Why KPMG turned to an app to deliver thought leadership content

Like many professional services companies looking to demonstrate their thought leadership to potential clients, KPMG Canada used to produce glossy magazines to mail to subscribers. But now, there’s an app for that.

Just as much of the trade press and other media have shifted from traditional media formats to a digital approach, content marketers have also been adjusting to the digital world of tablets and e-readers. While print is still a common approach, others such as KPMG are making the lead to digital as well.

KPMG’s approach is an interactive digital publication delivered through an Apple iPad app, called KPMG Vantage. The first issue, Insights into Canadian Banking, focuses on four key themes facing the Canadian financial sector, such as anti-money laundering, where KPMG’s experts offer insights and advice.

Brian Miske, chief marketing officer for KPMG Canada, told ITBusiness.ca that in developing Vantage they were determined that it not be just another app that gathers digital dust on someone’s tablet. The goal was to focus on the storytelling and creating a narrative around the issues effecting the organization’s clients and future clients.

“In marketing today it’s really about owning the conversation, whether through your digital channels or through social,” said Miske. “Rather than just ramming content into the marketplace, it’s about owning the conversation with the audience we want to own.”

KPMG wanted to build interactivity and graphics into the app, and with the content deliver a balance of storytelling with perspective on specific business issues. There are info graphics and links to where readers can dive deeper into different topics.

In deciding on and designing the app, Miske added they tried to balance the ways that three to four different generations like to receive and consume content, which was a balancing act. Some want to spend 30 seconds in an app, while others may spend 30 minutes.

“We took a multitude of different approaches before due to the different ways the generations consume content, but it costs more time, money and resources and doesn’t get us consistent storytelling,” said Miske. “We want more of a convergence of all those storylines into one area, and that’s where Vantage came to life. It came back to thinking about what conversations we want to own in the business demographics we want to own. That didn’t happen before when we were trying to hit the market with so many messages it was like a content tsunami.”

We’re increasingly living in an app economy, and Miske said by moving to the app model KPMG is able to put more focus on inbound marketing. The content can help generate an interaction, whether it’s a phone call with a KPMG professional, generating leads or getting people to access other KPMG information resources – it helps to marry the content and the conversation.

A page from the first issue of KPMG Vantage.
A page from the first issue of KPMG Vantage.

That’s not to say though that direct lead generation is now the goal of KPMG’s thought leadership content programs.

“Leads and conversations are tertiary expectations. More so is how we shape the conversation on the issues that are prevalent in the market today,” said Miske. “Then I want to understand the measurements to help measure our marketing.”

The app was developed by a combination of internet and external resources, with KPMG’s marketing and digital teams working with a service provider.

“When we talk about integrated marketing, this was really about connecting everyone together to deliver a consistent experience around one strategy,” said Miske. “This wasn’t about going analog to digital, but about embracing the art of the conversation. Not mass market, but to the core buyers of our services, and making it relevant.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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