Marketing in this new era is certainly no mean feat. How does one differentiate with so much information out there? What's between content, commerce and social might be the answer. Malik Chung, Sales Director at Screena summarized today’s marketing landscape very succinctly in his session, “Increasing content value by using emerging technologies” at BCWW 2020.
Let me get right into it. In the sweet spot of Content, Social and Commerce, there’s paid community. But before that, Malik explains how today’s media companies are combining 2 out of 3, possibly using the process as stepping stones to the holy grail of paid communities.
Content and Commerce
A form of content marketing where products and brand stories are weaved in marketing materials of all forms, magazines, brand editorial and of late, dramas.
One example that came to mind was a recent K-drama, “The King: Eternal Monarch”, starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Go-Eun. I'll let Danny and David of DKDKTV break it down for you.
The idea is showcasing the brand and its products, associating it with either another brand or a celebrity to increase its brand value and eventually drive sales.
Commerce and Social
Instagram (and perhaps Tik Tok) Micro brands, influencer brands and local brands with In Real Life (IRL) communities fall under this category. While they are not top-notch celebrities nor famous brands, they do an excellent job communicating and connecting with their audience.
Hence, larger brands do make it a part of their marketing strategy to work with these influencers and micro brands to build stronger trust with their target audience or expand reach.
In return, influencers and micro brands raise their profiles through these brand partnerships, resulting in more endorsement and/or partnership deals. Sounds like a win-win for everyone.
Content and Social
Ever clicked an article on your Facebook feed, read midway and received a prompt to subscribe? That’s essentially the mechanism of this section. A paid subscription to access content behind the paywall. Hence, any service equivalent to the Netflix, Spotify and Medium in your local country follows this model.
We’ve longed been spoiled not to pay for anything found on the Internet. Yes, not even music, films or TV shows. For a long time, before easy access to creative tools, content was expensive to create. Artists, producers and everyone in the professional creative fields fought piracy long and hard before we finally arrived at a better place where consumers now understand the value of content.
Not only does this ensure artists and creators are paid, this saves a lot of time on the consumers’ end too as they (1) pay only for what they want, typically ad-free, (2) are guaranteed high quality content and (3) only receive curated high quality content they could trust. Newneek, a newsletter forwarding startup in Korea, does exactly this as they’d recognized the frustrations consumers experience with scrolling through the immense amount of content with so little time.
Example of Paid Communities
Although effective for some companies to sustain a healthy revenue stream, competition is stiff, leaving consumers with a similar problem as before. What’s the differentiating factor between these services with seemingly similar offerings?
Malik mentioned 4 companies that have took the paid community route, namely:
Stratechery - Provides media and tech professionals with analysis on the business and strategy aspects. Some articles are free for all while daily updates are for subscribers only.
Art of Gig - A weekly paid newsletter service created for indie consultants in the gig economy. Written in a humorous and casual manner, it’ll bound to lighten the spirits of the intended consultants and provide some useful tips.
Mixergy - Made for entrepreneurs seeking out experienced mentors who were founders and business owners themselves. Some content is available to everyone, while premium membership gives access to master classes, mentorships and coaching are done via interviews and online courses.
Trevari - Created for book lovers in Korea, with access to a paid club membership, you’ll gain exclusive insights to meetups and share countless conversations with other book lovers.
How are paid communities different from most of what we have today you might ask? Well, paid communities are focused on a niche audience group, specializing in a specific aspect. Also, inching towards the sweet spot isn’t solely about creating brand loyalty, but a following analogous to a tribe.