No one likes being sold to.
Instead, we like to come to our own opinions and decisions, when and how it suits us. We're highly sophisticated at decoding (and usually discounting) sales and advertising messages. Despite unprecedented exposure to such messages, we now have more control over the media we consume than ever before. No longer merely consumers, we have become originators and distributors of media too. With the immediate ability to post peer reviews, we leave no hiding place for products and services that promise an experience better than the one we receive.
Content-driven marketing has grown up partly in response to, but also to shape this changing context. Alongside (or sometimes instead of) more traditional sales-related activities, 'content' has become shorthand for seeking to communicate relevant, useful (and perhaps entertaining) information to existing and potential customers. This less intrusive and ideally more helpful approach aims to increase goodwill and advocacy as well as revenue.
But how can you ensure that the content you create will meet those objectives, rather than remain unnoticed or even worse, rejected? We believe it depends on how well you can answer these three questions:
Are you offering something that is genuinely meaningful?
Is your content providing something that customers really will find useful? Is it crafted in a way that is appealing and involving? Or have you simply contributed to yet more media pollution?
Are you offering it at the right moment?
Is it being experienced at the right moment as far as the customer is concerned - a moment that suits them, when they can use it in the way they want? Does the medium through which it was delivered match that moment?
Are you ensuring its effectiveness is being measured properly?
Is your organisation clear what it wants content to achieve and how its role is integrated with the overall marketing mix? How are intermediary measures such as brand awareness or page impressions viewed in relation to end measures such as purchase? Does everyone in your organisation understand how content is meant to contribute to success?
The better the answer to these questions, the more your content will become engaging and effective and be recognised as a critical component in the marketing mix.
Author: Nick Jones