If you are reading this article on a laptop, chances are you own an ASUS motherboard. Since its founding 25 years ago, ASUS has produced more than 500 million motherboards — so much so that if you stack them end to end, they’ll orbit the Earth more than three times. The Taiwan-based company has recently expanded into consumer electronics with products such as phones, tablets, and wearables, putting ASUS in competition with mobile vendors. the world’s largest.
So how did a multi-billion dollar company known for its processors and data transmission learn how? speak in a language that any consumer can appreciate? I met with the company’s director of global content marketing, Archit Mardia, to find out.
Mardia, who was born in India, studied in France and lived in eight countries before the age of 30, is no stranger to the challenge of connecting with new people. We talked about capturing the passions of his customers, the internal struggle of getting ASUS executives to buy into the content marketing space, and why companies need it. Capture customer-focused stories.
(Full disclosure: ASUS is a Continuity customer.)
For those unfamiliar with ASUS, how would you explain what the company does?
I was not familiar with ASUS before joining the company. I know a little bit, but I don’t know how big they are or what they’re doing, and once I got in I was really overwhelmed by the things these guys were doing. I was like, “Why haven’t I heard of that before?”
I tell everyone that ASUS is the largest motherboard company in the world. So if you are using any kind of laptop, there is a 60 percent chance it has an ASUS motherboard.
ASUS started out as Pegasus, just a motherboard company. From those humble beginnings, it has split. The motherboard business came to Pegatron and ASUS began to focus more on the consumer electronics sector. Today, I am supporting a billion dollar company. We started with the smartphone business and in less than two years we became 3rd in market share among the top players in Southeast Asia.
How would you explain content marketing to the people at ASUS?
This is a really interesting story. Since I’ve been with ASUS for more than four years, everyone is talking about digital, digital, digital. To me, digital is nothing. That’s what TV 20 was all about years ago, just another means of reaching audiences. But advertising is losing its purpose. You’ll never click on a banner ad — you’ll most likely climb Everest. We find that we are also losing our purpose. We have lost this connection with the audience.
We make great technology, but based on engineering thinking, ASUS always works on products, this specification and that. We lost our purpose and then our brand. Consumers are looking to engage with a brand with a purpose. Since that time, it has taken time to spread this internally, but people are now on the right track and they believe in the value of content marketing.
How did you get the CEO with published content?
It took a lot. We have quarterly business reviews, and we used to spend a lot of money on traditional advertising. It took a bit of persuasion, but it was clear from the start that the ROI for traditional vehicles was not good and that the executives were also looking for a better solution.
We started with content marketing on a smaller scale, at the regional level, and those content marketing initiatives have worked brilliantly. We took these good examples and showed them to executives. We showed them the numbers—“We did this with a lot of this”—and that’s how they bought this whole content marketing thing.
As a marketer, what do you think is the most important type of story to tell?
We address the pain points consumers have with recent technology, how they can better fit in with their own social channels, and explain the connection to underlying passion points. For example, a lot of people are passionate about photography, so companies will go out there and say, “This is a great camera!” but they won’t really go out and say to you, “Hey, let’s see what you can do with it!”
That’s the insight we want to provide. You should talk about your camera, but you should too Share examples , talk about what you can do with it. What is a trick, what is a hack? That’s the kind of content we’re looking to create to help consumers’ lives and make them better at what they love.
As you strive to accomplish that, how do you ensure those goals are both ambitious and realistic?
We are starting small. We wanted to be ambitious, but right now, we’re being realistic. Like I said, it took a long time to convince everyone internally. We’ve re-implemented this entire process in our organization so everyone is focused on consolidating all of the ongoing communications from one brand. It took a long time to set up this framework and get the team on track. But once I thought that the team was set up and all the tools were in place, that’s when we could start getting really ambitious.
What is the biggest content marketing challenge you are looking to take on?
The biggest challenge is that there’s so much that you can say but with a limited amount of money. You learn as you go. Right now, our biggest challenge is producing content with a strategy that looks like it will work, but I don’t have any numbers to back it up. Then I think we’re going to learn what kind of stuff is working really well, what kind of stuff is really resonating with our audience, what kind of tone of voice our audience likes. In the future, I think we can make much more calculated decisions than we do today.
How has the industry evolved since you started content marketing?
We are heavily involved in doing campaigns, running media money, doing more campaigns, but what really works is a cute cat photo on social media. Those things keep you engaged. It just goes to show that people are really attracted to the things they like, the common passions, the pain points, and if you know what they really care about, that’s a good place.
Not many companies adopt this approach, especially in the tech industry. Most of the companies I know have content hubs, but I feel like they’re not quite there yet. So I think in the tech industry, there’s still a long way to go.
Where do you think we’ll go next?
I think big things will come in the next three or four years, when companies will stop being so focused on buying traditional media and spending dollars on crazy events and experiential marketing. Companies will be waiting for people. People have these sudden realizations and they want to get information. If you don’t cater to those little moments, you’re essentially losing them. This can only be resolved if you have this regular conversation, which will have a lot more purpose and meaning for the consumer and the brand.
What advice do you have for marketers who may be new to the game?
It’s always really good to adapt. Like some say, “Consumers change first, marketers second, and agents change last.” I would tell marketers to get really close to their consumers because they are the first to change. Their thoughts are what you want to know.