Imagine this: You walk into your first day at a new job and find out you will be presenting to more than 100 very senior marketing executives at an invitation-only event in 2 days. 2 days!
In 2014, I was honored to speak to a hungry crowd of content marketers. “One common theme of this event has been change,” I said after joking that I was the only thing standing between the hungry crowd and their lunch.
“We all know the world has changed due to digital, mobile and cloud technologies. Our customers are tuning out ineffective marketing content. Content marketing is an imperative because it represents the biggest gap between what brands produce and the content our customer actually want.”
Below are some ideas and highlights from my presentation, “The Content Marketing Imperative.”
“Ask most people what they think Marketing is and they will tell you it is an ad, a banner or some form of promotion,” I said. “Marketing has a marketing problem.”
And you all know it’s true. The word “advertising” has become something that leaves some people with a bad taste in their mouth.
And to some people, marketing equates to lying.
At Cannes just last week, a marketing executive quipped that “marketing used to be creating a myth and telling it. Now it’s about finding a truth and sharing it.”
So with all the digital distractions offered by our social, mobile life, just because your ad is on or in front of someone doesn’t mean they’re paying attention. As a society we have learned to tune marketing out.
Let’s talk about Banner ads.
Banners have 99 problems and a click ain’t one.
Make that 99.9-something problems. And the way the math works out, you are more likely to get struck by lightning, give birth to twins, die on a plane crash or win the lottery than to have someone click on your banner ad.
That’s right. Worse news?
Millennials don’t even realize that banners exist.
We’ve taught them to ignore the edges of the internet and they are pretty good at tuning them out.
The real problem for brands is that even our own customers could care less if we exist.
So we have to tell them why we exist. We have to talk about our higher purpose. Our reason for being. And we have to stop talking about what we do, and start talking about what we do for our customers.
So what will save marketing?
“Content Marketing and Storytelling are the fuel that ignite the fire that allows you to get found, get shared and get new customers.”
Think of it this way. Since the beginning of time, the human race has used their communication skills to pass on stories of survival. When we evolved away from being in fight or flight mode on a daily basis, we used stories to entertain and create a shared knowledge base. But the best stories are not about the information they convey, but the emotional connection they create.
Today your customers expect you to care.
They expect something in exchange for their time, attention, and loyalty. That’s why permission marketing works so well. It starts with respecting your customer.
If you tell a story about your brand and your customers through great content, then deliver that content in the right moment in a valuable way, while continuing to go above and beyond for your audience – that will create brand loyalty and content strategy success.
It’s time to become a 21st-century marketer and act like a publisher.
That means creating content people actually want, engaging them with a great user experience and earning their attention and trust. It also means you have to find ways to convert them into new customers.
“Content is not a campaign,” I told the crowd. “It needs to be managed like an asset, with a strategy to generate an ROI. Effective content marketing is a balanced combination of original created, licensed, and syndicated content.”
And there is no debate between quality vs. quantity of content. Focus on setting the quality bar and then build a platform that allows you to scale at that level.
Check out my full presentation on Slideshare