Content marketing is just about the hottest thing right now in business marketing. It is being driven by a transformation in consumer expectations that has been fuelled by
social media and the Internet. Today, customers are better informed than ever before. They are willing to learn, and will conduct their own research online before making a purchasing decision.
The world has moved on from the 30-second commercial spot. Traditional advertising is just not working any more. People don’t pay attention it nor do they believe what they’re reading, hearing or seeing. So what is working? Providing compelling, authoritative content that consumers want. It engages and draws people in rather than broadcasts a message at them.
Growth of Content Marketing
The digital publishing and training group Econsultancy recently conducted a survey of more than 1,300 marketeers, soliciting their thoughts on where content marketing is heading. The results of their ‘Content Market Survey Report 2012’ make for fascinating and illuminating reading.
For example, 91% of respondents said they are using content to market their products and services, with the most common types of content being social posts and updates, feature articles, newsletters and blogs. And 90% believe content marketing will become more important in 2013.
In fact, the interest from companies and brands is already phenomenal. In the last two years, the number of online searches for the term ‘content marketing’ has increased exponentially.
Savvy organisations are realizing that securing custom is not all about the price. What people are willing to spend is important of course, but so is building trust, credibility and authority. And one of the best ways to do all that is with content marketing.
Despite the growth in interest in content marketing the majority of survey respondents admitted they didn’t have a defined content marketing strategy in place, though nearly 60% said that one was currently being planned
Putting the Fizz into Content Marketing
An illustration of the importance that some companies are now attaching to content marketing comes from Coca Cola. The soft drinks behemoth wants to double the size of
its business by 2020 but has realized that the marketing strategy that had served it so well in previous decades needs to change.
In perhaps a seminal moment for the marketing industry Coke released details of its new strategy. It is called ‘Content 2020’ and sets out a plan to go from creative excellence to content excellence to drive consumers.
“All advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of the 24/7 connectivity. If you’re going to be successful around the world, you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core.” Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence.
Barriers to Effective Content Marketing
Content marketing is not spun articles or article marketing, it’s the creation of editorial sound pieces that are genuinely interesting and have something to offer readers. Creation compelling content and telling great stories requires a set of skills and competencies that most companies do not possess. The respondents to the Econsultancy survey highlighted several barriers to effective content marketing:
- Lack of human resources (42%)
- Lack of budget (35%)
- Lack of understanding/training (4%)
- Lack of content creation skills (39%)
“Content is the voice of your brand and it is therefore important to allocate the respect, investment and focus it requires. Creating great content is difficult and delivering great content consistently through established processes is complex. However this is what is required if you want to take your brand from good to great in today’s communication environment.” Survey respondent.
Content Marketing Success
Whether companies try to create content themselves or enlist the services of a content marketing agency, the time for prevarication is over. Content is the key to marketing success in today’s globally plugged in and switched on digital world.