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The Brits Boast about Their Content-Marketing Prowess - But Not So Fast...

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have recently published their report, “Content Marketing in the UK: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.” According to this report, marketers in the United Kingdom believe that their content-marketing effort is more effective than that of their peers in the United States and Australia and that they are leading the way in this regard. 

Their belief appears to be supported by CMI and DMA’s findings that marketers in the United Kingdom currently use “a wider range of content-marketing tactics than their international counterparts” and plan to increase their content-marketing budgets by a wider margin.

CMI and DMA report that content marketing is nearly universally adopted in the United Kingdom:

  • Ninety-four percent of all UK marketers use it.
  • B2C marketers in the United Kingdom using content-marketing strategies total 97 percent.
  • UK B2B marketers using it total 95 percent.

In contrast, according to the report, B2C marketers in North America and Australia are less likely to use content marketing than their B2B peers.

The margin by which content marketers in the United Kingdom intend to increase their budgets as compared to marketers in North American and Australia doesn’t seem to be so impressive, however:

  • Sixty-four percent of UK marketers say they will increase their content-marketing budget within the next 12 months.
  • More than half of marketers in North America (54 percent) say they will increase their content-marketing budget.
  • In Australia, 61 percent of marketers intend to allocate more funds to content marketing.

Social media use is universal:

  • Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are the most widely used social media by all marketers everywhere.
  • Overall (including in the United Kingdom), marketers use an average of four social-media platforms…
  • whereas North American B2B marketers leverage the reach of five platforms.

It appears that, despite the overwhelming adoption of content marketing and their intent to allocate more funds to advance their efforts, the two biggest challenges that UK content marketers face (delivering enough content and producing engaging content) are not new, nor are they specific to UK marketers.

While this research is an accurate reflection of the past, it ignores the emerging trend of employing emotional intelligence in marketing. I see more and more smart companies quietly changing their approach about content from logic to emotion. B2C companies are at the leading edge of this trend. Red Bull has done a great job of encouraging its customers to fly through the air (by base jumping, kite boarding, flying in wing suits, etc.) to drive its slogan “Gives you wings” into reality. Red Bull saved millions in marketing dollars by capturing and distributing content generated by customer advocates.

Here is another example: Joseph Tripodi, chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, stated in an interview that Coca-Cola’s customers generate seven times more content than the company generates. Tripodi is less excited about impressions of a metric and more excited about customer expressions. He said that of the 140 million online mentions of the brand, only 20 million were created by his company. As of yesterday, Coca-Cola had 61 million likes on Facebook.

Traditional corporate content creators tend to get carried away with painting an embellished picture of reality (which often fails to lead to customer engagement). Companies are far better off investing less in content and giving their customers a paintbrush and canvas (via social-media platforms) and encouraging them to paint the true picture: the image of the brand as it is reflected in their hearts and minds.

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