Marketers who are driving growth and building stronger brand connections with their audiences are doing so by providing value outside of a purchasing need.
As we’ve discussed in our last few blog posts on content marketing, consumers have crept into the driver’s seat and have virtually shut off the world of traditional marketing as we know it. It doesn’t matter whether you sell to businesses or consumers—a buyer is a consumer and vice versa; their behavior is what they’ve acquired in their retail experiences.
A consumer’s brand experience begins online.
Marketing’s dependence on mass promotional campaigns with goals of reach and frequency are being replaced by messaging, information, tools and interactions that target, position and differentiate you from your competitors. This shift in thinking is much different than the promotional marketing efforts you’ve traditionally launched to publicize your product or service or your brand as a whole.
If you remember, we defined content marketing in a recent post, Content Marketing Is Just Old-School MarComm, as:
“the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Selling needs to be kept under the radar. What you’re trying to do is build your case and establish trust with prospective buyers. Make it easy for your buyers to buy from you. Make them want to buy from you. People buy from people they know, like and trust. So get to know your customers. Be likable. And by all means, be trustworthy.
Content marketing helps you get found by the people who matter to your business.
Think about the different types of content that contribute to your buyer’s journey. How can you capture attention and inspire them?
Here’s a simple example of the difference between “promotional marketing” and “content marketing.” Let’s use healthcare marketing, which is one of the industries struggling with the move from promotional marketing to content marketing.
Which of the below scenarios is an example of content marketing?
- Running an ad touting your joint replacement surgery center
- Creating a video that provides tips on how to treat knee pain after jogging
The print ad is promotional marketing because it will appeal to very few people who need a specific procedure—joint replacement surgery—at the time they see your ad. The content marketing example is the knee pain video because it will connect with a far broader audience who suffer from knee pain.
Understand that content marketing as a philosophy alone will not ensure success. If you take the idea of creating a video on knee pain and run a search for “knee pain video,” it will more than likely result in over a million hits. In order to show up through all of the clutter, you have to create a relevant, compelling program that differentiates you.
How do you begin? By asking the same questions a marketer would normally ask:
- What are our goals?
- How do we measure success?
- Who is our primary audience?
- What are our differentiators?
Once you determine the answers, you will want to think in terms of providing relevant messaging and content to an audience that may not have an immediate need to buy today. Focus on driving actions unrelated to making a purchase, like signing up for a seminar, requesting information, downloading a case study or white paper, or participating in a webinar. In other words, you are striving for engagement.
AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
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PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Townsend via flickr