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Forget Epic Content — Make Something Magical

When we talk about the future of marketing, there’s a phrase that often comes up: “epic content.” Something that breaks the mold, inspires your customer, and moves the needle for your business. We may not always know how to describe epic content, but we seem to know it when we see it.

How to Move Forward in the Age of Epic Content

Ask yourself: does the following sound epic?

You’re at a pool party in the Hollywood Hills, hobnobbing with the upper crust of LA nightlife — preternaturally tan movie financiers, nationally-recognizable faces. Everyone’s standing around drinking their cocktails and making conversation, when something amazing happens.

Somehow, the surface of the pool has become animated, with colorful geometric designs and loops bursting across its surface. People forget instantly about cocktail party decorum — and the phones in their pockets — and begin leaping into the water, diving into the animations.

The process of creating technological installations that inspire that kind of wonder is known generally as “Experience Design.” Red Paper Heart, an experience design firm based in Brooklyn, created the pool party installation for UrbanDaddy, a lifestyle content publisher.

Charlie Whitney, formerly of Red Paper Heart and the programmer on the UrbanDaddy project, has a simple explanation for how he built such a stunning experience:

“We just thought of it as art for brands.” – Charlie Whitney

In a world where marketers constantly talk about making “epic content,” it’s easy to lose sight of what that actually means. But experience design’s approach lends us a potential north star: make it magical.

Epic Content is an Experience, Not A Data Point

It’s easy to think of a piece of content as a single point of interaction: eyeball on page, email in capture field, etc. But in the era of customer-first marketing, that’s not enough. We have to view customer’s experience of our content as something holistic — the meeting of a deeper need. In the case of the pool party, it was a need for novelty, excitement, and the experience of something brand new.

That perfect fit between what a customer is looking for and the content that provides it is real magic.

That magic can be as complex as a reactive projection on 65,000 ping pong balls, or the perfectly-placed answer box that puts to rest a long-running argument. The point is, content has to fit into people’s lives in a way that adds tangible value. Content marketers should approach their ideas with the care and creativity of an artist acting on behalf of their brand. Whitney’s approach to installations has one more lesson for us:

“We had one guy who pedaled his little heart out, wobbled down the stairs, and threw up. He was so happy.” – Charlie Whitney

That’s the kind of emotion, response, and engagement we should be striving for every time we create a new piece of content for our customers.

Creating great experiences for customers is at the heart of customer-first marketing. What’s customer-first marketing? We’re glad you asked.