September 10, 2020 Richard Jones

How to differentiate your content marketing from your competitors

Our innovative approach to measuring engagement helps our clients challenge common beliefs about their audiences’ interests and get the most from their content marketing budget. This case study shows how.

For one of our banking clients, IMMedia used our proprietary IMMediate platform to identify SME content preferences across five markets in South East Asia. We started by capturing and classifying engagement levels of SME-related content created by the client and their competitor banks in each market, over the last 12 months.

To remove the ‘blinkers’ of the banking sector, IMMediate then analysed the wider content preferences and affinities of SMEs in each market. This allowed us to understand content topics, formats and messaging styles that SMEs preferred, when they were not consuming content created by banks.

A new way to deliver relevant insights
Developed in Python, with secure cloud hosting from our partners at Amazon Web Services, IMMediate harvested and analysed 25,000+ multi-language content pieces from the five markets.

With so much data, how did IMMediate make sense of it all?

Our analysis showed that SMEs had no real affinity towards ‘funding’ or ‘loans’. This insight alone allowed us to challenge the common belief amongst some of the client’s management that “SMEs want content (from banks) about financial products and support”.

Yes, when SMEs visit a bank’s website, they engage with some of the transactional, product-driven content available. But, when SMEs visit content created by ‘non-banks’ in the wider content landscape, they consume content about a much wider spectrum of topics.

IMMediate showed that few/none of the banks in each market created content about that wider spectrum of topics that SMEs are really interested in. This insight generated a significant opportunity for our client to differentiate versus its competitive set and engage with its target SME audience.

A new metric reveals the content topics your customers are really craving
Using its unique metric, the Engagement Index (Ei), IMMediate summarised the top SME content preferences (Ei Topic Groups) across each market, then cross-referenced them to identify similarities and differences across topics, formats and messaging styles.

As a result, IMMediate identified Regional Ei Topic Groups, or Regional Content Pillars, that could be applied to each of the markets, to give regional consistency.

Under each Content Pillar were up to 15 sub-topic groups that were ranked in weight to reflect local preferences in each market. This allowed the creation of regionally consistent, locally relevant content calendars for each market.

Unprecedented increases in traffic, conversion and engagement
As a result of revealing new topics, content that was created using the new content pillars hugely out-performed the client’s expectations, with website traffic increasing, more people coming back more often, and around 20% of traffic passing from the new content to the client’s relevant product pages.

The client’s Ei score also increased versus their competitive set in each market, indicating that the new content allowed them to differentiate and set themselves apart from standard, product-driven banking content. Refreshing and relatively immediate effects delivered within three months of starting to publish the content series.

Lessons learned

  • Use AI and ML to answer a problem, not for the sake of it. IMMediate’s AI/ML tech unlocked audience preference insights and competitor strategies that enabled our client to transform from a producer of product/brand-driven content, to a creator of content that SMEs truly valued.
  • Forge relationships with your clients that show you understand their audiences and the best ways to connect with them. Show how this will deliver competitive and commercial advantage, and build relationships outside of marketing, across all markets, to generate a ‘pull’ for your services.
  • Create a halo effect: giving your client something new to talk about, that makes them stand out within their business. As a result of the innovative work, IMMedia now works with the bank’s consumer and corp comms teams.
  • Always build on your momentum and continuously innovate to evolve and grow your proposition. At IMMedia, we co-develop ‘IMMediate AI/ML Development Roadmaps’ with our clients. Split into streams, the roadmaps ensure IMMediate continues to provide unique audience insights, and deliver competitive advantage, content ROI and commercial benefits to our clients in the future.

A genuine point of difference
IMMediate uses AI and ML to help solve business problems and to answer our client’s questions, rather than being used just for the sake of it. In addition to helping our editorial team and clients understand audience content preferences, competitor strategy, and streamline content production, IMMediate also creates a genuine point of difference for IMMedia.

Contact us for a chat to find out how IMMediate could help map out new content opportunities for your business