The CMA Summit speakers share their views

February 11th, 2019

Want to find out more about the future of content? Hear some expert opinion from leading influencers in the media, marketing and beyond? Well the CMA Summit is now less than a month away – and we couldn’t be more excited. We have a stellar lineup of speakers from across the content marketing spectrum who have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience. And now they are going to share their expertise and vision at the day-long event which will be held in Curzon cinema in central London.

We have secured brilliant keynote speakers such as Anna Watkins of Verizon Media as well a range of panellists and between them, they will be unpicking many of the pivotal content marketing issues that we all face. How do we deliver value in the face of growing demand from companies for smarter use of data and technology? Does our content need to tackle social issues, or are they off limits? And what does the content agency of the future look like? Are we all going to be replaced by bots?

To give you a taste of what to expect we have asked five of the speakers to give you a preview of how they see some of the key issues in content marketing. Clare Jonik, Director of Content Marketing, Future Fusion, Luke Southern, Managing Director, DRUM, Mark Stephens, Executive Producer, Storytelling, Lloyds Banking Group, and Justin Kirby and Lazar Dzamic, all offer their take on challenges facing content creators, the changing role of social media and more. Justin & Lazar have helped shape the agenda of the Summit whilst also speaking and moderating panels, they are authors of the book; The Definitive Guide To Content Marketing, an insightful look into a wealth of varying perspectives on content marketing which shows a unique understanding of the different types of best practice.

For more info and tickets to the summit click here.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing content creators?

Clare Jonik, Director of Content Marketing, Future Fusion
The biggest challenge is that everyone is trying to do it (create content) from the bedroom to boardroom. The sheer scale of production means surfacing great content and great content makers is hard work. This, in turn, makes it easy to undervalue its position in the world of marketing. And undervalue the value it brings a marketing campaign.

Luke Southern, Managing Director, DRUM
There’s no doubt that we are living in a golden age of content. From the SVOD giants like Netflix and Amazon with their multi-billion dollar commissioning war chests through to the resurgence and rapid growth of quality audio content in the Podcast space there has never been more choice for consumers when it comes to quality content to spend time with and money on.

Against this backdrop and coupled with low attention spans, extensive use of ad blocking software and general ad clutter the biggest challenge for commercially focused content creators in my view is producing stuff that cuts through, earns and keeps consumers attention. That sounds easy but the odds are stacked against us. A key TGI survey question: “The ads are as good as the programmes” has dropped from 31% of audiences agreeing in 1990 to just 16% in 2016. Stories and content from the brands we most admire, particularly in the retail sector, are no longer having the material impact on their business that they once did when it comes to sales and revenue.

The truth is audiences value their sports teams, the latest episode of their favourite new box set binge or celebrity gossip – they rarely care about brands and what brands have to say.

There might be more ways today for brands to reach audiences and tell their stories than ever before – from VR and AR to voice and branded audio – but frankly that is all fancy window dressing if we don’t first start by seeking out what our audiences are actually interested in and working back to the brand – prioritising empathy, understanding and emotional connection in the work we create.

Understanding and putting this into practise therefore is the biggest challenge facing content creators today, because quality branded content, stuff that warrants attention and repeat viewing, isn’t necessarily defined by length, format of clever use of new technology but instead through the underlying ability to tell emotional stories of consequence that audiences can empathise with.

Mark Stephens, Executive Producer, Storytelling, Lloyds Banking Group
Ensuring our content is a SIGNAL (a source that attracts our audience) rather than adding to the NOISE (the cacophony of messages that rather than enhance, blight our lives).

Justin Kirby and Lazar Dzamic, authors of the book; The Definitive Guide To Content Marketing
If we mean brands, then it has to be about authenticity, tonality and Empathic Utility, the mix of Emotional Resonance and Intent Utility. If we mean individuals/influencers, then it’s a few other things. Is it just about going back to basics and look at the ‘Why’ of content in terms of the prob+63205lem it helps solve and its potential better promise. Or, the need to get real about impact rather than relying on softer metrics at a time when budgets are being slashed. And perhaps both are part of upping the ante to go beyond listicles and similar worn-out formats and motivational-like platitudes masquerading as truths in order to get to the bottom of how value is really delivered to customers.


Are we now moving to an era where social media is becoming less important to brands?

Clare Jonik, Director of Content Marketing, Future Fusion
I believe social is as important as the brand’s audience demand it to be. It’s an ingredient that, on its own, doesn’t provide strength for some brands (see * below for example exclusion) but as part of a mix, it can be very powerful.

We could look at channels/vehicles such as social as pathways. We can either build amazing destinations (audiences) at the end of them using the content. Or, we can build the path to land at the existing audience.

*Influencers in fashion rely solely on social to get their voices heard. They are a brand themselves and they elevate brands through their voice.

Luke Southern, Managing Director, DRUM
No, if anything it is becoming more important with mobile devices as the first point of interaction for brands with consumers and digital/social set to account for nearly 60% of total ad spend by brands in the UK in 2019.

From the huge success of and interest in Stories which is forcing brands to think differently about the narrative structure and storytelling methods they use in social, to shoppable formats with direct sales impacting, trackable measurement metrics for the first time plus the introduction of mid-long form social content platforms like IGTV and Facebook Watch the social landscape in 2019 presents a rich canvas of opportunities for brands to tell their stories to consumers in new and interesting ways.

Mark Stephens, Executive Producer, Storytelling, Lloyds Banking Group
Not less important but it feels as if we are entering a period of realignment. Where recently marketing practitioners thought the social WAS be a single answer, the adjustment of late is, it’s not THE answer, but part of AN answer.


Justin Kirby and Lazar Dzamic, authors of the book; The Definitive Guide To Content Marketing
Well, Facebook probably. It’s essentially TV, only better targeted. No organic reach.

Then, there is the whole issue of social damage: is social media helping taking us towards a better future, or simply helping fuel what divides us. Responsible brands realise some of those places may still be effective, but at what reputational cost?

Part of the problem is that social media has created a number of new proxy metrics and slogans like ‘sharing is caring’ that are not necessarily meaningful to managers trying to meet more tangible quarterly targets in a game of musical chairs where they don’t want to be left sitting on the floor jobless.

And perhaps you only have to see how many of those that used to have social in their job titles that now have content in them instead – it shows that Social is not seen as a separate thing, but just one of many connection points where brands can deliver value to customers along their journeys.

To hear more from our Summit speakers, please read part 2 here


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