Why you should stop creating content and start creating experiences

“I would want to be a God at getting people to give a shit,” said Ryan Brown, head of brand strategy at Ceros, as he took to the stage at the Adobe Summit and asked the audience what type of marketing Gods they want to be.

It’s what prefaced a talk about the role brands can play in creating meaningful experiences for customers.

In a world of so many touch-points, customer experience has overtaken price and product as a key differentiator for brands and, according to Brown, many are letting themselves down in the digital arena.

“Many brands are stuck in the past,” said Brown, acknowledging that while the might be playing in the digital space, they could be doing it better.

As an example, he pulled up a text-heavy website that could be mistaken for a PDF.

What many brands don’t realise he said is “experience is more than just customer service”. It spreads from real-world experiences, to online as well.

“We are bombarded by tons and tons of marketing messages every day in real life and I the digital world.

“There’s a good opportunity to create good experiences that stand out.”

But how do you stand out?

Brown said content has to be animated, brought to life and presented in an engaging way.  

“Shifting from something that is a passive experience to something that is active helps to make it more sticky and more memorable.”

Here were his 12 tips to stop creating content and start creating experiences:

  • Stop writing at and start writing for

Put your customer at the forefront of your outputs and be driven by what they want.

  • Make it POP – have a purpose, outcome and plan

Achieving that first step is made easier by considering your content’s purpose, what business result you are trying to achieve with it and how it will achieve these things.

Alongside this, Brown said it’s important to consider your customer’s purpose for reading it, what do they want to get out of it, and how will they want to consume it.

  • Strategy first, tactics second

“You need to break free of the content boxes.”

Too often, prescribing the form of multi-media to a piece of content is the first step and in turn, the content becomes a piece written for the media rather than the customer. To solve this, the content needs to determine the media.

  • Be sketchy

Move away from the laptops, get out a pen and paper and map out the key moments for your customers.

  • Find the balance of art and science

Marketers need to rethink how they use data. While marketing science is a growing conversation, art and creativity are more important than ever.

 “Experiences are formed by creativity and informed by data.

“If we can use data to inform better creativity in marketing I think there is a lot of potential.”

  • Give creativity a seat at the table

Involve your designer from the beginning — don’t just flick them a PDF and expect them to create magic from it.

  • PD4MC (product development for marketing content)

Treat content as a product. Consider all the resources you have at your disposal to create the best possible experience, from your UX developers to back end designers. Give them all a seat at the table.

  • Old dogs, new tricks

Don’t be afraid to revisit old content and re-imagine it in an engaging way.

  • New dog, old tricks

Don’t just share your content on one platform. Re-purpose it across all your platforms.

  • With analytics comes great responsibility

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to looking for KPIs. They need to be determined by the purpose of the content and what customers want to get out of it.

While the longer the dwell time often means the greater response to the content, in some cases, a long dwell time could be a cause of frustration to the customer.

The same goes for clicks. How many buttons do customers click on before they get to where they want to go?

  • Personal over personalise

Getting personal doesn’t necessarily mean showing customers the same content over and over. Think about broadening their horizons in a meaningful way.

  • Be the architect of your brand

Take pride in the experiences you create.

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