For decades marketing strategy revolved around the USP, or Unique Sales Proposition. The idea was to find THE benefit that is unique to your product or service and, through the use of relentless repetition, beat it into the minds and hearts of the buying public. Of course not every product or service has a totally unique attribute so a good deal of effort would go into making one up. One cleaning product in the early 1960’s claimed to be the only one with “Chlorinal” and, later on, “Super Chlorinal”.
Today consumers simply tune most of this out. TIVO and DVRs to allow them to skip TV Commercials, print ads are losing their appeal, and they pretty much ignore online banners and buttons. What’s an Advertiser to do?
Enter Content Marketing
Content marketing is the practice of delivering relevant and useful content in narrative form (stories, articles, videos) —as opposed to an Ad— to attract and engage a defined target audience. Content marketing is not about the hard sell, it is about connecting with customers and prospects in a way that is meaningful to them, inspiring loyalty and, eventually, business.
It is now being used by some of the world’s most successful brands including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and John Deere. It is has also been most effective for small businesses and solo-preneurs.
According to a survey conducted by Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an ad; 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company; while 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions.
What if your customer looked forward to receiving your marketing material?
The best way to get an idea of exactly what content is and how it might apply to your business is to see for yourself:
TravelPod: Online Game
Traveler IQ Challenges reinforces the blog’s position as the smart web destination for savvy globetrotters. As an online game, this branded content piece works great without clumsy software downloads, allowing you to show your prospects a good time, easily, while exposing them to valuable, relevant and compelling content.
Play the Travel IQ Challenges
iFood from Kraft: Mobile App
Creating a mobile app ensures that your content gets into your customer’s hands, while providing them with convenient tools. Kraft, puts delicious recipes at your fingertips and even includes features like a built-in-shopping list, making it one of the tastiest mobile content examples out there.
Explore the iFood Assistant App
Navy For Moms: Niche Market Website
With an online community the objective is to have the users generated most of the content— the brand sponsoring the pages provides the forum where people interact. Navy For Moms serves as such a niche community. Navy parents share concerns, stories, ideas (like how to send Christmas packages overseas) and more in this interactive setting.
Visit the Navyformoms.com Community
The Furrow: Digital Magazine
John Deere has been publishing its corporate magazine, The Furrow since 1895.
As a way to bridge the gap between its print and online audiences, the company
created a PDF version. The magazine speaks to the interests of its readers without overly promoting its brand.
Browse The Furrow
Jet, Set, Tweet: JetBlue Twitter Account
JetBlue is using Twitter in some cool ways. By its nature, travel is very much an industry on the move with a very mobile customer base. JetBlue has taken flight with a Twitter presence that addresses customer needs and gives the company important insights on its customers’ concerns.
Join the Tweets
FastCompany: Infographic of the Day
Infographics uses data to tell a story. With each one, FastCompany also provides context around the infographic’s meaning so the reader can’t help but want to explore the interactive charts and share their cool data with others (contagious content is key!).
“See Infographic: How Men and Women Differ When Making Big Sales.”
Urban Martial Arts: Blog
The Urban Martial Arts blog is an example of low-cost content marketing. The blog is run by a small martial arts dojo in Brooklyn, NY, and is used to highlight the character building activities enjoyed by their students (especially children). It incorporates a mix of media including videos, social media integration and articles.
Check out the blog
Guitar Center TV Channel on YouTube
Guitar Center has the most rockin’ content marketing around. Their innovative, fun and unique videos speak to a very targeted audience. The Guitar Center TV Channel on YouTube seamlessly integrates with the company’s website, providing an open forum for discussions from passionate players.
See YouTube Channel
Target Coupon Mailers – a Poetic Undertaking
High marks for imagination go to the Haiku Mailer initiative from Target These mailers, called “Haiku-pons,” contain discounts and coupons with brief, creative Haiku poems. A great example of how to use humor and a unique approach to make your marketing initiatives stand out.