If you have the intention (and we do) to explore 'the platform idea' a little deeper, it is the best strategy to turn to the best experts in this area. We were able to ask Robert Rose some questions about content marketing and platforms. Rose has created - along with Joe Pulizzi - nearly 300 episodes of the contentmarketing podcast called 'This Old Marketing'. He wrote, again with his friend Pulizzi, several marketing books including 'Killing Marketing', a substantiation of their analysis that all companies will transform into media companies. From his own consultancy company, The Content Advisory, he supported more than 500 companies with their content plans.
Do you believe that large Fortune 500 companies will transform in 'media companies'?
,,Not fully – but I certainly believe that every Fortune 500 company will have a marketing department that operates at some level like a media company. We will start to see more and more Fortune 500 Companies begin to build their own Content Studios to be able to manage all of the content lifecycle.''
Why is it important that those companies make this transformation?
,,This will be a core function within marketing – and every great marketing strategy will create content for more valuable customer experiences. Any company that doesn't do this at some level will be missing out on a huge opportunity.''
Do these companies have the skills to make this transformation to 'audience building companies'?
,,For the most part – no – they don't. Most companies have great content creators, but they lack the skills to bring it all together into a coordinated communications strategy. In other words – they have lots of people who are talented at creating content – but lack the strategy, technical, management and other skills to align it all into a cohesive and structured strategy.''
What kind of role play owned platforms (newsletters, magazines, tv stations) within this transformation?
,,Owned media is the core of Content Marketing – because it is where businesses can control the communication strategy with their audiences. This is why you see the platform companies (such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc…) building owned media audiences through the acquisition of companies. It's also why you see media companies that already have an ecosystem building product offerings. The goal these days is to build both an owned media network, that is fuelled by reach into an audience to sell them products. This is both the opportunity and risk for smaller businesses.''
Where is the fear of really transforming companies to media companies coming from? Why not really focussing on building an audience via owned media?
,,The fear comes from the lack of familiarity that most businesses have in the operating model. As stated in a previous question, most businesses don't have the skill sets to manage the operational strategies of working like a media company. Therefore – they struggle with it, and can't find success in trying to "hack it" together. This is why you see acquisition at the larger end of things, and why smaller companies can actually compete with larger companies in this market. Creating a strategic operating model of content/media is a differentiating business strategy. But it is, indeed, difficult to do.''
Do large companies see the danger of building an audience via social platforms?
,,I think in large part the dangers are becoming well known – especially on the larger platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn Etc… the challenges are in some of the more subtle platforms that businesses believe are 'owned media' but are actually 'rented land' (e.g. podcasting, or blogging platforms like Medium).''
What is your opinion the perfect example for large companies with audience building intentions?
,,I would point to Arrow Electronics. They have acquired 53 magazines, websites, newsletters and apps – all in the electrical engineering space. They are the biggest media company now for Electrical Engineers. All of these are being utilized in ways to make Arrow Electronics a more valuable and differentiated company. They are a great example. Another would be Schneider Electric. Their Energy University has put hundreds of thousands of engineers through a curriculum – and as a brand platform it's amazing.''