The Power of Content in Digital Marketing

Paige Meginley Winburn,Vice President, Global Content Strategy, MetLife

Before we can talk about technology, address digital transformation, or even mention the potential of hyper personalization, we must first talk about humanity and the intrinsic need we have to tell and hear stories. Because stories are one of the single most important ways humans can communicate with one another.

Anthropologists show us that storytelling has been at the core of the human experience since the cave drawings in Lascaux. Firsttold through pictures, then shared through generations of oral traditions, and then finally put on steroids with Gutenberg’s printer press, stories resonate with us because they connect each of us as individuals to a shared—or at least recognizable— experience.

Today, with humans receiving more than 10,000 messages each day, the need for human-centered storytelling only continues to rise.

Think of this example: hospital indemnity insurance. That might sound a little unfamiliar, or perhaps completely alien, or maybe even downright scary. But take, for instance, the story of a real-life person named Carri. Carri is 36, a type-A planner who loves working out but is also a little accident-prone. Suddenly, a real, human connection is made to a flesh and blood person with a relatable issue. With a more tangible narrative to latch on to, the brain starts to internalize what hospital indemnity insurance is for and when it can help.

The power of content is that it creates that human connection by sharing meaningful stories. While not everyone will connect with Carri’s story, many will. But the question remains, how do we find the people who identify with Carri and, more importantly, how do we find those who don’t?

That’s where technology enters the scene. Our biggest opportunity today is leveraging technology to provide us with greater insights about our customers and the general public who might benefit from our products and services if only they knew about us. It’s my job to understand these insights and uncover the stories that reflect them so I’m sharing stories relevant to our audience. Sharing Carri’s story with someone like her, and Simon’s story with someone like him, and so on and so forth until each person is served a story that feels personal and relatable.

One of the things I truly admire about MetLife is that we embrace the power and meaning of quantifiable insights. We truly appreciate that people—the humans who are our customers— have unique needs that evolve throughout every stage of their lives. What someone needs when they buy or rent their first house, get married, welcome a baby, change jobs or careers, retire, or start all over… at all of these different moments is different and specific to him or her.

This new frontier of marrying storytelling to insights is a boon for anyone who wants to truly help people make sense of our ever- evolving world. The technology that tells us what our customers are asking for ensures that we don’t become just the 10,001st message they see today. Instead, we can focus our efforts on uncovering stories that will connect a brand with its customers on a human level, give them a better understanding of their options, and provide them with more control over all the changes they experience.

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