With social media gaining momentum as important channels for marketing communication, and with technology tools now being used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, we are in a new era of marketing. Much is being said and written about modern marketing, which by many definitions, boils down to creating and sustaining an engaged clientele and being able to demonstrate a positive, healthy return on marketing dollars invested.
The more things change, the more they remain the same
What’s not new or modern in marketing is that consumers have always wanted, and will always want, information that helps them make the purchase decision that’s right for them. With social media, the internet and other digital communication channels brimming with information, it is estimated that 57% of the buying decision is made before the customer contacts the supplier. What this means is that to be successful, marketers must provide easily accessible information that presents a recommended course of action that is relevant and valued by customers.
Cost and time constrained traditional marketing campaigns that rely on catchy slogans, tag lines and ad copy, have generally been difficult to measure in terms of purchase pre-disposition and customer loyalty. So welcome to the era of “content marketing,” which, as marketing guru Seth Godin said, ” is the only marketing left.”
The BIG picture
The proliferation of content marketing and the widespread use of social media to distribute content has impacted the way buyers buy and how customers stay connected and loyal to suppliers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, access to information in various formats and through diverse channels offers the opportunity to influence and create engagement and new business opportunities among potential and existing clients. Consumers and businesses want more than product information. Marketers and salespeople need to do more than create nicely crafted value propositions and describe the benefits of products on web sites, brochures and in multi-media communications. The “more” is all about building relationships based on authenticity and trust. This, in my view is the BIG picture.
Content marketing, can and should be the engine that drives engagement, loyalty, trust and advocacy at all stages of the customer journey – from building awareness and consideration, to the point of purchase and throughout the all-important post-sale relationship.
Content marketing is not about providing expert information that suppliers believe is relevant and what the customer ought to know or be educated about. Even if this seems obvious, in my view, there is way too much information classified as content marketing that floods the in-boxes, social media accounts and mail boxes of consumers. What’s really important is that content marketing should be focused on the things that people really care about. Content marketing should be kept simple as ABC…
- Applicable and relevant to the target customer’s needs, based on insights from customer feedback;
- Breakthrough commonly held ideas so that customers and potential customers can think differently about their needs and pain points, leaving them open to the solution options advocated in the vendor’s content marketing; and
- Credible, with testimonials and other proof points that demonstrate that the vendor’s solution or product really meets the needs of the customer and creates a trusting relationship with the supplier.
See the BIG picture. Focus on what’s important.