Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 969
, Published on 16 January 2013
It is the age of content conundrum, for it is the new trend in marketing and companies big or small alike are leveraging the power of content to increase their visibility online. Content marketing is just a quicker way of gaining access to your customers, something which internet marketing which also does. In layman’s terms content marketing is pushing content about your product/service so that it is available for the user to read it.
Content marketing is a subset of internet marketing; it doesn’t involve SEO or using complex algorithms. Gone are the times when we used to go in brick and mortar stores, and did the purchase in the store itself. In 2011, 118 million people in India had internet access and more than 26 million could access internet through mobile phones, says a Euromonitor survey. These numbers are all set to grow. Today’s tech-savvy urban consumers make sure that they don’t purchase a product or avail a service unless they have heard about it from someone. Even for products that are not purchased online example like durables, people read reviews online and finally purchase it from brick and mortar stores. This means benefits for consumers, content creators/providers and also to the clients/customers/sellers. Let us read each side of the story.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CUSTOMERS?
The sellers albeit local shops of any city or any entrepreneurial ventures etc. could leverage this opportunity to make the most of this phenomenon called content marketing. The content creation market is developed in US and Europe, for they are the ones who are ready to pay for content. Indian players are not willing to pay for content. The Indian content providers thrive mostly on US clients and their clientele in India is weak or negligible. However, experts argue that India would catch up in the next few years. This translates to the fact that Indian customers (anyone who is in need of content) do not want to pay a price for the content created. Thus, forcing the content creators to provide high quality content at a very low price. In short, low cost quality content is available in the market which could be used by SMBs or any small players to increase their visibility online without paying a too high price.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CONTENT CREATORS?
The content creation industry is highly fragmented, there are a number of small players as the entry barriers are very low. The players who lead are big media houses or those who have a network of writers to facilitate the process of content creation. As mentioned earlier, the clientele they serve is mostly in US and Europe. They need to get ahead and educate the market about the importance of content then only the business would tick. They need to understand the process of value creation and delivery, which can be elaborated as below:
Creating and Delivering Value
A content creator serves as a one stop point of contact for customer/firms requiring content to be created. The problem with the industry is the high search and negotiation cost associated with finding the right people for the right job. As such the business of creating content has assumed considerable seriousness and structure with the developments in search engine technology.
Content Creators help bridge this gap by providing a one stop service outlet. The firm in need of content does not have to search for an appropriate writer or think about quality standards. Thus there are a few critical areas where Content Creators are creating values for its customer firms. First, theyare giving them a single point of contact for all content creation activities. All enquiries and feedback need only be directed at one source. Second, the task of searching for writers who can create good content is overcome as Content Creators uses its own pool of writers. Third, Content Creators serve as a solution provider. The client does not have to worry about the quality of content delivered as the content is reviewed and edited by editors appointed by Content Creators. Thus the issue of verifying quality of delivered content is not a major hurdle and the content may be published directly without much effort. Fourth, most of the players can deliver content according to the delivery channel. Example: Content suitable to blogging sites, social media like Facebook/twitter or even content such as newspaper articles, trade briefs, research reports etc can be delivered with ease. Finally, the mode of payment is also a one- time one point of contact payment to content creators. The trouble of paying each writer a different cost is gone thus further reducing transaction cost.
Few key players operating in this space include Textbroker.com, writeraccess.com, compendium.com, contentcrossroads.com etc. The business models of these companies are evolving and they are not sure of a proper revenue model.
Network Effects for Content Creators
It is evident that the content creators are a part of a two sided network. A two sided network with writer pool at one end and the companies in need of content on the other. It increases convenience for players at both ends. It serves as a single point of contact for companies who need only interact with Content Creators as well as for writers who get access to work from Content creators.
Negatives:However there are certain problems with the network. Lack of transparency is just one of them; demand side doesn’t know who is meeting their needs. Content Creators are the only service provider that they interact with. This brings in a lack of transparency in the system. With this barrier in between, it is difficult for platform members to associate with network effects. This weakens the dominance of a network and hence the stickiness of the players to the platform.
Positives: Certain members of the platform are discreetly interested in certain other players only. These mutually interested players develop a strong bond with each other and because they interact over this platform, they develop a stronger stickiness to the network. This phenomenon is called stickiness factor.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CONSUMER?
It would be easier for the consumers to find the content they want. Imagine a person who lands up in a state and he doesn’t understand the local language of that place. He would have great trouble in communicating and finding the information he needs if he has no contacts in that place. It is at this point that the reviews which are made available by shrewd sellers who understand the importance of content would come in handy and would definitely increase the business of the seller. Consumer look for eWoM, however it would be difficult to find judge the veracity of the content pushed by content creators. As the content created would most likely paint a rosy picture about the offerings of the customers. It is however certain that there would be a plethora of content in the near future, as the market matures. However, it would be up to the consumers to judge the veracity of the content.
THE STORY TOMORROW
It is not clear whether content creators would be able to survive this phase, with customers unwilling to pay for content and unable to foresee the benefits which lie ahead. When would customers be able to leverage the power of content? What kind of revenue models should the content creators operate on? How can the negative network effects be eliminated? Answer to all these alone can decide the future of the content business. But one thing is for sure, customer habits have changed, they need content and for them content is the king.