- The internet and growth of use of discussion forums and blogs (circa 2000)
- The explosion of social media (circa 2008)
- The ubiquitous access now provided by mobile devices.
Because of the increase in the free marketing space, traditional marketing methods are losing their effectiveness. Customers are gaining more influence over brand messaging, and seek “word of mouth” communications as well as institutional messages.
To counter this, marketers have begun to develop Engagement Marketing Strategies to engage the free marketing space. These strategies include a Content Marketing program.
A Content Marketing program is designed to develop content that is pushed out through the various social media networks that allow marketers to engage with their customers directly, rather than rely on traditional, third party, media. This content, via Tweets, Facebook updates, and YouTube clips for example, is designed to engage audiences and build community around the brand. Some of the content is then shared outside of the community, which in turn, brings more customers, and prospective customers, into the community. As the community gains size, the brand is able to better influence the dialogue in the free marketing space.
This framework was originally conceived in 2006, as a means to discuss the free marketing space, its impact, and the importance of transparency in communications; it was a white paper published by Zehno Communications. The concept was updated in 2010, to address the emergence of Social Media vehicles.
The framework was reworked and updated by Southwark Consulting, in 2014; it was part of a presentation at the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) Annual Conference, for business school marketers, to illustrate the importance of an effective content marketing program.