People are bored with advertisements. I know that’s a big statement, but think about it. Unless an advertisement is really attractive and catchy, do you really bother taking note of them these days? You flip though a magazine, browse the net, watch TV; how many ads actually stick to your mind? Aren’t there times when you happily turn the page, click the ‘back’ button or switch channels to escape those pesky ads and pop-ups?
The answer would most likely be in the affirmative. Now suppose, as a marketer, you are not only able to grab the customer’s attention, but you are actually able to make the customer eager for your next ad? No magic formula, the answer is content marketing.
Content marketing involves sharing useful content and information with customers, in an attempt to interest and engage them. It involves providing them with useful information which would help them make informed purchase decisions. The idea is to find favor with the consumer through non-intrusive means, by helping and supporting his decision making, rather than forcing it. This ‘benevolent’ form of advertising, coupled with repeated exposure to the brand will help develop deeper ties and improve brand loyalty and recall.
The scope for this form of advertising is immense. And it is about to get even bigger. Your objective is to deliver content to the customer for free. What better way to do this than through the internet? Blogs, newsletters, videos, podcasts are just some of the ways to reach out and create value for the customer. Social media and networking sites provide the perfect platform for providing a steady stream of useful content to the customer. The advent of 3G and advanced mobile computing also bodes well for this form of marketing.
Suppose you wish to market engine oils. Imagine sending out a tweet every 2 -3 days about good engine maintenance practices, about how performance is affected by the oil used and providing tips and tricks to tweak the engine. Refrain from mentioning any aspect about your product. Stick to providing quality content to your customer. An automobile enthusiast will lap up this content and will begin to eagerly await your next tweet. He may even re-tweet your content and slowly, your expanding customer base will begin to associate your product with high-quality performance.
All you had to do was come up with quality content which benefited your target customers. The rest just happened. Behold the power and potential of content marketing!
However, it is important not to get carried away. A certain level of moderation is required to succeed with this form of marketing. It is important not to bombard customers with content. The objective is to draw out the customer and make him an active participant in the marketing process. Excessive content will again become akin to traditional, intrusive means and the very idea behind content marketing will be lost. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I will emphasize, “It is the quality which matters, not the quantity”.
The differentiating factor will be the ability of the marketer to keep a tab on the pulse of consumers and design quality content that benefits them. High-quality, relevant and useful content will be the key behind a successful content marketing campaign. And remember, moderation pays!