The rules of marketing undergo significant changes, as time passes by. From a seller-dominated market to a buyer-dominated market, it has come a long way to ultimately crown the consumer. Other ancillary functions like marketing communication and advertising undergo a sea-change. So, “blowing one’s trumpet” is no more the way of selling, as everyone, right from the consumer to the competitor, is well equipped with information, facts, and figures.
The dramatic shift in marketing is characterized by the advertising language that uses the tone of informing than selling. In today’s world a seller needs to be proactive, anticipate changes, and create awareness among the community. To reach everyone in the right time, place and to convince and provide a multitude of options is the goal of every seller and marketer. Content Marketing empowers one to do that.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is the creation of engaging, compelling, and customer-centric content, effective use of various modern media (internet, website, blogs, social media marketing) to communicate the focused information to target buyers. Content marketing is an improvement over traditional marketing (print, advertising, and magazine) and yields fantastic results at nominal investments and minimal maintenance costs.
To be explicit, content marketing involves viral marketing for your campaigns – remember the SMS virus created by BJP asking people to vote them to power, during the 2004 elections or the electoral magic created by Obama through effective campaigning in social networking sites and online media? The intended communication reaches the target audience through the click of a mouse. A successful content marketing strategy involves offering information products to end-consumers. Servicing customers, achieving increased user satisfaction in a highly competitive scenario amidst expanding overseas presence is possible easily through content marketing.
Content Marketing industry
Content Marketing is a multibillion dollar industry. There is a thin line between Content Marketing and Traditional Marketing. It is not a substitute but a supplementary function that improves the effectiveness of the latter, phenomenally. A point to be noted is that most of the newspapers, magazines, and even advertisement agencies and TV channels have established an online presence. Having embraced the philosophy of integrated marketing communication, they are offering the benefits offered by content marketers in addition to what they have been offering from time immemorial. However, there are niche areas like Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click (PPC) that only content marketers offer. Content marketing has enormous potential in terms of generating employment opportunities or simply put change the face of marketing.
The competitive edge
Why do the leading television channels play recorded videos of their programs in their websites? Why do magazines publish their news articles online and in social media marketing tools like Facebook? Why do CDs and DVDs accompany the media kits of corporate? Why do companies invest more and more money in creating their own content? Why are regional websites attaining popularity? Why are blogs and twitter posts in the limelight? Limited attention spans, constant urge for information on products are some of the reasons. Added to that is the viability to access content at any place and time – for instance travelers read mails during flight journeys. Content marketing helps reach the audience conveniently be it during their leisure or while attending a board meeting or even when driving a vehicle. It does not surpass traditional marketing, but helps your target audience access information in the shortest time span. Added to that, other factors like user-friendly language, mechanism of crisp communication and the possibility of providing actionable items are some of the factors that favor content marketing. For instance, there are options to read related posts or contact a subject matter expert by email or chat in most of the websites.
Adopting Content Marketing
A judicious mix of traditional and content marketing will help in achieving your company’s objectives or ROI from marketing budgets. That said, it is not easy to transform the mindset of a company’s top management to publish all their customer-centric information on the internet, or post thought leadership content on their inventions in a public-domain, more so in the case of traditional organizations. But one needs to communicate the success of solepreneurs, multinationals, and even non-profit organizations who have utilized this powerful medium to achieve marketing objectives by spending only a fraction of their marketing budgets. Above all making an effective use of the content marketing devices involves only a one-time investment and thereafter it is only maintenance and content creation costs, for instance in the case of a corporate website all that an organization needs to invest is in buying a domain name and for the initial layout, design etc. Organizations that fail to consider content marketing will lag behind their competitors, no matter the quality of their offerings, reputation in the market or any other factor that has been influential to the organizations growth, till now.
The future of Content Marketing
Content marketing is here to stay. But what will happen to it in the next ten years is anybody’s guess. Just like every technology or invention there will be improvements over Content Marketing. But, until anything of the sort happens, it is an important marketing mix. If you have not yet looked into implementing it in your company so far, it is high time you act upon it.
About the author:
Prabu is working as a content management executive for a software testing company in Bangalore. His email id is email@example.com and his LinkedIn profile is http://in.linkedin.com/pub/prabu-subramanian/21/143/a85.
About the illustration:
Used with permission from Mallika Yelandur.