XPND Interactive hosted a panel discussion on leveraging disruptive content in marketing as a part of Design Week Portland 2019. Jennifer Shroy, one of our senior designers, discusses some takeaways from the event and how business leaders and designers alike can utilize disruptive strategies to break away from the competition and create a lasting impact with their target audiences.
Would you believe over 25% of Americans report they are online “almost constantly”, 77% of Americans go online at least once a day, and 83% of internet users access the internet primarily via smart devices? With the world so connected, it may seem impossible to create digital campaigns that stand out against the onslaught of B2B content circulating the web. But the key to breaking through to your target audience might, in fact, be gleaned from the sites they surf daily.
As we move further into the digital age, users leave breadcrumbs with every click and swipe they make. Social media, advertising networks, and web pixels collect this data and distill it down so marketers, designers, and content creators can curate unique insights into their targets’ needs, wants, and behaviors.
Disruptive content leverages this information to craft unexpected campaigns that tell a story and connect with users—all while B2B companies reach their strategic goals. Even better, good disruptive content is valuable for engaging “edge” or niche audiences by creating content and messaging that fit their experiences, whether in mobile social feeds, desktop browsers, or virtual shopping experiences.
Successful disruptive content strategy should look something like this:
- Identify your audience and how you solve a problem they have. Outline your targets and their needs. Campaigns that leave an impact utilize outlined goals, which are critical when you assess user feedback to optimize strategies later on. Make sure to research your users’ needs and efforts that have been made in the past to try to solve for them.
- Create your campaign roadmap. Use research to craft a plan to reach your campaign goals. Be creative and open to new ideas that will form new channels with your ideal audience.
- Pitch it. Be clear with your stakeholders about your campaign plan. Backing up your strategy with the data collected in step 2 will help assuage any discomfort with new methods or processes.
- Execute. This is the time for ideas to come to life, for digital assets to be created and to launch the campaign.
- Monitor the metrics and adapt. Throughout the campaign run, it’s important to monitor how your audience is engaging with your content. Does a specific design have a higher rate of engagement? Is there a dropoff before they complete the desired action to hit your KPI? Update campaign assets, landing page UI, or copy as needed to solve for any hiccups and push your campaign goals further.
- Rinse and repeat ‘til complete. Since your team will be constantly monitoring the campaign process, it’s important to repeat step 5 whenever you have enough fresh data to implement new optimization strategies.
What does this mean for design, strategy, and content producers?
Building a disruptive campaign can seem daunting if you aren’t familiar with using data to back your decisions, but there are some simple things to keep in mind when crafting your next batch of content:
- Solve a problem. Ultimately, you should have two simple goals: Connect the client to new audiences and provide users with solutions. Keeping this in mind during your strategy phase can help you reign in your ideas and keep things as simple (or complex) as they need to be to meet your KPIs.
- “How” is just as important as “what”. How are users interacting with your content? Are you writing an eBook or display ad copy? Is the image you’re crafting going to be used on a website or social channels? Keeping in mind how users will be able to respond to your campaign gives you and the brand an opportunity to explore new relationships with target users.
- Video and motion are some of the easiest ways to add disruption tactics to campaigns. Motion pays off. You have mere seconds to make an impact. Motion draws the eye and prevents banner blindness.
- Believe in your expertise. If you’ve fleshed out the campaign and backed up your recommendations with data, trust your gut when pitching stakeholders. They’re looking to you for your expertise.
What does this mean for stakeholders?
A coordinated disruptive strategy might be a new concept for you and your team, but by trusting in a data-driven campaign you are allowing history and trends to give an edge to future results. When partnering with an outside agency or building a campaign in-house, it’s important to be aware of some key factors that can help things run smoothly.
Provide user data to your agency. Your campaign is an investment, and you want it to succeed as much as the agency you hire does. Providing your team with any user, website, or social data that you have could save you and the campaign some major money.
Tell your story. We all know the best brands lay out a story and make us think about how they are connected to the bigger picture. Make sure your campaign tells users why you matter and how you can make a difference in their day-to-day.
Context over everything. Yes, eclectic doodles and bold gradients are “in”, but does requesting them for campaign assets make sense for your brand or your audience? Make sure your campaign elements tie into the story you are telling.
It’s about the bigger picture. Often, we separate campaigns into categories that run on disparate channels. Disruptive marketing braids these channels to create one, strong strategy. If the campaign you are pitched doesn’t discuss how marketing channels are working together to meet KPIs, ask why. It’s important that you, your campaign, and your agency are on the same track and everyone is in sync to accomplish your goals.
It’s more important than ever for brands to make a direct and intentional impact on their audience. Disruptive marketing helps you accomplish that through thoughtful research, ongoing optimization, and creativity empowered by meaningful data.
Ready to build an integrated marketing campaign that makes an impact? Contact PMG to learn how we can tell your story to the people who matter most to you.