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Content Marketing - From Brand Selling To Brand Advocacy

Circa 2017– internet, smart devices and technology has created a world in which, to a greater extent than ever before, individuals and businesses competed and collaborated across the globe for a mindshare of the prospective customer residing anywhere, fragmented into demographics, geographies and so on.

While traditional advertising (radio, print, and television) verbally and visually communicated the brand and product benefits utilizing the traditional “Marketing Mix” of 4Ps. Today dynamics of marketing has changed from traditional marketing mix of Product, Price, Place and Promotion (4Ps) to Consumer, Cost, Convenience and Communication, truly the era where content is the “Queen” and customer is the “King” has arrived.

Today’s consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons again making them irrelevant.

The world had moved from “one size fits all” to all about “Custom made”, it has now become imperative for the “Brands” to create differentiation and break away from the noise clutter and make a space in customer’s mind space – a mind space which has multitude of choices and even greater options to seek them. Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective with time, and that there has to be a better way.

Enter buzzwords like big data, content marketing and growth hacking, few words and phrases that make us want to pull our hair out if we hear it one more time. But however clichéd they sounds they are here to stay.

Arguably 2016 was the year of content marketing. The search term “content marketing” has hit its all-time high, and you can’t read an article on marketing without someone talking about content.So what is content marketing ?Away from the jargon it means creating and sharing “valuable and relevant” content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. Caveat is, that it is the art of having a conversation with potential and existing customers without actually selling or interrupting them.

Recall when Red Bull sent Felix Baumgartner to the edge of space for free-fall? So many brands would kill to generate as much buzz, engagement and word of mouth as Red Bull did. The lead-up to the event and aftermath was content marketing at its best, but the truth is most of us don’t have the budget and resources of Red Bull. While a big content splash delivers a wave of results it dissipates quickly. Such type of “campaign” approach may not be best for all brands. A more pragmatic and long term is sustainable for most.

While taking pragmatic approach becomes boring if a brand tries to create content that’s cute, clever and funny and repeat it, in a long run what works is creation of content that is useful for the audience with a clever strategy to distribute that content and amplify it.

Sometime brands also try to fill in the “content hole” with “vague greetings” without giving a thought that quality is more important than quantity. Also variety is a key to consumption and my only advise here is mix it up from blogs to info graphics to podcast to video but maintain consistency across channels.

Creating compelling content will be the biggest marketing challenge in the year 2015. Brands just need to take a stock, do a bit of research, and create a content plan. Those simple steps would solve a lot of problems when it comes to driving awareness, engagement and conversion via content.Identifying a mix of content your customers want and creating relevant curated content to help your customers in ways that don’t involve you selling your products and services, might surprise you.

Brands in 2017 should also look for dashboards which captures meaningful insights other than chasing likes and RTs. Sure, social signals matter but more robust dashboards should look for metrics like “engaged time,” visitor loyalty, click-through rates, clue to that lies in having a content audit, look through Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, competition landscape and figure out what is working for you.

From technology trends to changing business models to evolving consumer behaviors, there’s a lot to consider in order for today’s marketers to really have a handle on what’s important for their audience where content consumption is concerned.

(Prateek N Kumar is the Founder & CEO at NeoNiche, India’s fastest growing marketing agency with diverse portfolio. Idea-driven,
Innovation-focused and Insightful are the core qualities became the DNA and driving force of the organization.)

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