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3XE Digital Conference: A Pause for Reflection

Why is the Content We Produce Not More Personalised?

This was a question that arose during last Tuesday’s 3xe digital marketing conference at Croke Park. The conference highlighted how far we have come since the old marketing days with many of Tuesday’s presenters guiding us through a history and evolution of online marketing. 

So how did the presenter’s address this question? Well as you can imagine the message varied the between each speaker but there were several core themes that emerged that us marketeers should all be applying in our daily digital marketing strategies. 

Our own Shenda Loughnane, Global Director of iProspect highlighted how the explosion of content (27,000,000 pieces of content daily) is creating a new threat to brands and organisations – the threat of irrelevance. There is so much clutter and noise and so many channels in today’s online market place that great content has never been so important.  A theme that emerged from all the speakers is that we must not become complacent in our ideals and must continually test and refine our strategies. It is no longer enough to do a one year strategy and sit back and let the money roll in. 

The tips provided at the conference albeit seemingly simplistic are often poorly executed by brands and organisations. How many times can you recall a remarketing campaign whereby you landed on a page and where retargeted with an irrelevant generic creative? Thus, Jon Lombardo, Content Marketing Lead at LinkedIn’s below points were more than welcome. 

1. Know your audience 

2. Deliver the right content to the right person at the right time

3. Test and learn

4. Measure, optimise and invest in performance 

Each of these four steps should inform your digital content strategy. These should be applied across all channels to better understand the channels that work well for you.  Expanding further on Jon Lombardo’s key points, Shenda Loughnane emphasized how data driven content needs to inform your content plan as highlighted in the image below. 

Aidan McCullen, Director of Digital at Communicorp, highlighted that the important thing for content is to keep it relevant to your audience. There is no bigger threat to your brand than posting unnecessary content every day on Facebook for content’s sake. Again, it is about utilising the data available to you and using it to personalise your message so that your content is facilitating your audience’s need. It is about using tools such as Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics, Twitter Analytics and Facebook analytics. 

Is Paid Content Necessary?

This was touched on by Aidan McCullen. Aidan believes that paid for content is absolutely necessary to cut through the noise on users newsfeeds and above all else to amplify a brand’s message. Interestingly, he described Facebook like crystal meth, it’s addictive, you get a taste and you want more. Certainly a different analogy but the main point is that brands need to advertise relevant, targeted and personalised content that has been informed by data.

Advertising online allows brands to develop key insights into their audience and to tailor their content accordingly. 

So Which Channel is Right for my Brand?

Graham Barry, EMEA Brand Lead, Product Solutions team, Google and James Carr, E-Commerce Facebook, presented on the merits of using YouTube and Facebook as part of your content strategy. Both provided engaging and valuable rationale for using both channels. The two both provide interesting targeting options that allow you to decipher the profiles of your audience. As James Carr alluded to, your audience begins as a bit of blur but as you begin to use data the picture becomes ever clearer. Members of the audience enquired as to which channel they should use and which is better?

That answer depends on where your audience is hanging out online. There is no definitive answer. The best answer to this question is to try out different platforms and use both sets of data to establish which is meeting your key performance metrics such as leads forms, offers, brand uplift and sales.

It is about tailoring your content accordingly and drip feeding content out across different platforms. Know what kind of language and content users are digesting on the given channel. As we are well aware users are using a multitude of devices, apps and websites. Margeret E. Ward, CEO of Clear Ink, believes it is about relevant, well thought out and good strong writing skills. The former presented a strong case for using journalists in your content team. She hit the message home that journalists are critical thinkers who are trained to look for an interesting angle in content to make it accessible to readers and above all else are excellent writers which is needed for any piece of great content. 

Is Email Heading for the Graveyard?

Claire Burge definitely presented the most controversial topic of the day dividing the room over the future of email. Claire believes that email has no future and is actually harmful to our health. Her method of replacing email is by fragmenting her communications across different platforms and she believes that this is the future of communication. So she communicates mainly viable via LinkedIn and Twitter. She emphasized that companies are working on developing technology to replace email. However, I was certainly not entirely convinced that email will be dead certainly within the next ten – fifteen years. But we will be keeping a close eye on Claire Burge’s website to keep up with her developments in this area.


Content needs to be of paramount importance for your digital marketing strategy. In order to deliver effective and engaging content various data platforms need to be utilised. Strong writing, well informed and personalised content needs to be at the heart of your brand or organisation’s digital strategy.

This requires a balance between art and science, data and creativity. It is about trial and error. It is about all of these parts working in harmony to reach a common goal, relevance to today’s online audience.

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