Content Marketing World, Sydney

Following is a discussion panel transcript from Content Marketing World Sydney held at Sheraton on the Park on 18 March 2015.  This will appear as a 3 part series.

Panel members above from left to right: Richard Parker: Joint Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Edge. Nigel Lopez Macbea: Associate Director, Social Media & Content Marketing at Optus. Jane Power: Director, Brand and Health Care at Bupa ANZ. Amanda Crews: EM Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs at Suncorp Life. 

Part 1

Richard Parker:
Hello everyone and welcome. Today we're going to talk the problem of how to hire, train and manage a content team. Firstly let me give you a little bit of background to set the scene.

Everyone who’s been here for the last day or so will know that developing a strong brand story and creating highly effective content at scale is just as much an organizational challenge as it is a marketing challenge. There are very few Australian organizations that have managed to build a large scale content operation in-house and lots of Aussie companies are relying on their agencies and on freelancers. This is changing very quickly. I think most businesses now understand that to move forward, they're going to develop in-house capability to manage and create content at scale.

We're going to talk to questions around what should brands do to successfully make that transition from external resource to internal resource.

I'm going to start off by asking you a question Jane. I understand that over the last 12 months you've seen a big shift towards content marketing at Bupa. Can you briefly outline your content strategy? What you currently do in this space and how your structure is around content?

Jane Power:
Sure, thanks Richard. Our team is very much about delivering the brand story and we see content having a pretty important role to play with that. In this market particularly, Bupa was known as a health insurer, but we do a lot more than that.  And storytelling is a core part of the strategy that we could take forward to educate. It would be fair to say we're very early in that journey and madly building that capability.

A quick question to you Nigel. Edge have been working very closely with you on using social content experiences to deliver not only brand experience but also customer service and audience acquisition.

Can you briefly outline how you see the role of content developing in the future and how you currently set up to deliver it? Maybe touch on who’s in your team and how it works for you.

Nigel Lopez Macbea:
Yeah I think that the future of content for particularly in telecoms is a massive, and there’s a couple of really good examples of the sheer breadth of things that people are doing.

One of my favorite content marketing examples is BT in the UK. What is it that the British consumer values more than anything else? What is the content they want? That content is football, so they go out and they spend £750 million, and give that to their existing customers free. As content marketing executions go, that's pretty sensational.

From a marketer’s perspective I think the thing that we really are going to be working hard on in the next year, is the whole business of obviously acquisition, of course we're in the telecom business, but also providing content to help people understand products that are increasingly delivered to capacity. As the mobile business gets more and more complicated, people need more content to explain various elements of it.

From an in-house perspective, the way our team is set up, we can’t split it in 2. We have to rely quite heavily on our partners, simply because of the sheer breadth of content that we need to produce. Also it’s important that the editorial and the lens of that content is kept in-house because there’s just certain things that you just can't know if you don’t work in the building.

Again from a content perspective, if you look at a deal like the guys from Virgin in Canada who are also a telco, and the recent deal that they've done with Vice is a $100 million content deal. Effectively, if you take the idea of our newsroom and exploding to $100 million you get your own film studio, ability to create content, ability to deliver that to our customers. That whole future of content question is a very, very important one.

Yeah absolutely. What's interesting is Jane you're at the start of a content journey and Nigel’s quite far down the path. I think Amanda you guys are also some way down the line in creating an internal content team. Can you tell us why you embarked on that and maybe describe the team you've recruited from both internal and external sources over the last 12 months?

Amanda Crews:
We had an imperative to get closer to our customers. At the same time as being a customer engagement play, it’s also a cost rationalisation play as well. We recognize that we are spending a lot of money on traditional media to try and get out there and engage with our audiences. That’s an unsustainable business model for us. Our imperative was to shift from campaign to content to find platforms and to post from those platforms.

I took people from the lines of marketing, from life insurance and from digital integration. Over and above that, I put our head of external communications who’s got a media and journalistic background. We were able to create a team to accelerate ourselves into the space of content quite quickly.

We are already 6 months into the journey. We did employ 2 external people, a person with a media background again, and also somebody with a content marketing strategy background who came from the ARU. He’s got quite a few stripes in developing the actual strategic direction for the content marketing team.

Thanks. I think we're at an interesting stage in the development of content marketing at the moment where one of the questions I get increasingly asked by journalists in the trade space is, “Are we seeing brands putting more money into content-driven marketing and shifting their budget out of traditional advertising and is those content-driven disciplines?” Can any of you guys talk through that? Are you involved in shifting those budgets at the moment, and how big are those shifts?

Yeah I can talk about that, absolutely. One of the things we'll probably get to later on is ROY but at Suncorp we've got a view that there’s a 70/20/10 split in how you look at the marketing budget. The last 10% is in that innovative discretionary space where rules around showing return really quickly are relaxed, allowing for experimentation.

We definitely have shifted our marketing budget from where it would traditionally lie. Specifically we shifted it from the above the line perspective, from a paper-based newsletter that cost us all of the magnitude $360,000 a year to produce, twice, and probably ended up in people’s bins. That was very good seed money for us for our life content marketing strategy.

Yeah okay. At Optus, how are you guys changing?

I don’t think so much it’s about changing total amounts. It’s probably more about changing the conversation with people who you’ll be working. We tend to use a bit of a wedding analogy internally which is where very often if you use the word ‘advertising’ around this sort of thing, the cost tends to increase the cost of everything. If you use the word ‘content’ to deliver exactly the same thing, the cost-savings and efficiencies and agility is there. Different agencies historically are used to charging things at a certain rate.

We just talked a little bit about what stages you guys are at in that journey of building content in-house. Amanda what percentage of content produced by Suncorp is created in-house versus externally roughly?

Yeah so we're already 6 months into the plan. We've got 2 platforms, one for our life insurance plan and one for superannuation plan. We've actually partnered with Edge too to help us develop our platforms for superannuation which is called Raising Black. At the moment it’s like a 70/80% split external. As we grew through the continuum of actually launching that and then going forward, our anticipation is that we'll do much more of that back in-house. The relies on agency will be less.

However we still have a view that partnership and collaboration is really important, not only for the content that can come to you, from various different influences, but because you've got different and diverse audiences right across the spectrum. You can't ever think that you will be able to create all your content in-house. It simply wouldn't be an engaging experience for a customer. Influences and partnering with influences has really been part of our strategy.


Look out for Part 2 of 'How To Build Content Capability' next week.