that individual or that segment that matters the most.


Q: What’s your take on organic and paid distribution in content marketing?

A: Paid is a key component – increasingly so. Our clients are seeing 2 to 3 per cent organic reach, but we know industry averages are 1 per cent and declining. But organic is alive and well, just in new forms. Think ‘dark social’ (e.g., WhatsApp) and away from the key social platforms and in to other means – influencers, forums, blogging. The internet and world we live in remain a social, discursive, sharing place but we just need to think about social as a behaviour not as a platform. We undertake ‘citation audits’ to understand what people engage with, what people share, when, where and why… across the web as a whole.


Q: Can you give us some insight into the Wavemaker approach to content marketing in the context of a successful campaign you’ve executed?

A: In 2015, Wavemaker created the #wimblewatch content series for bottled-water brand and Wimbledon partner Evian to help it engage better with a youth audience. The series featured celebrities, influencers and tennis-loving members of the public reacting to the day’s tennis action from the Wimbledon Championships. The first year exceeded targets with 4.5 million views but the challenge for 2016 was to surpass this with a bigger and better series. Through the content series and social media interaction (see box out below) we achieved almost 12 million views, which was nearly 90 per cent over-delivery, and #wimblewatch was the most visible campaign of Wimbledon 2016 on social platforms. The client, Evian, also saw a 29 per cent increase in purchase intent and a 15 per cent sales uplift.


Game, set and match – the secret to #wimblewatch

Social played a big role in engaging the target audience. To create Twitter interaction, we created a daily social ‘Celebrity Match Point’ competition. In each content episode, our celebrity pairings would participate in a table tennis challenge. Viewers voted via a Twitter conversation unit spreading the #wimblewatch word on who they think wins the point for a chance to win Wimbledon tickets. The winners were revealed in the following day’s episode. We also partnered with Amobee Brand Intelligence to identify and target real-time trending topics and conversations during the Championships, enabling Evian to join the conversation, target content in real time to an engaged audience and optimise media spend for maximum engagement rates. And we released an Evian-branded Wimbledon Snapchat lens, which achieved 6.3 million lens plays versus a target of 1.6 million. Users could swipe and share their #wimblewatch Championship selfie, engaging young Millennials with the traditional Wimbledon heritage.

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Content conversations: Karmarama’s Jamie Toward

Jamie Toward is managing partner for content at London-based creative agency Karmarama, which has recently been bought by consulting giant Accenture. As part of that takeover, Karmarama, whose clients include Confused.com, Costa, Just Eat, Unibet and Unilever, will retain its name but become part of Accenture Interactive. Prior to joining Karmarama in January 2016 he was head of content at MEC.

Collective Content caught up with Toward to talk about the changing agency landscape in response to the rise of content marketing, what makes great content marketing and the trends to watch out for in 2017 and beyond.

Q: ‘Content’ has become a much misused and overused word in a marketing context. What does it mean to you?

A: The dictionary definition is that it’s the stuff inside a vessel or box. But for me when you start to talk about content what you’re really talking about is non-traditional marketing outputs and techniques. It’s a horrible catchall term and in a very large regard shouldn’t be used, despite it being in my job title. For me content now means the stuff that’s not a TV commercial, not a radio ad, not digital display, not press, not out-of-home. Once you get to that level it’s pretty much everything else. That spans everything including branded content, advertiser-funded programming, advertorial inside news media and so many different bits and pieces. I try and avoid using the ‘c’ word.

Q: How do you avoid the ‘c’ word?

If we’re talking about video assets I try to get our people to not only talk about video assets but also be really specific in the context of where they are being used. So if we’re making a skippable YouTube video call it a Trueview not VOD.

Q: What are the most important ingredients for successful content marketing?

A: Good content marketing, particularly in the digital sphere, is based upon three things. One is data and measurement. You’ve got a cycle where good data informs good insights that provide you with briefs and tell you about your audience and what appeals to them. You can then make whatever that stuff is whether it’s a written article, film or game. That same data and insight will tell you how to do the distribution of that. Secondly, there are very few aspects of content marketing where you just build it and they will come. So you’ve got to have some form of targeted distribution built into it. Finally, you’ve got to have the facility to measure. Measurement drives greater data, which drives greater insight and the whole cycle starts again. So you’ve got the component parts of data, insight and strategy, creative, production, distribution, measurement and analytics.

Q: There has been something of a land grab in recent years as media and ad agencies, PR firms and publishers all try to build out their capabilities across those components you talk about. Obviously you have a view from the agency side but what’s your take on how the UK content marketing landscape is changing?

A: There are few firms that have all those components covered. Historically, creative agencies are really good at the creative bit. They are populated by creative people and can do the strategy piece. But they tend to be very light on data understanding and the ability to extract insights. Further, these creative ad agencies have traditionally not been connected to the distribution of that content. Media agencies have a load of data, really good insight and planning, really good distribution, and they are good at evaluation because they have great campaign management and they do the tagging that allows them to evaluate the efficacy of any digital asset that’s in flight. What they are historically terrible at is creativity. I don’t mean the big conceptual stuff – they come up with some great ideas – I mean the more downstream creative functions are just not covered by the media agencies and that’s a big problem.

You’ve got the component parts of data, insight and strategy, creative, production, distribution, measurement and analytics.

Q: So we’re seeing change…?

Over the last five years the lines have blurred a lot more. Media agencies have started get more creative people on board and have their own production functions – look at the embedding of Hogarth’s production facilities inside GroupM’s agencies, look at the embedding of genuine creatives inside Mediacom Beyond Advertising. That’s beginning to blur.

Back to more traditional content agencies and it’s interesting there’s been a whole series of acquisitions of people like August and John Brown. But if you look at most of those shops they are, for me, hampered by the fact their historical legacy is inside print. That skews the way they think. The people I admire for taking fairly concerted leaps out of that area are the guys at Seven. They’ve got fingers into things like programmatic distribution and SEO and the tie up with the guys at C3.

Digital agencies like DigitasLBi, Sapient, or maybe AKQA, from a digital point of view they have been infrastructural to start off with. But Digitas has built a media offering, it has built out a significant data offering and it is beginning to build out a stronger creative offering. So you’ve got those digital agencies that traditionally did infrastructure, also coming downhill into those spaces.

Q: Where does Karmarama fit in this landscape and what will the takeover by Accenture Interactive add to its capability?

A: Traditionally Karmarama is an advertising shop. But I was surprised to find when I walked through the door it has an absolute gold standard, properly world class, data and technology offering. So it’s traditionally viewed as an advertising agency but it has the capability to do the data, the insight, the creation, also has a production business, and can do the tagging. The only thing it doesn’t do is buy the media but we can plan the distribution and we can do the evaluation. So Karmarama is a more integrated agency starting to be in a position to do good contemporary data-driven content marketing.

Accenture Interactive has skill sets that have never been applied inside media, ad or content agencies. It’s the interface with the world’s leading technology partners, the guys who provide the marketing stack. You suddenly end up with those big management consultancies that historically have the data and insight into business issues, infrastructure but lacked the creative bit. Accenture Interactive has been diversifying into content production and by acquiring Karmarama is now also getting into the creative thinking piece.

Q: Does that signal a return to the full-service agency? Is that where this is heading?

A: No, I don’t think there is a return to the full-service agency because you begin to put up problems around conflict management and it hampers the ability to scale. However, there is a requirement from clients to be able to execute marketing well for those component content marketing parts – data, insight, creativity, production, distribution, evaluation – all to be really closely tied together. That for me will see the rise of integrated shops. The rise of programmatic, by which I mean definitively machine-to-machine, distribution, planning and buying will aid that. You will see more and more black box media buying solutions and be able to have good content distribution sitting inside creative agencies.

Q: What do you see as the big content marketing trends for 2017 and beyond?

A: There’s a fairly short answer to this. It’s about mobile and it’s about video. The interfaces consumers have with the digital world are increasingly through mobile devices and that means you need to change the way you think to be focusing around a small screen, around a screen that’s moving and not fixed to a single geography. There’s a whole load of really interesting tracking and targeting issues and opportunities that come with that but mobile has still got a long way to go. Marketing is about trying to create behavioural change through media, through the stuff people consume, and for me we are nowhere near topped out on decent screen mobile penetration. And while the handsets might exist, the stuff to fill those handsets from a brand marketing perspective isn’t anywhere near complete. All the studies I have seen indicate that video is significantly more effective than just the written word or still imagery. That makes total sense. Human beings are provided with a whole load of senses designed to encompass movement and sound. Invest in video and mobile. That’s all there is.

And ultimately what makes great content marketing? Return on investment, otherwise it’s just rubbish and vanity.

Q: What about the virtual reality (VR) hype and the rise of live streaming as seen with the likes of Facebook Live?

A: I don’t buy the VR hype but Facebook Live is really interesting as a concept. It’s very useful as an amplification tool, for example out of events or stunts or brands beginning to give viewpoints on real world happenings. I think what we’ll actually see around Live is the creation of people trying to own a moment. I think it’s got a big part to play. We have to be careful about it though. People have been doing live TV since its inception but there’s a reason why all TV isn’t live.

Q: For example?

Live has inherent risk built in. Think about TV moments like John Noakes trying to control an elephant urinating and defecating all over the studio. For us it makes great programming but I’m pretty sure the people involved at the time at Blue Peter were having fits. You don’t want to associate brands that closely with that risk.

Q: What’s your approach to content marketing at Karmarama and what are the key success factors in any campaign?

A: The best piece we’ve done in 2016 that is standout content marketing is the ‘Luck is no coincidence’ campaign with Unibet. This was a series of six 15-minute episodes aimed at educating its customers how to ‘bet smart’ using stats and science. It won a gold at the Content Marketing Awards and won a gold and the grand prix at the Direct Marketing Assocation Awards. What made it really good was the work was all handled out of one shop.

Unibet’s winning content wager

We’ve used insight about the audience to help inform the creative brief and help inform the distribution strategy and execution, that was all done here. It was then tied to a creative team who managed to express that brilliantly and managed to create something really engaging. The addition and identification of major influencers in the F2 Freestylers really helped because it made it authentic but highly targeted at the audience that we wanted to influence and change their behaviour. We produced it here as well, so we had a crazy time flying people into Dubai, back to London and then out to Houston, to shoot it. It was very cleverly produced. On the surface it is a six-part series but out of those six 15-minute films we actually produced over 700 assets and all that was distributed. The organic reach that was provided by the F2 Freestylers was supplemented by a really cleverly constructed international paid distribution – paid video, paid social, clever retargeting to drive view. We’ve done 60 million minutes of viewing to date, that’s just organic on the F2 Freestylers channel. That doesn’t count the stuff we paid for. That’s a huge amount of time for our target audience, young men, to spend with the brand. It’s a combination of data, targeted insight, great creativity and production hooked up to great distribution and it provided in excess of an 18:1 return on investment. And ultimately what makes great content marketing? Return on investment, otherwise it’s just rubbish and vanity.



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