Anderson’s ACMA Gives Content Marketing A Voice In APAC

Nearly three years ago, Don Anderson co-founded the Asia Content Marketing Association, in Singapore, to further the cause of content marketing execution in the region. “The conversation is now turning from ‘why’ to ‘how’ to do content marketing,” he told in an exclusive interview.

Anderson’s ACMA Gives Content Marketing A Voice In APAC

Don Anderson is a media and marketing guru who has worked with some of the world’s most iconic companies.

In June 2013, Anderson co-founded the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA), in Singapore. He did so with a cross-section of industry leaders from Yahoo, YouTube, King Content, Outbrain, and FleishmanHillard, to further the cause of content marketing execution in the region.

Anderson sat down with to discuss the state of content marketing in the APAC region and the impact that ACMA has made to date. Tell us a little bit about the Asia Content Marketing Association and how you came to be part of it?

Anderson: I was involved from the beginning. I believed there was an obvious gap between the understanding that APAC regional brand marketers and agencies had of the value of content marketing and how to execute a successful strategy. The U.S. has the Content Marketing Institute, but most of its thought leadership and case studies are North America-centric. Asia needed a voice to properly represent the work being done in the region. That’s where ACMA came in–we’re here to promote exactly that. What sort of impact has ACMA made for marketers in the region?

Anderson: We’ve given the industry a dedicated destination for dialogue via the association website, which is full of great thought leadership content and practical guides, from getting started to refining current practices and processes. Our various communication touch points–including our LinkedIn and Meetup groups and social channels–have amassed more than 1,800 members and followers from around the region. How do you see ACMA growing in coming years?

Anderson: Our footprint will undoubtedly grow. We’re adopting more formalized approaches to ongoing operations and have established distinct areas of focus, such as education, outreach, and research. We have formed broader partnerships with more event organizers and are also entertaining interest from other senior industry leads and platforms to expand to markets including India, Indonesia, Australia, and Hong Kong. How well are APAC brands executing content marketing?

Anderson: Not as well as they should be. Brands often struggle with the concept of how to plan and execute.

The conversation is now turning from “why” to “how” to do content marketing. Event organizers are now including content marketing in their conference agendas. It’s less now about evangelism and more about frameworks and proven examples. Marketers now face the dilemma of where to start and how to build a strategy. Can you provide an example of innovative content marketing in APAC this year? What impact did the marketing have?

Anderson: It’s difficult to pinpoint one single example as definitive or innovative. Ikea has done some interesting work through its highly social, very sharable, and truly quirky content programs over the past 12 months. They’ve involved everything from spoofing Apple to launching a “Shelf Help Guru” promotion, where netizens pose questions about how to improve their bedroom and bathroom areas and Ikea responds with pun-filled online memes.

Aside from winning awards, Ikea’s marketing has succeeded in ways that good marketing should: It has struck a chord with consumers through humorous, entertaining content that just about everyone can relate to, where customers and are left wanting more.

Similarly, NTUC, MetLife, and Prudential have each adopted more emotional tones in their communications by weaving deeper, more personal narratives into their marketing. NTUC’s short film “Last day of school” is extremely memorable. It’s a true story about a bright, young student who nearly foregoes her education to take care of her disabled father and younger siblings. It’s content marketing at its best because it’s so inspirational.

MetLife has had similar success with “My dad’s story,” and Prudential is getting good traction with its “Relationship Reconnect” experiment. B2Cs tend to be leading the way, but B2Bs like Visa and GE aren’t far behind. What does good content marketing look like?

Anderson: Content doesn’t exist on its own–it needs an audience and an ecosystem to support it.

Marketers need to approach content holistically. It’s not about creating content for content’s sake. As board member Nick Fawbert has previously stressed, content marketing should be seen as a strategic asset in the customer journey. Is regional spending on content marketing increasing?

Anderson: Forty percent of respondents to the “State of Content Marketing 2015” study allocated less than a fifth of their overall marketing budget to content marketing. Only 3% allocated 80% to 100%. But gauging by general sentiment in the market and the increased adoption of content marketing as a specialization within agencies and brands themselves, investment numbers will be stronger in 2016.

See what the Twitterverse is saying about content marketing: