My dad, content marketing and AI

My dad, content marketing and AI


I still remember his voice: “Elisabetta, testa quadra,” that literally means squared-head, “when you do your maths, focus on one only thing, otherwise you’ll get it wrong.” So when I was sitting among the audience of the “Back to the future of content marketing” workshop organized by Raconteur, my father’s thought resonated strongly with me, as I found that the three speakers all repeated a very similar mantra…

First, it was Carrie Osman who explored ‘The dark roots of content marketing’. Her main messages can be summarized in three bullets:

  • Know your client: use segmentation to focus on the right target
  • Do less things and do it better: concentrate on less to avoid mediocrity
  • Use creative thinking to inspire your audience: understand what will keep them awake and engaged, and shape your message around it

And to link these three points, don’t forget about good planning: a content plan is essential to stand out from the background noise.

Then, speaking about noise, and how to stand out from the overload of information, Freddie Ossberg took to the floor to present research developed at Raconteur on the way that senior executives consume information today. His first statement was that two-thirds of the interviewed c-suite executives could not care less about your content. They think it is boring, just what they expected and very repetitive. This is why in their report, Raconteur also provides advices and good practices for content marketing.

As the overall level of attention decreases and the quantity of information increases, are we sure that keeping on producing more and more content is the right approach? If key drivers for an engaging content are a good design and clear conclusions, the most important takeaway for me is then definitely related with the importance of being credible. Partnering with influential and respected figures within the industry or in academia will be essential for creating a valuable thought leadership position.

So should we give up with this Herculean exertion? Definitely not, and Freddie presented his sharp conclusions:

  • again (my dad’s advice) focus on less but more genuine content
  • express your editorial voice and use a beautiful eye-catching design
  • exploit the technical tools available today for defining a strategic approach
  • Don’t fear to provide also in-depth analysis, since these ensure credibility for business issues.

And finally was the turn of Jeremy Waite to take to the floor, providing an exciting introduction to the way Artificial Intelligence may support us in managing information for creating content. His talk’s title speaks clearly: ‘Survival of the fastest’. And the rational is self-evident: with a great availability of data, AI is now able to support us in processing information quickly and automatically by selecting the most relevant topics to create the genuine content that has been mentioned in the first two talks of the day.

Starting with the example of the 60 seconds video highlights from a Wimbledon Tennis match, that for the first time this year was entirely automatically created, Jeremy presented the power of IBM Watson tools. He also showed how IBM Watson could derive your full emotional profile from your twitter account by analysing the sentiments of your tweets: “@bettadelponte you are 47% interested in love and 34% interested in bakery”…

Even though interesting, I found the application about sentiment analysis of Twitter profiles less interesting than the application shown in the demo, where Watson supported Jeremy in identifying the most effective campaign lines on the basis of the results of previous marketing campaigns and taking into consideration sentiment analysis. This is a cool tool to support your approach to creating content: while Watson is taking care of analysing for you all the available data, you can build on top of its extremely rational result, with your own creativity to add the sparkle that will hopefully be able to finally capture the attention of your audience. This is a great example of AI augmenting human intelligence in a collaborative way: exactly what in Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe we are trying to achieve with our project Cognitive Hub within the context of the workplace of the future.

To draw my conclusion, even though supported by AI, I am fully convinced that the main takeaway message from this day is that, as human, it is still important to follow the advice my father used to give me when I was a student: “testa quadra, focus on one thing”.