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The audience is the real king in content marketing

Audiences judge contents based on their expectations and experiences of the brand.

The research consortium between JSBE and University of Tampere opened the black box of content marketing. The goal of the project was to find answers to the “why” and “how” -questions behind the impact of content marketing to enable taking on new, international markets. The role of the audience was emphasized in the results. Audiences judge contents based on their expectations and experiences of the marketing brand.

- The brands should recognize the expectations and the previous experiences of the audience. The stronger the brand, the less leeway. The audience often has a strong idea of what is appropriate for an established brand and who can speak for it, says project researcher Hanna Reinikainen from Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics.

Good content is useful, truthful and personal

According to the results, usefulness and truthfulness are the most important characteristics of the content. Useful content is both informative and even entertaining to the audience. Personal contents and real interaction with the audience can make the audience return to the content repeatedly and spend more time with it.

Measuring the content marketing starts from goals

In order to effectively produce and develop content marketing, it also needs to be measured. The goals of content marketing should always be based on the brand's own goals - making comparisons with other brands is often not worthwhile, say the researchers. If there are no clear, measurable targets, it is very difficult to establish metrics afterwards in a way that would be useful in serving the development of operations.

The results can be used in planning of marketing communications

- Our results are not a surprise for content marketing professionals. For example the usefulness of the contents and human-to-human marketing have been discussed a long time. Based on the results of the project we can now provide a stronger base for the marketing communications strategy work of the companies, underlines Reinikainen. 

Opening the Black Box of Content Marketing project was funded by Business Finland. The researchers studied and analysed over a hundred pieces of content marketing, interviewed over 20 content marketing specialists and gathered survey results from over 2,000 content marketing audience members.

The international research partners were The University Oklahoma and Macquarie University. The corporate partners of the project were Alko, A-lehdet, Aamulehti, DNA, Fazer, Nordea, Pirkanmaan Lehtitalo, Vapa Media and PING Helsinki. 

Researchers: Mari Ainasoja, Sanna Rytövuori, Niina Uusitalo and Elina Vulli from the University of Tampere and Hanna Reinikainen, Matias LievonenVilma Luoma-ahoAndra Aldea-Löppönen ja Susanne Cederberg from the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics.

More information: 
Professor, research project leader Vilma Luoma-aho 
+358 40 8053 098 

Project researcher Hanna Reinikainen 
+358 50 5821 885