Marketing trends shift as voice spearheads new content tactics

The next article in our Q&A content marketing series produced by SmartCompany’s content agency, Bureau, features Shreya Dutt, Strategic Initiative Content Marketing Lead at ANZ.

Shreya is a former journalist, tabloid editor and an award-winning advertising creative from Saatchi & Saatchi who has worked in both New York and India. Shreya also headed up Inbound Marketing for a Silicon Valley startup known as a leading meeting platform.

At ANZ, Shreya launched Collab Zone – a community for Australian business owners to share business tips and advice as well as network with each other. She is now leading the content strategy for the bank’s next initiative that delivers on ANZ’s brand promise to help customers and communities thrive.

She is a content marketer with more than a decade of communications experience and has managed social media strategy for Australia’s largest human rights class action (Manus Island), as well as being an alumna of Yale University. She caught up with SmartCompany’s content agency, Bureau, to share her thoughts on content marketing.

What’s your definition of content marketing?

Content marketing is all about articulating a brand’s purpose through formats that add value. It needs to provide trust, relevancy and contextual content to audiences who are likely to engage with your business. The content marketing ecosystem needs to be skewed toward the human centred design principle of “how might we” help deliver value to a visitor so they can take the next step.

It’s giving consumers answers to questions they have and providing them with something they didn’t have before. The consistency helps with brands building stronger relationships, because audiences return to places they found their answers in the first place.

How does this method work without overtly promoting a brand’s product/service?

I look at content marketing as a channel to educate, inspire and empower to drive inbound traffic. It shouldn’t be a direct sell of products and services. That’s what differentiates content marketing to traditional marketing. Content marketing focuses on highlighting the pain points, understanding the need, creating and building trust and loyalty among a brand’s visitors and consumers, which eventually creates sticky customers. It’s a win for prospects, customers and the brand.

How has content marketing changed over the past five years?

What started as something small and often reactive, has now evolved to something more strategic in the brand playbook. With the rise of new channels and technology, the way brands engage with their customers has evolved. Content marketing has created the need for creating a brand and not just a business providing a solution.

Earlier content marketing was an extension of offline collateral. It wasn’t uncommon to see a brochure uploaded on a landing page as a pdf being referred to as an ebook. And whitepapers were condensed board papers with a stock image as page one.

As a creative with Saatchi, I was fascinated with IBM’s integrated marketing campaign with SmarterCities. IBM was presenting content in a visual format, and soon after, there was a spike in brands using infographics. The evolution of social media marketing has led to a better understanding of content marketing and its purpose as well. It’s moving from reactive to strategic.

How are B2B audiences consuming content differently than previously?

In my opinion, the lines between B2B and B2C have blurred significantly and that’s a result of how content is consumed by audiences. As marketeers, we are so caught up in the way we segment, we forget to pay attention to the attitudes and behaviour of our B2B audiences.

If anything B2B audiences are more inclined to consume more content because the need for the audience is to be on top of industry knowledge and trends. Content marketing to B2B is all about providing handy information and building domain thought leadership.

For SMEs with a limited budget, what are the best tactics to use?

Investing in search engine marketing is important for SMEs because a lot of customers, existing and new, search for products and services online. Organic traffic takes a while to build up but in the long-term works very well for search ranking and creates engaged audiences. Ultimately, it depends on the business objective. Upweighting search marketing spend may provide a business faster results.

For SMEs who are in a sector where there are hotly contested keywords, it’s useful to look at related keywords so your business can appear in the related searches. The Google Keywords platform can help you to identify keywords, phrases and long-tail keywords your target audience is searching with. Think like your customer here.

In terms of deciding which channels to use, it will be guided by where your demographic is. If it’s a younger audience they may be more likely to engage on social media. You need to fish where the fish are. For content marketing channel, email marketing is extremely successful and cost effective.

It’s all about nurturing leads because people aren’t ready to buy immediately. How do you keep the conversation going and what are the different touchpoints they come to you from. If you have the budgets, using programmatic is great to retarget them.

Content is more pervasive than ever. How do you ensure your content gets cut through?

It comes down to domain authority and owning the micro-moments when preferences are shaped. Content marketing is not something you set and forget. It’s something you build consistently on.

Your content marketing needs to resonate with your audience and capture the micro-moments. Create a unique voice, allow your audience to be true participants in your content.

You also need to tap into your niche space and keep building on it. If you are in trade and construction, then build on articles and thought leadership in that area. Over time you’ll get more results for organic search which you can supplement with paid activity. Another way to get through all the noise on the internet is snackable content.

Has content moved beyond awareness and vanity metrics to more lead generation and ROI attribution models?

Six years ago content marketing was about driving awareness. But now it’s more about identifying the stage the user is in the decision making journey and then delivering the next action in the user journey.

Effectiveness of content marketing is now being measured against lead quality, conversion rate, time on site through inbound traffic, direct attributions and, even in some instances, direct sales.

What brands are doing it well and who isn’t doing it well?

IBM have been doing it really well consistently and Nike tie their content in with their above the line advertising really well. Many years ago GE created a series of amazing videos called their six-second science fair which was impressive.

If you want to get the best from your content you need to deliver a consistent experience. I see a few brands consistently deliver great social media marketing content, but content marketing as a whole – there is opportunity for growth. If I must pick an Australian company, I would actually say the ATO are nailing it with their community and resources.

Can you quantify the importance of video and voice over the coming years? 

I’m really excited about voice. Each voice assistant has their own search engine. While Siri and Google Assistant use their own OS, Microsoft’s Cortana gets its search results from Bing and then Alexa taps into the Amazon ecosystem. How does a marketer maintain that presence across all three? We don’t have the visual identity but the voice identity instead. How do you get on top of voice search? Keyword analysis will be critical.

When you ask Google a question, you need to be in the featured snippets section, which is currently organic. Related search queries will be important too because you want to be the next best query featured. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of the principles of radio coming through. Signposting for voice will be key for effectively designed interactions and I see it gain more traction when driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Read more from Bureau‘s content marketing series here.

Voice will be essential for brand relevancy as search rankings shift with voice queries

Yoghurt brand Chobani divulges marketing tactics on how they’ve grown their social followers

Audiences are tired of listicles and clickbait headlines – brands must educate, inform or entertain

Influencers are playing a greater role in marketing says international software brand

Brands need to earn the right to mention their products by creating valuable content says ME Bank content lead

Brands need to use the right content on the right platform at the right time: IAG Head of Content, Zara Curtis


Bureau is SmartCompany’s content agency helping brands attract and connect with small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. Bureau creates articles, ebooks, videos, podcasts and infographics from data-led insights to achieve marketing ROI for businesses.

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