Today's consumers look everywhere for essential content in order to make smart decisions. Look no further than Web 2.0 to see this impact. Web 2.0 is the interactive "cloud" of internet-based software applications that is fueled by personal interaction – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are all examples of Web 2.0. The next generation of web development – Web 3.0 – is evident in Microsoft's new search engine, Bing! and will be even more observable to the general consumer when Google launches Wave this month. Designed to take the next step forward in interactivity, Web 3.0 promises to make decisions for the consumer, and provide real-time conversations online en masse. Web 3.0 is expected to offer a landslide victory to companies fully engaged in a content strategy.
Consumers are hungry for valuable, relevant content that offers solutions to their problems and helps them lead successful, productive and enjoyable lives. To get through the thousands of marketing messages consumers hear and see every day, marketers must learn to communicate differently. Web 3.0 promises to make this process easier for consumers, but marketers will need to embrace a new way of thinking. Smart credit union marketers know this and are creating strong brand relationships by focusing on quality content. Surprisingly, those focusing on a traditional quarterly newsletter or magazine may be ahead of the game.
To be a part of the "conversations" wave, and to provide the information needed for decision-based Web 3.0 applications to make decisions, a company must put forth an effort to provide content that educates their potential consumers about their products and services. Currently, the average marketer spends 30 percent of their marketing budget on the creation and execution of content and that number is expected to grow to 50 percent over the next five years. Content-based marketing is here to stay and may very well be the biggest opportunity your credit union has to communicate with your members and prospective members. That means you need to take very specific and strategic steps, not only within your marketing, but also within your culture, to take advantage of this opportunity.
Consider replacing your traditional marketing plan with a "Participant Print and Goals," as outlined in DigiMarketing, The Essential Guide to New Media and Digital Marketing, by Kent Wertime and Ian Fenwick.
(DigiMarketing is recommended by Ogilvy & Mather, Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management, and The Wall Street Journal as a guide to marketing today.)
A Participant Print and Goals focuses on engaging consumers and customers as participants in the marketing strategy – not as recipients of a marketing message. A Participant Print should answer key questions about your participants and should put forth basic goals. It may be a one page summary in table format, or it may be a multi-page document supported by research. Key elements are a general profile (such as overall user base and prospect trends), a digital profile (such as digital usage habits), and individual profiles (such as a description of current high-value members). Finally, the content-based marketing strategy should have a key focus that considers the purpose for the end user, and clearly defines frequency of delivering fresh content, as well as sources for providing content.
A traditional printed publication may well pave the way for a content-driven marketing strategy. Rivermark Community Credit Union, in Beaverton, Ore., uses its Rivermark Magazine as the main medium for conveying its message to members. Member profiles, along with lifestyle and financial tips, are central to the credit union's content strategy, which is also communicated via email campaigns, billboards and other marketing messages.
"We have gone online with almost all member communications – we wanted a printed magazine that could still be a regular touchstone with our members," said David Noble, Vice President of Marketing at Rivermark.
Pam Warren, Vice President of Universal Orlando Production Group, said that Universal is moving everything print to online, except the newsletter. Warren believes Universal still needs that outbound communication touch point with their producers. The printed newsletter may drive readers back to the website for information, but Universal knows there's a value to reaching out actively and physically connecting with constituents. Their newsletter is the vehicle for doing so.
Nike just did it.
The sportswear giant launched Nike Plus, a workout system that tracks calories burned, distance and average number of miles per hour run. Stefan Olander, Nike's global director for brand connections said in a New York Times article: "We want to find a way to enhance the [consumers'] experience, rather than look for a way to interrupt people from getting to where they want to go."
Credit unions are already focused on enhancing their member experience – a strong content driven marketing strategy builds a foundation for the future that will embrace every generation of web development, and position them front and center in continuing to help members better their lives with financial success.
10 Easy Ways to Succeed with Web 2.0 & Web 3.0
- Develop an editorial calendar and production process for your credit union publication.
- Consider how best to help promote your content. A quarterly outbound newsletter or magazine may still make sense to ensure you’re reaching all members and potential members.
- Let your quarterly publication guide your content strategy and incorporate your social networking schedule.
- Develop a Participant Print and Goals – an understanding of the people at the other end of your conversation.
- Consider your long-term road map – knowing and understanding the business goals underlying your content will drive successful marketing.
- Empower your members to participate in the conversation – enable comment on your website.
- Develop a channel mix – choose just a few networks you can update regularly and that fit your end-user's needs, as well as your own marketing goals.
- Add a few questions to your telephone and online readership surveys to help determine the impact of the content and how it influences the relationship with the credit union.
- Facebook is for everyone – one in three internet consumers interact with Facebook.
- Reuse, repurpose and recycle – content that appeared in your newsletter or magazine probably makes great web content, Facebook posts, and Tweets (Twitter posts) with the right minor editing.
Kristin Witzenburg is CEO of Market and Sales Logic and publisher of Money Matters Magazine. Market and Sales Logic creates media programs for credit unions, including online as well as traditional media such as print and television. Money Matters magazine is a credit union cooperative, offering unique credit union-custom magazine featuring shared national content such as Jean Chatzky and Motley Fool. Kristin Witzenburg has been Vice President, Marketing for Kinecta; Director of Marketing for Xerox FCU, and has been CEO of Market and Sales Logic for over ten years. She is currently working on a Masters in Science, Internet Marketing, from Full Sail University.
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