Thursday, April 18, 2013

Accenture - Content Marketing Case Study

Content Marketing: Delivered.

Accenture is a global consultancy company and works with some of the world's largest companies so it is no surprise they excel at content marketing.

Accenture's target market includes some of the most senior decision makers in some of the world's most successful companies. These are people who are very busy and getting their attention is not easy. They are the sort of people that will give very short shrift to content which doesn't add insight and value.

Over many years of consulting engagements Accenture has developed a very rich set of experiences and insights into different industries. It has drawn upon this work, and its own research, to create a set of published reports and other assets which available at the Latest Thinking page of their website.

What strikes you immediately on visiting their site is the professional nature of their content and the extensive nature of the free content they provide.

The content includes:

Accenture's Outlook Journal - also available as an app. The app has the feel more of  a website than say an ebook. It is almost an offline microsite of great content which is continually updated.

Podcasts - Accenture have been using podcasts effectively for some years. They have a number of different Podcast series where they interview leading industry experts. Check out their podcast on Advertising Models for the Digital Age.

Blogs - They have a wide range of blogs covering specific industries and areas.

Insight Reports - This is where Accenture really excels in my view. An extensive range of reports that draws on both their experience and their research. These reports demonstrates authority and expertise in professionally produced publications. See their recent recent report on The Latest IT Trends and Innovations.

Video showcase - which you can watch on their site though they push you to their YouTube channel. Like many other companies they make use of the existing web ecosystem such as YouTube, to ensure content is available where users hang out. This is one area which I feel Accenture haven't got right yet. The videos don't live up to the quality of content they provide in other forms. The video formats can be a little dull compared to their marketing videos, there are a lot of quite boring talking heads and the videos in my view are simply too long. It is risky critiquing one of the world's best content marketing companies but look at the video view numbers, they should be doing better here.

Five Lessons from Accenture's Content Marketing

1. Design for your audience

Accenture's audience is incredibly hard to reach, they represent the most senior people in global companies. Accenture addresses this by producing professional content that adds real insight and value. They also make the content available in forms that are easily accessible by busy executives such as an offline iPad journal and podcasts.

2. Produce original content that provides insight

Accenture's content is worth reading because it is based on real experience and you can't get it elsewhere. Their reports draw on research and also on their unique insights into key issues and trends in the sectors in which they work. They also conduct interviews with many leading experts not only their own consultants.

3. Develop content in multiple formats

Accenture clearly has a strategy to develop a wide range of content types such as podcasts, reports, videos and blog posts. This provides choice and enables the audience to select how they want to access the content.

4. Share openly and provide added value for registering

Accenture don't require you to fill in a form to access their reports, they can be openly shared as I have done above. This makes them more likely to be shared and read.  However, they do offer a service whereby you can get a tailored personal view of content, recommendations and invitations to events if you register and login. Thus they still capture marketing data but in exchange for something of real value, and they minimise barriers to their content being shared and read.

5. Use video differently

Accenture could provide greater value in my view by providing shorter videos which mix experts with animations to demonstrate concepts or trends. They should adopt the show not tell principle i.e. rather than just watch an expert tell me how mobile usage has increased, show me with an animated graph as they talk. Fundamentally video has to be very engaging if it is to hold the attention of busy executives for three minutes. Keep it short, keep it engaging and show not tell.

What do you think? See Accenture's Latest Thinking for yourself.