When it comes to the future of digital marketing, there are a lot of unanswered questions. How is the gig economy impacting the creative industry? Are we close to true 1:1 marketing? Can brands measure which influencers truly ‘matter’ and which don't hold much sway? Jeff Ragovin, Chief Growth Officer at Social Native, sat down with Jeremy Goldman and Kiran Chetr, hosts of the FUTUREPROOF podcast, to discuss the evolution of content marketing. These are some of the key takeaways from their podcast.
Brands Are Tapping into the Gig Economy for Digital Marketing
This rise of freelancers has begun to irreversibly transform nearly every industry. The same way Uber and Airbnb upended the transportation and hospitality industries, respectively, Social Native is reinventing the creative industry. As Jeff points out, the days of centering an advertising strategy around a couple of carefully crafted, studio-rendered images are over:
“We created a platform that connects people -- like you and me -- with brands to remove overhead of the traditional creative process. We’re living in a new era, where the biggest question is: how do you market to your consumers, with content that's relevant to your consumers. ”
To break through in today’s digital world, brands need enough content to fill social feeds, galleries, websites, etc. Social Native has designed a platform that connects the dots between brands and their consumers. By empowering consumers to create content, brands are able to generate high volumes of authentic content on demand. These independent creators, supporting themselves via the gig economy, are turning around quality, custom creative work faster and more cost-effectively than alternative methods.
Consumer creators, fueled by the gig economy, remove the barriers and logistical hurdles of the traditional creative process. The creative process used to take weeks, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to create, and now takes days and only hundreds of dollars. For example, Coca-Cola wanted to become part of the ongoing conversation on National Sandwich Day, so they partnered with Social Native to create custom content that they could use across their social channels that day. Creators were asked to create an image with a healthy sandwich and bottle of Coca-Cola. With only a 3-hour time frame, Coca-Cola generated 30 custom images that they then used across their social channels. Taken together, consumers’ ability to create content and advertisers ability to distribute it and get feedback in real time are redefining every step of the advertising funnel.
Data is Driving 1:1, Personalized Advertising
Thanks to the explosion of smartphones and social media, people can now create and share content with just a few swipes of the finger. With more and more content being created and shared every day, competition for consumers’ attention is increasing, making it harder than ever for advertisements to gain exposure.
Brands will win this game by using data to cut through the noise with relevant content that resonates on an individual level. We are on the cusp of a breakthrough in advertising, where brands will be able to tailor their marketing to connect with consumers on an individual level. Before long, brands will be able to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. This is the ultimate win for consumers, who will get personalized ad experiences, or as Jeff says -- ads that don’t suck.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between brands and people and provide a level of personalization and creative that people aren’t going to get annoyed at.”
Brand Ambassadors are Redefining Influencer Marketing
The question is no longer if a brand should utilize influencer marketing, it’s how. That said, when it comes to influencer marketing, brands should think micro, not macro. In this podcast, Jeff compares celebrities to TV advertising in the digital world:
“Look at advertising on TV, If you’re a brand and you’re advertising on a specific channel, that doesn’t mean that the channel endorses your brand, it means that you’re paying for the audience who's watching your station.”
Celebrities might have hundreds of thousands of followers, but they’re often posting endorsements simply because they’re getting paid. In contrast, micro-influencers who have a niche and incredibly engaged following, are posting about brands and products that they have a genuine affinity for. The authenticity and relatability of micro-influencers have the power to spur real action. It's no surprise that marketers are turning to authentic creators -- instead of celebrities -- to influence purchasing decisions.
To sum it up, the future of digital marketing is evolving rapidly. What the industry will look like in 1, 5, or 10 years is still very much a mystery. However, one thing is certain: the relationship between brands and consumers is more important than ever before.