Building a content strategy that meets business goals

In episode 6 of BuzzInContent's monthly chat show Content Conversations, MG Motor's Udit Malhotra, Rumi Ambastha of The Man Company, Ramalingam Subramanian of CoinDCX, Pratik Gupta of FoxyMoron and Prashanth Challlapalli of Gravity Integrated talk about the importance of having a full-fledged content strategy and how to devise one that drives business goals

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The content marketing ecosystem is evolving well in India, but to make the most of it, brands have to ensure they have a full-fledged ‘content strategy’ in place, without confusing it with ‘content plan’.

To talk about ‘Building a content strategy that meets business goals’, on August 27 evening, brought together some of India’s best content marketing experts — Udit Malhotra, Head of Marketing, MG Motor India, Rumi Ambastha, Director, Brand Marketing, The Man Company, Pratik Gupta, Co-Founder, Zoo Media and FoxyMoron, Prashanth Challapalli, Founder and CEO, Gravity Integrated, and Ramalingam Subramanian, Head of Brand and Communication, CoinDCX — under one umbrella, its monthly chat show, Content Conversations.

Many a time, people confuse content marketing strategy with content plan and content strategy. Ambastha said that content strategy is cross-functional — it is the entire ecosystem of your business and content marketing strategy is a part of that.

Ambastha explained the difference between the three by metaphorically giving an example of a movie.

“A protagonist in a movie met a girl on a holiday and his ultimate strategy became to marry the girl with the blessings of his parents. In this case, his goal is clear: to marry the girl. But the question is how, when and why will he do that. A strategist will answer these three things because then this will become the benchmark and footprint for everything going forward,” she said.

“After the strategy, comes the plan. The plan of the protagonist is that he would go to India, visit the girl’s village, win over the hearts of the parents and extended family and declare his love for the girl, get the blessings from everyone and marry. Like this, the content strategy and plan is in place. Then the protagonist decides how he would do that. He decided to do that by singing a song for the girl on the farm. He then entered her entire household and won over everyone’s hearts. Like this, the execution happened. Now comes the ROI. In the case of this movie, the protagonist finally married the girl after a lot of hiccups. Similarly, in real life, there is strategy, planning, then the marketer decides where he will put his content and then the ROI,” Ambastha said.

Malhotra of MG Motor India said one needs to answer two fundamental questions even before building a content strategy — what is the brand’s purpose and what are we trying to solve for the customer? He said every content piece and communication isn’t meant to solve something. “What is the objective of the content? Is it deriving brand love and advocacy? Is it solving a problem? There is no finite answer. The answer varies from brand to brand, but the fundamental question remains the same,” he said.

Malhotra said MG Motor follows a 5C approach: Content, conversations, community, commerce and collaboration.

According to Ambastha, specifically in the case of D2C brands, when brands think of content strategy, they inherently start thinking of digital content strategy, which isn’t true. She said content digital strategy is different from the overarching content strategy and content marketing strategy. “There is a world beyond digital. There are brands that aren’t on digital but doing absolutely fine. When you say digital content strategy, you are denying the power of TV, print and other mediums.”

Every brand has a broad long-term marketing strategy in place. But many do not have a documented long-term content strategy as an integral part of content marketing. Does it mean it’s not necessary for all brands to have a content marketing strategy in place?

Subramanian of CoinDCX answered, “At CoinDCX, we have to document our content strategy. It is a no brainer because we are functioning in a very new space. We discover a lot of things on a day-to-day basis. The basic point is that we need to ensure that our content impacts and helps the consumer in their purchase journey. There are several touchpoints where content plays a role, be it this chat, PR, UGC and others. Brands may not define it as a content marketing strategy specifically, but each brand must be focussing on content as the core. In the end, the core remains the same: the customer buys the product and remains loyal to the brand.”

Subramanian pointed out that community building is one major area that is becoming a huge part of content strategy.

Gupta of Foxymoron said the conversations differentiating the mainline and digital agencies need to die. The thing that is levelling both is the homogeneous nature of the content. “At the end of the day today, the only difference between the DVC and TVC is cost.

“There are many ways in which brands can engage with consumers through content and brand managers need to continuously reinvent their content strategy,” he said.

Gupta said it is very important for content and media agencies to work in tandem because a consumer’s journey is now non-linear and the industry is still getting used to it. He said while content marketing can be done in all shapes and forms, talent also has to evolve as fast as content vehicles.

 “We don’t know if the consumer may research online and then go to the showroom first or go to the showroom first and then research online. But we have the ability to map what intent is leading to what content. Earlier a content agency used to make a creative and give it to a media agency. The job of the media agency was to distribute the content. Right now, both have to talk to each other and be absolutely in line with the brand’s content strategy. But doing all this isn’t easy. One needs to have the right talent at the agencies' and brands’ end to do it well.

Challapalli said brands must take into consideration the results beyond vanity metrics that it wants the content strategy to deliver. That quantification should dictate the brand’s content strategy and its investment.

“Everyone wants to do content but my question is why. If you don't do content, what is it that you will lose? What do you want to achieve from content? At the end of the day, it is business. You build your brand to sell. If the content is not going to do this then why are you doing it? What measurement metrics you used should form an integral part of content marketing. One can buy any number of views by spending money, but what beyond that?” he explained.

Challapalli emphasised the importance of having a way to track ROI on content beyond just views and reach. He said, “It’s about time we had a system in place to see how my content is affecting the brand.”

To know more what the panellists had to share on creating a content strategy that meets business objectives, click the link below:

Content Conversations Building a content strategy that meets business goals