Why Content Marketing Matters

Why Content Marketing MattersWhy content marketing matters

In 1996, Bill Gates published an essay titled, “Content is King” to the Microsoft website. In it, Gates states, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on theInternet.” He was right. And he is right, because over two decades later, content is still the key to the consumer. Content marketing lays the foundation for every other online strategy. Here’s how:

 

+Content helps build SEO by providing more keywords that are used in search.

+Content attracts new traffic. SEO and interlinking strategies bring in new visitors.

+Content enhances the value and credibility of your landing page, increasing your search ranks.

+Credibility isn’t just for search engines. The more users that see your content, the more brand equity you will earn. 

+Content allows you to build relationships with other brands and industries and creates earned links.

+Content provides valuable material for digital and social media marketing.

+Content establishes your website as a source for information consumers need. Consumers will be more likely to return to your website, sign up for newsletters or share with their network. 

+Content encourages conversions. Well written, relative content with a well-placed call-to-action will result in conversions.

+Last but not least, content sticks. Unlike a paid digital ad or social post with a short lifespan, you will continue to reap benefits from quality content for the life of the post.

What DCC Loves

A few things we at DCC love. Celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing something you love!

Kara Demirjian-Huss loves family time, Peloton, espresso and ILLINI!

 

Lacey loves her dog, Fig.

 

Evelyn loves her cat, Ember, and ordering in dinner and watching a movie. AJ loves cats too!

 

Jennifer loves being able to read a book uninterrupted.

 

Brandy loves thrifting.

 

Pam loves a good nap.

 

Erasmo loves listening to and playing music.

Integrating Sales and Marketing

Sales needs marketing and marketing needs sales. So what can we do to ensure sales and marketing teams collaborate effectively? Here are three top tips:

 

Identify the Target

Streamlining the target demographic for your brand is imperative. Marketers have data and metrics to identify and target your brand’s demographic, which generates valuable leads that are likely to advance through the consumer continuum. That’s when sales comes in to cultivate the relationship and drive conversions. By isolating the target audience, it makes less work more effective for the sales team. Work smarter, not harder.

 

What’s the #GOAL?

Marketers think long term, whereas sales is more concerned about meeting this month’s quota. Setting common goals between both teams will get everyone on the same page. Today’s consumers tend to educate themselves before they shop, making campaigns with strong branding and content marketing necessary. Marketers generate, nurture and grow leads so that sales can seal the deal, up-sell or cross-sell to reach the identified KPIs.

 

Communicate

Both teams could learn a lot from each other—and should—regularly. Keeping an open dialogue helps optimize strategies for conversions. Sales can look at web data to offer insights and provide customer feedback while marketers can look at completed sales to calculate ROI. Finding and fixing bottlenecks in the consumer continuum requires both parties working together in harmony.

The Key to a Successful Messaging Strategy

At the heart of every successful messaging strategy is a differentiated, motivational and sustainable brand story—from which all brand messaging originates. Brand stories are not just who you are by definition or how you express yourselves through tone or voice, but it serves as the conceptual core for all you say and do as a brand.

  1. Storytelling is a universal language that transcends social and cultural differences.

Even the most diverse groups of people can find commonalities through storytelling, because they follow a defined arc and appeal to emotions and experiences that are innately human. Because stories are so connected to human experience, it is also important to consider the mediums in which you are communicating. Don’t subscribe to the notion that a story is limited to written or spoken word. With a well-defined messaging strategy, you are not bound by traditional definitions of storytelling. Engage other senses to relate to your audience.

 

  1. Stories help us actualize abstract concepts and simplify complex messaging.

When learning new concepts or information, analogies, personal anecdotes or real-life examples can help us better understand that knowledge in the context of our own lives. It is not easy to distill multiple large, amorphous ideas into an effective messaging strategy—so, consider the brand story as a vehicle for your brand values. Through storytelling, a multitude of talking points can coalesce into one, compelling narrative that is easy for your audience to understand.

 

  1. Stories are scientifically proven to increase attention and comprehension.

Neuroscience proves that storytelling is the most effective way to capture attention, increase comprehension, and forge brand loyalty through connection. Pathos-driven marketing influences intent and drives action—meaning consumers rely on emotions, rather than information, to make decisions. When our brains process information from stories rather than facts, the neural activity increases fivefold. Subsequently, the chances that your brain will recall the information increases exponentially.  

Snapchat & TikTok Marketing Tips

This isn’t your typical “how to place Snapchat ads” article – if you’re looking for step by step instructions or details about each type of ad, there are hundreds of articles out there. I’m taking you behind the scenes of a real marketer who places Snapchat and TikTok ads on the reg. If you want honest, effective tips on how to generate high performing ads across these platforms, keep reading.

If you’re thinking about advertising on Snapchat or TikTok, you’re likely trying to reach a younger audience. The ideal age to reach via these platforms are teenagers, specifically 15-25 year-olds for Snapchat and 10-30 year-olds on TikTok. If you’re trying to reach 50-year-olds, for example, C-suite executives, you’re in the wrong place. In fact, only 5% of US 56+ year-olds use Snapchat (source) and only 11% of US 50+ individuals use TikTok (source).

Great, so now we’ve established that you’re trying to reach people who have never heard of The Wonder Years. Now you need to think about what your goals are. Both Snapchat and TikTok are great platforms for brand awareness and app installs. Neither of these platforms have many options when it comes to targeting highly specific individuals (we’ll get more into this later). Trying to get the word out to everyone and anyone in your age demographic and location? You’re in the right place. Looking to reach industrial manufacturers to promote a new engine? You’re better off somewhere else (and may want to contact us for help…). To give you an example, we recently ran a campaign for a SNAP-Ed program to get the word out to eligible households about pandemic relief funding being mailed to their door. In order to reach as many people in a target audience with lifestyle, demographic, geographic and socioeconomic attributes, we knew Snapchat and TikTok would be ideal platforms. And we were right… we were able to get the word out to over 1.6 million affected people in less than a month! Okay, enough about us, let’s talk about what your content needs to look like to get results like this.

Content is one of the most important aspects of advertising on these platforms. You don’t want to do your classic stock image with a catchy headline and description – these work great on other platforms, but you won’t see the same performance on Snapchat or TikTok. Put in the extra work to create great content specific to these platforms and you’ll see exponentially improved results. For both Snapchat and TikTok, video is the optimal ad format. Users are on these platforms with the intention of consuming content in the form of videos and likely have some extra time to kill. Next, remember that your content will only show on mobile devices and will need to be sized accordingly. Be aware of the various limitations with where you want to put your logo/text – TikTok will have words or icons that appear over your content.

This is where Snapchat and TikTok vary slightly. You have more options with the type of content that will perform well on Snapchat. Check out these Snapchat success stories for some ideas. For TikTok, the best type of ad content mirrors organic content you see on the platform. Spend some time browsing the platform and pay close attention to the content that’s trending or that catches your eye instantly. TikTok trends are always changing, so browsing online won’t always provide the best information – you’re better off going directly to the source. While you’re at it, make sure to pause any time you come across an advertisement and take notes on how well it engaged you. Remember, you’re advertising to people who have grown up spending hours on end browsing social media. These users have been trained to quickly identify an ad and swipe past it almost instantly. Your ads should grab user attention within the first 2 seconds, as opposed to your typical 2-5+ seconds on other platforms. The best performing content will “trick” users into thinking they’re watching Addison Rae before they realize they’ve started learning about your brand (and if you don’t know who that is, you need to do more research). Here are some examples to get you started.

Now to start placing the ads. As a digital marketing specialist that places ads across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and more I have to say these platforms are not the friendliest for marketers. Being relatively new to the advertising space, you can tell they still have some work cut out for them. But being some of the most used and effective social media channels across our target age group, we can’t avoid using them. TikTok has your typical campaign goals – reach, traffic, app installs, video views, lead generation and conversions. Snapchat, however, only has website visits, calls & texts, app installs, app visits, and their newest feature Promote Local Place. A few things I’ve noticed while using these platforms that differ from other digital advertising platforms are:

  1. You can’t save the campaign as you go, and you can’t save audiences for future use. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you go to place the ad.
  2. Minimum daily budgets are $5/day for Snapchat and $20/day for TikTok. This will be important to know in advance if you’re working with a low budget.
  3. Copy is limited – you’ll get a short headline and description, but you won’t be able to fit much information in those. You’ll want to incorporate all of the information into the content itself.

Lastly, just like any other digital platform, always test out different content to see what works for your business. Both Snapchat and TikTok provide basic analytics such as reach, impressions, clicks, conversions, cost, etc. but neither will get as granular as something like Google. Pay attention to the click-through-rates, cost-per-clicks and conversion rates, and always make sure to use UTM URLs so you can track how users from these channels are engaging with your website content.

Take this information and use it to create the top performing Snapchat and TikTok ads you’ve always dreamed of having. And if you need any extra tips, we’re always here to help.

Evelyn Demirjian
Account Executive & Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
DCC Marketing

World Emoji Day 2021

For World Emoji Day, DCC decided to take a look at the usage of emojis across social platforms. These emotional graphics have transformed the way we communicate. With over 100 new emojis being introduced over the next year, integrating emojis into your digital strategy can encourage engagement from your followers and boost social post performance. Sometimes, a picture is really worth a thousand words.

Sources:
Prisco, J. C. (2018, May 22. Shigetaka Kurita: The man who invented emoji. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/emoji-shigetaka-kurita-standards-manual/index.html

Marmer, D. (2018, April 9). These Emojis Can Increase Click-Through Rates, According to New Data. HubSpot. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-emojis?zd_source=mta&zd_campaign=15103&zd_term=vanditagrover&toc-variant-a=

Hunt, P. D. (2021, July 15). World Emoji Day 2021: How emoji can help create a more empathetic world, for all of us. Adobe Blog. https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2021/07/15/global-emoji-trend-report-2021.html#gs.6ln95e

Multicultural Experience

 

 

Five years ago, I started one of the most challenging moves of my life—I was moving to the United States and looking to start a new life.

Since I’m a foreigner and English is my second language, you would think that the language was my main concern. Right? No. Of course, working in a second language is a challenge, but after years working in Brazil creating campaigns in Portuguese and dealing with Brazilian audiences and their culture–the culture I was used to since I was born, I had to switch gears and learn a totally different culture. Believe me—even with a huge influence of American culture, it was not easy.

On one hand, it gave me a different perspective of US culture. I could observe points and nuances that Americans are so used to that sometimes they don’t even notice.

Also, as both a creative and cultural analyst, part of my job is to work on different campaigns dealing with diverse audiences—providing insights and direction in developing effective design and content. I believe it is a true asset to have a multicultural analyst on staff at an agency because understanding audiences and cultures is an important part of every company’s brand. Besides thinking about the target’s age, gender, financial status, behavior, etc. we must understand the culture and lifestyle of our audience. Without this lens, you would be missing a key part of understanding your consumer when developing your brand marketing strategy.

One example of our multicultural work was with the 2020 Census campaign. To achieve effective results, we had to segment the campaign’s audiences by ethnic and racial make-up—layering that on-top of other audience segmentation broken out by geography, socioeconomic conditions, and cultural lifestyles. A key part of this was working together with local community-based organizations who were trusted messengers and understood the cultural differences. Focus groups and interviews with these organizations helped us build relevant and authentic messaging which was then integrated into the campaign’s creative and implementation strategy.

We identified that a huge portion of the lack of census responses came from immigrants that didn’t understand English, who didn’t know what census was,  and who were concerned about giving their personal information—especially about their visa situation.

Aware of these concerns, we worked together with local communities’ organizations and created simplified messages—reinforcing that all information was totally confidential. We didn’t just translate the creative collateral.  We adjusted the languages, images, and slang to match each specific culture.

The success of this approach can be seen in the numbers. Illinois was ranked as the 7th state with most self-responded rate at 71.4%–very close to the 1st place state of Minnesota with 75.1%. The Illinois counties that partnered with DCC had great content engagement with an average of 70% self-responded rate. Six of those counties were in the Top 10 census response results for the state of Illinois.

Source: 2020census.gov

If you want to know more about our multicultural experience or would like to view our case studies, check out our Multicultural Marketing blog post or view our Portfolio page.

Erasmo Bussolin
Senior Art Director
DCC Marketing

University of Illinois SNAP-Education Selects DCC Marketing for Statewide Social Marketing Campaign

Chicago, IL – University of Illinois SNAP-Education has selected DCC Marketing to guide and develop a statewide social marketing campaign. The SNAP-Education program provides practical healthy eating and physical activity solutions for Illinois families and forms strategic partnerships locally, regionally and across the state to transform the health of limited-resource families in Illinois. In Illinois, SNAP-Education is provided through University of Illinois Extension and University of Illinois at Chicago’s Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion.

“We are excited to have DCC Marketing as our partner for this important project. Their work for the 2020 Census gave us great confidence in their ability to deliver strategic messaging that resonates with our target audiences—particularly their ability to inspire action in low-income and hard-to-count populations. They also have strong relationships with community-based organizations that will support our efforts,” said Beth Peralta, Media Communications Specialist, University of Illinois Extension.

According to state statistics, 1 in 8 households live in poverty and 13% of households receive SNAP benefits to supplement food shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the need for assistance with estimates of food insecure individuals reaching 50 million across the country—a 43% increase.

DCC Marketing will provide campaign messaging for SNAP-Education that focuses on the following goals:
• Improve the diet quality and increase physical activity of SNAP eligible families to promote overall health, reduce chronic disease and achieve healthy body weight.
• Increase food access opportunities for SNAP eligible families within identified communities to alleviate food insecurity.

Additionally, DCC Marketing will play a role in evaluating needs, resources and opportunities with agency partners across the state and grassroots engagement with participants. “I couldn’t be more honored to work on a project that will have such an impact throughout our state. Nutrition and physical activity are at the heart of wellness, but making lasting change in behavior is rarely a simple process. The education programs delivered through SNAP-Ed can change lives and improve the health of our underserved communities.” said Kara Demirjian Huss, President of DCC Marketing.

DCC is a full service agency that bridges the gap from strategy to execution reaching multicultural, multilingual audiences effectively. We are located in Chicago and Decatur, IL and certified both as an Illinois Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

As reported on Yahoo! Finance, Markets Insider, AP News, Benzinga, MarketWatch, Daily Herald

Looking Forward: 2021

A look back at 2020 and a look forward into 2021 with Melissa Amedeo

In a pandemic year, advertising became more important than ever. While some companies may have looked to cut media spending, those who continued to advertise likely saw huge benefits in staying in-market with their messaging in 2020. Understanding audience behaviors and leveraging insights will continue to be critical to successful marketing in 2021.

Q: What were some of the strategies companies used in 2020 and how do you see those strategies continuing into 2021?

  1. One of the largest trends I saw was related to influencer marketing.  
  • A shining example that sticks in my mind is the skateboarder drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice while singing a Fleetwood Mac song. The video went viral and was turned into a TV commercial. I loved the spirit and recognition Nathan Apodaca received from his original video. Social engagements by both Ocean Spray and Mick Fleetwood were even included in the ad that was produced.
  • At DCC, we saw the need to shift to influencer marketing with our 2020 US Census work as well.  When the pandemic hit, the door-to-door grassroots marketing efforts were affected. Utilizing a network of over 360 community organizations throughout the state of Illinois, we were able to produce videos that could be used in digital marketing campaigns. These community influencers represented people across the state of Illinois as they talked about the social issues that were most important to diverse population segments. The city of Chicago alone has 77 local neighborhoods—each with their own community issues, concerns, and influences.

Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2021, and TikTok is a platform that is becoming increasingly relevant. TikTok may primarily be a GenZ platform, but with 80% of these users influencing their parents’ purchases and 47% of TikTok users making a purchase based on what they saw in TikTok content (TikTok: For Business X AdAge Studio 30), understanding the power of this social platform will be critical in the upcoming year.

  1. A second trend we saw in 2020 with more people being home was the explosion of Over the Top TV (OTT)
  • The pandemic accelerated the trend of people leaving pay TV for streaming services such as HULU, Netflix, Disney+, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.  
  • This created a vast opportunity for advertisers to shift to these platforms as pay TV households are expected to continue to decline. The number of US Pay TV households will decline 7.5% to 77.6 million this year. The non-pay TV household total, which combines cord-cutters and cord-nevers, will reach 51.7 million. (US Digital Video 2020 Pandemic Boosts Streaming Video View, emarketer)

For 2021 and beyond this trend is poised to continue so it will increasingly become a place for advertisers to allocate marketing dollars. As an industry OTT is expected to grow to 222 million US subscription viewers by 2024. (US Digital Video 2020 Pandemic Boosts Streaming Video View, emarketer)

  1. A third trend which ties to both of the above is video content
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers are the most connected age groups to the internet and watching videos is their preferred way to be entertained or learn new things. When it comes to advertising to Gen Z, 87% of Gen Z prefers ads or marketing content that shows actual people discussing products. 
  • YouTube users watch 1 billion hours worth of videos every day. But they are not the only social channel where video engagement is exploding. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and let’s not forget TikTok many of these platforms are seeing Video as the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics. And promotional videos and brand storytelling videos are the most common.  (Hubspot)

Look for video to continue to lead the way in content for 2021. Marketers will need to find a way to ensure they transition to a “video first” mentality and find an agency who is skilled at creating engaging videos in an affordable way. We’ve been working with many of our clients to solve this exact challenge. (see our demo reel) If video is not part of your marketing tactics, prioritizing it in 2021 will be critical

  1. A fourth trend is Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Google Ads continues to hone their capabilities and help marketers optimize campaigns. The past few years has seen dramatic advancement in managing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising budgets. 
  • Automation tools are decreasing the need for manual bid optimization. And optimization is not just a Google Ads tool any more.  Facebook has gotten into the dynamic ad serving, automation learning game with the ability to serve Dynamic Creative quickly resulting in the ability to serve hundreds, if not thousands, of ad variations to your target audiences. 

Look for this automation to continue to hone its reliability even further over the next few years.

  1. The last trend I want to discuss is around the type of creative we’ve seen in social ads
  • We already discussed the importance of having a video content plan, but brands have an opportunity to build other interactive creative assets that will engage audiences and can leverage the ad automation for creative optimization discussed above.
  • Create and test different types of ad formats against your audiences
    • Static
    • Carousel
    • Collections
    • Sponsored content
    • Messenger ads
    • Text message ads
    • Gifs

As you build out strategy, messaging and creative in 2021, understand your audiences and develop creative that can be served dynamically to your customers. Optimize and monitor the creative continuing to leverage the creative that works best with your audience as you guide them through their journey to your brand.

Melissa Amedeo
Chief Development Officer
DCC Marketing

Multicultural Marketing

The United States of America has one of the most diversified and culturally complex identities in the world. Since the European colonization, the United States has been receiving millions of immigrants from all over the world, resulting in a blending of cultural backgrounds.

Nowadays, from the 327.2 million people living in the US, 44.7 million are immigrants1. That means that almost 15% of the population has a diverse heritage, which reflects on their behavior, opinion, religion, tradition, and art. This percentage grows even more if we count the next generation of these immigrants. Even though these people are US natives, they are raised under their parent’s cultural influence as well. According to the Migration Policy Institute, about a quarter of US children live with at least one immigrant parent.

Although there are habits and values that the population usually shares (American or foreign-born), it is important not to generalize or take for granted that everybody thinks differently. That is why it’s essential to have a multicultural approach in marketing.

What is Multicultural Marketing?

Multicultural Marketing is the ability to identify, understand and of course respect the different behaviors in different ethnic groups and apply this knowledge to a marketing campaign. It considers and reaches out to one or more culturally diverse audiences instead of just the primary culture in a certain location.

With multicultural consumers growing fast in the United States, we can assume investments in multicultural marketing are already high. However, the reality is not enough money is spent to reach these consumers, as current multicultural investments represent only 5.2% of the total spent in media.

How can we explore this marketing segment?

As any marketing strategy, we need to research the cross-cultural differences of all of our target audiences, allowing us to identify and understand their behavior, interests and desires.

With all this information in hand, we are able to select the appropriate culturally-specific messaging for the campaign, matching it to the audience’s cultural references, such as traditions, language, festivities, instead of the regular marketing campaigns that usually overlook the aspects of diversity and just translate the message.

For example, the audience may speak English, but they’ll appreciate it if you adjust the message to their native language and their culture. And I mean, not literally translating it, but speaking in a way that feels personal, adjusting the language and the references to their cultural background. It could be represented by a same culture person, a cultural icon, regional slang, a place, artistic manifestation, etc. They will not only appreciate it, but they will feel represented, developing a connection to your campaign and brand.

You should be careful and avoid stereotypes.

Often, brands rely on cultural stereotypes to deliver their message—which can turn off audiences. A deep understanding of the culture and their references is necessary. A simple misunderstanding or lack of sensitivity could be disrespectful, offending the audience and ruining the efforts.

So do your homework, research, collect data, interview people, create a focus group, and partner with community influencers.

Let us help you reach your audience and achieve a successful result in your next campaign! Contact us.

1U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey.

Erasmo Bussolin
Senior Art Director
DCC Marketing

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