Content ensures relevance and existence


More and more companies are seeing the value of content marketing in. Looking at B2B companies alone, some eight out of ten state that content marketing is the priority within the marketing strategy. This is followed by search engine optimization (seventy percent) and social media (sixty percent). Indeed, with so much content being produced, there is even said to be a content tsunami. This means that there is such a large supply of content that it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out.

The content boom also illustpricing another development. More and more companies are looking to connect with their constituencies, that is, their (potential) fans and customers. They have realized that products are increasingly becoming commodities. Commodities are similar products and services, where it makes little difference which party you purchase them from. Therefore, companies are asking themselves: how do I win my customer's heart? How do I establish a relationship with my target audience so that they do not switch to a competitor in the future? They seem to find the answer (rightly so) in content.

Competition greater than ever

Bad news for market leaders and traditional companies: thanks to technological capabilities, more and more competitors are emerging, and they don't necessarily come from your industry. Think of Apple, which not only makes phones, tablets and laptops, but also starts focusing on cars. Other examples are tech companies like Uber or Airbnb that are shaking up the cab and hotel industry. In other words, you have no idea where the competition will come from and if (and when) your market will be shaken up.

To arm yourself against that competition, you seek to connect with your target audience. You do that by making clever use of content. Good examples are Ziggo and KPN, both of which started working with (relatively expensive) content productions. After all, KPN Internet does not taste better than Ziggo Internet, but Ziggo's exclusive collaboration with Ajax does appeal to many soccer fans.

To further illustrate this example, I'll dig into two completely different cases. They are: Soufiane Touzani, (the popular street soccer player of the RTL7 program Tiki Taki Touzani) and, the content platform of MUNT Mortgages. MUNT sells mortgages only through mortgage advisors, it inspires and informs them on the platform

Content ensures relevance

How do you make sure you become and stay relevant to your target audience? In the case of Touzani, it went like this. He was well on his way to becoming a professional soccer player, until he was diagnosed with scoliosis and was no longer allowed to play soccer - he was only allowed to highball. When a friend of Touzani's recorded a video of his soccer skills, it was viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube. He now has about 400 thousand likes on Facebook, 550 thousand followers on YouTube and more than a million followers on Instagram. As a result, Touzani was invited by AC Milan to play ball with Ronaldinho when he was presented at the Italian club (Haverkort, 2017). In other words, because Touzani shares content on a regular basis, he has become relevant to soccer clubs and companies.

The same is true for MUNT mortgages. By distributing content on a regular basis that deals with mortgages, the brand becomes relevant to mortgage advisors. The creators of the platform choose a smart mix. On the one hand, there is the Mint section: hard news, such as surveys, figures, trends, developments and new legislation. Then there is the Head section: views, opinions and practices of mortgage advisors. Thus it is a platform for and with mortgage advisors. The name Kop-Munt is of course a nod to the brand MUNT Hypotheken.

No relationship without relevance

Because Touzani shares videos on a regular basis, his followers also expect him to share content with them. This creates a relationship: his followers spend their time, attention and energy, in exchange for his entertaining soccer videos. Nice to note that it is not only aspiring soccer players who follow Touzani, but also that Chelsea star Hazard watched Touzani's videos as a little boy. The same goes for Aubameyang, Arsenal's French striker.

Because MUNT distributes objective and relevant content, mortgage brokers are going to consider MUNT's website and social media channels as a relevant news source. The brand does not have more than 1,500 LinkedIn followers or 1,200 Twitter followers. It doesn't need to: there are only about 15 thousand mortgage advisors in the Netherlands. Most of them also seem to be reached by the platform, which is also because other news media take over content from In other words, a relevant network of advisors - MUNT's target audience - has been created by consistently communicating with them about what concerns them (namely: mortgages).

Building relationships increases sales

How did MUNT and Touzani capitalize on the relationships built? The soccer player was given a role in the computer game FIFA Street and performed for companies and events as he became increasingly well known for his soccer videos. He doesn't just make his videos for YouTube, but now also for RTL7, which means Touzani has also joined the traditional media world. The Rotterdam native also uses his reach on social media to promote third-party products. In this way, the street soccer player's accumulated relationships ensure the realization of commercial goals.

MUNT manages to put away more than ten billion euros in mortgages in the Dutch market within three years. That is clever, especially if you take into account that MUNT does not supply to consumers but to intermediaries. Thereby they have a clear picture of the fears, desires and motives of mortgage advisors: after all, they see which articles 'score' best on their website. This makes it even easier to communicate with the target group. Above all, MUNT has direct contact with mortgage advisors, thanks to the content platform. This also guarantees future growth.

Turnover alone is not enough

The great thing about having a built relationship with fans and customers, is that it doesn't just create revenue right now. It ensures that, as a company, brand or artist, you can continue to be relevant in the future. Imagine this: Touzani will hear in four years that he will never be allowed to highball again. Then he will still have a reach big enough to be relevant to media companies. He has secured his livelihood, even for a career beyond freestyle soccer.

MUNT now has such a solid relationship with mortgage brokers that it can also offer other products. Consider software, for example, to more quickly calculate the value of a home. Thus, if it gets competition from another provider, it can secure its existence by offering other services or products. Above all, it has an edge over the competition because of its firm connection to its target market.

Getting started with content

The examples in this chapter are glaringly obvious. They explain why more and more companies and artists are using content marketing. It also has something democratic about it: anyone with a smartphone and talent can break through these days and become financially independent. However, it also brings challenges, especially on the technical front.

How often should I post? When should I do it? How can I earn something from my followers and likes? How do I not become too dependent on social media channels, which seem to change their terms every few months?

Maybe you don't sell mortgages and probably don't have the soccer talent of Touzani. Still, if you follow the framework's theory, you can use content to build a relationship with a following and use it to continue to be relevant in the future. The promise that your business will become more valuable if you work with the content from this publication is not a boast. It shows that the data framework is relevant for any business that still wants to exist ten years from now. The next chapter shows how a top Dutch DJ uses data to sell out the Amsterdam Arena twice.

* This article previously appeared as a chapter in the book "Digital Capability" and has been edited for this blog.