Content infobesity is clogging digital arteries…

Yesterday I received this email at least eleven times, from the American Express Content Hub – branded as American Express Open Forum. You’ll need to click on the image to see the detail.

Amex email

In case you didn’t know “Content Hub” is one of the latest buzzwords you need to use in marketing meetings. For example, “I’m just going to my content hub to download some thought leadership.” It will probably impress others in the room who don’t know what a content hub is, though most likely only for about six months, until they realise you’re talking rubbish. But hey, you’ll be using a new buzzword by then, so they won’t remember.

This inbox-clogging email avalanche, was most likely caused by a marketing automation stuff-up, as they seem to be standard operating procedure these days, so it’s difficult to blame Amex.

True-Story-Sales-Marketing-Failure

But let’s stick with the Content Hub for a minute. I recently conducted a digital marketing training event for Amex in Sydney – focusing on debunking the myths of content marketing, social media and other digital delights.

One of the things we examined briefly was the American Express Open Forum, because it was rated one of the Top 10 Content Hubs in the world. Yes folks, you heard it here first. Does your content hub rank on the global stage?

There are a few problems with the hub:

  • It’s referred to as a Content Hub.
  • It invites you to customise what you see on the hub, by nominating subjects you’re interested in. I did this, but nothing has ever been customised and I see the same screen as people who visit the hub for the first time – this was proven via testing. I believe this is called a UX problem in modern marketing vernacular?
  • The hub is content for content’s sake – much of the content is of dubious value to businesses.
  • To ingratiate itself to its clients, Amex gets them to provide business insights. These “insights” are then published and promoted on the site – again more content for content’s sake.

Here are a couple of examples of amazing insights on the Open Forum:

It’s not about the dollar amount you put into your marketing effort – it’s about the thoughtfulness and effort.

I suggest in-office events for employees to mingle and have fun. Giving a few extra days off around the holidays – or allowing remote work during the holidays – may also be greatly appreciated.”

Seasoned business owners may also use professionals to help determine the extent of estimated payments needed to avoid penalties. Consider doing whatever it takes to avoid the estimated taxes death spiral.

I suspect, like me dear reader, you are completely underwhelmed by these amazing insights – featured prominently on the home page of the Open Forum. Another example of content for content’s sake.

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When I asked the Aussie Amex digital team what they thought of the Open Forum, they ran for cover saying “it’s an American site, not ours“. They gave the impression they were very embarrassed by it.

But as you savvy readers will know, if it’s online it’s there for all to see, not just for the Yanks. And the punters don’t differentiate – it’s an Amex site, so if you’re an Amex card user, it’s for you.

There are many dictionaries these days, but here’s the definition for “insight” from the Oxford Dictionary – “the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.” I’ll leave it to you to decide if the insights from the Amex Content Hub qualify.

Head_up_your_ass
Amazing insights from the Content Hub

The content on the Content Hub, seems to typify the infobesity filling our inboxes and clogging the digital arteries of our customers. I have yet to find any customers who awaken daily, wanting more content from a brand, jammed down their throats – even when they are buying. Yet marketers are investing in content for content’s sake because, well just because…

Apparently there’s a growing trend of people creating content about trends in content marketing. I’m off to create a Content Hub that aggregates Content Hubs.

I think I’ll call it…..INCONTINENTO.COM…..

4 Comments

  1. Malcolm,
    Irony of irony that you should be conducting a seminar for Amex! I guess they didn’t pay attention (or the US group didn’t get the memo). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the frequent lack of clear thinking in large companies, but I would have thought that Amex would be a little better than this.
    Thanks for the post!
    Kevin Francis

    • Thanks Kevin, the Aussie Amex team are very embarrassed by the US Content Hub and given I ran the account in Oz for years am surprised Amex are following fashion.

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