Food for thought: Why CMOs are building content creation capabilities in-house

Content production is a beast that needs constant fueling, especially as the number of owned, acquired and paid adaptive digital channels proliferates. So it’s no surprise to see marketers increasing their internal capabilities as a result.

This year The State of the CMO report shows that half of all respondents have invested in content production capabilities in the last 12 months. One in four also told us they would invest in content creation and production technology over the next 12-24 months.

In our latest Food for Thought feature, we ask several marketing leaders to tell us why in-house content creation and production is appealing, what channels, activities and customer interactions/touchpoints it has been the more important to have in-house content creation and production capability and what it offers in terms of marketing programs.

Alex Russel

Managing Director Media Marketing, Digital, Communication and Active Wellbeing, PharmaCare

For the remainder of 2022, digital marketing, content creation and e-commerce are the primary areas of focus for PharmaCare’s dedicated in-house healthcare “mini-agency”, The Beehive.

Headquartered on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, PharmaCare is an Australian born and built success story, 35 years in the making. The Beehive has been integral to its success – working as an extension of the brand team to produce compelling creative and content for health and wellness brands, from well-known vitamins and deodorants to moisturizers and snacks of superfoods.

Credit: Alix Russell, PharmaCare

Rather than working with partner creative agencies to develop copy, point-of-sale and other brand communications, PharmaCare chose to invest in growing the in-house team of The Beehive to increase and strengthen its content capabilities across a growing portfolio of products. These include trusted names such as Sambucol, Nature’s Way, Skin Doctors, Redwin, Bioglan, Ease-A-Cold, KP24, SUP, Go Natural, Brut and Norsca.

In the past 12 months, The Beehive expanded its expertise by hiring five new digital marketers to its team of 23 talented people. The team now includes strategists, designers, brand building experts, and vision and analytics professionals, who are responsible for everything from brand communications strategy to bespoke creative concepts, in through end-to-end packaging and TVC production.

Building our own in-house team means campaigns can be executed faster from brief to market. Changes can also be made quickly and we can better support the brands’ biggest customers to drive sales, including Coles, Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse. Review times are virtually non-existent, as a simple walk around the office and a conversation gets the job done.

Additionally, we have also found that maintaining a flat structure at The Beehive – rather than the traditional hierarchical structure you might find in an agency – keeps innovation, creativity and variety alive and thriving internally. We are buzzing with ideas every day; Therefore – The Beehive!

Charlie Spendlove

Marketing and Communications Manager, Guide Dogs

Chiara Belluomo

Digital Marketing Manager, Guide Dogs

At Guide Dogs, we have a highly engaged audience with a voracious appetite for content that extends beyond our beautiful guide dogs to the incredible stories of the visually impaired or blind people we serve.

Three years ago, we undertook a thorough review of our content strategy across the many channels on which we operate. The new strategy that emerged from this work saw a 4,331% increase in engagement, a 2,543% increase over previous years. Having the right team with the right intelligence to dynamically power the content our audience wants, at all times, has been critical to our success.

The arguments for an in-house content team were compelling. Staff are closer to the brand and have rich stories to share. They are also intimately familiar with audience information and the goals of our business strategy. But it can be difficult to scale internal teams quickly and efficiently.

Credit: Guide Dogs

We didn’t let that be a blocker. We’ve found that the benefits of an in-house team far outweigh the drawbacks, especially for guide dogs, where our passionate staff are best placed to tell our brand story and deliver the most organic content. more impactful to our loyal audience. From the start, we identified social media as one of the key areas where internal content teams can have the greatest impact.

As social media content evolves into authentic, off-the-cuff content, we invest in supporting and inspiring all staff – not just the marketing team – to become content creators. It is important to train staff to capture content when they are in the field providing services to clients or training future guide dogs. But it’s equally important to shift their mindset and embed the value of content to our audiences, making them proud to tell our brand story.

Examples of our work include our sleeping puppies filmed by our puppy raiser, DYI dog toys from our puppy development consultant, and our four-day YAP trip. [Young Adults Victoria]through our peer support program in Victoria.

We achieved this by working with our staff to remove perceived barriers in content creation and developing strategies to overcome these challenges. This included setting clear expectations with concrete examples and co-designing content guidelines, timelines and templates.

At the heart of our culture are the values ​​of teamwork and encouraging others. As a result, it’s no surprise that we’ve found that the most effective strategy for motivating everyone to be responsible for keeping our organization’s stories alive is to celebrate success. This closes the loop by making every content contributor aware of the impact of their stories in terms of social reach and engagement. It’s become a real competition internally to see which stories get the most traction.

As we invest in new social media channels like Tik Tok over the next 12 months, we expect to see this strategy reap rewards and create a source of authentic employee-generated content that will inspire, bring joy and will educate all of our audiences on the extraordinary impact of having guide dogs for the people we serve.

Holly McCarthy

Marketing Director, Reckitt Health Australia and New Zealand

A few years ago, our team launched Energy Studios – a content production arm designed to develop bespoke communications for Reckitt Health Australia and New Zealand, as part of a move towards a more agile and competitive approach to creativity. Comprised of a talented group of creative directors, writers, designers, animators and project managers, we have built a team of internal brand champions who develop personalized digital experiences for our consumers and retail partners at detail.

As marketers, this investment has opened the door to a group of seasoned creatives who come into any brief with the rooted background of what we want for our brands. Most importantly, having this resource at our fingertips has given us the power of agility, with the ability to quickly develop bespoke content that accurately reflects what is happening in the world of our consumers and our retail partners. As a company, it is important for us to be able to react quickly to any product or culture change with updated digital content or creative ideas.

Credit: Holly McCarthy, Reckitt Benckiser

This became particularly prevalent when Covid-19 hit, with our brand teams working closely with Energy Studios to develop real-time, personalized communications for our stakeholders, retail partners and consumers.

Alongside Energy Studios, we also work with a range of creative agencies who provide the invaluable support we need to create compelling campaigns. As part of this hybrid model, we rely on these outsourced companies for their specialist knowledge, creative diversity and strategy. Together these partnerships mean we have the best brands and skills working to constantly challenge the way we do business, so we continue to deliver great work that creates impact for our brands.

Discover more CMOFood for Thought articles with marketing leaders on building key capabilities:

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Jenny T. Curlee