Storytelling is a major component of marketing. The idea of storytelling is to capture the mind of the consumer and lead him to a ‘sale’. As advertising media goes through a metamorphosis, so does the medium of delivery of the story.
Traditionally, television, radio and print ads were understood to be effective since they reached out to large audiences at the same time. In today’s connected world, audiences have more choice and more purchase channels – both physical and virtual – at their disposal. Marketing hence, has to be precise, intelligent and more robust. Content Marketing provides this much needed focus, by disseminating relevant and targeted content that will help consumers streamline their purchase decisions.
Today, content is king and content marketing the kingpin in the world of eCommerce and digital marketing. There are numbers to justify this:
- 78% of CMOs feel that custom content is the future of marketing (Demand Metric)
- More than 50% of global marketers have adopted Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to deliver marketing content (Marketo)
- 27 million pieces of content are shared online everyday (AOL Nielson)
- 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing (Demand Metric)
- 86% of companies are engaging in some form of content marketing (Content Marketing Institute)
- Content marketing has the biggest share of all digital marketing for 2015 with a whopping 29.6% share (Smart Insights)
Mapping content to the sales cycle
A customer goes through certain distinct stages while making a purchase decision. A marketer has to create content to help the customer in each of these stages. For example, let’s consider a customer is interested in buying an OTG (Oven Toaster Grill); these are the stages he will pass through in the decision making process:
Awareness stage: the customer believes that he needs an OTG
Create content to promote your brand, and imply you exist and why you exist. You can do this via blog posts, white papers, infographics, and others.
Consideration stage: The customer is investing time in comparing the OTG ecosystem in the market
Case studies, short videos and technology guides could be presented at this stage.
Decision stage: the customer seems interested in your product
The customer who was till now a marketing lead has now graduated to becoming a sales lead and is extremely close to making a purchase decision. Product manuals, free trials and live demonstrations are best suited at this stage. At the end of this stage, the customer would have chosen, for example the ‘42SS Morphy Richards OTG’.
Kraft Foods, a popular packaged food products company is a great example of an effective content marketing strategy. Kraft has over time, developed a myriad of Facebook pages to cater to different segments of its consumer population. Recipes, information about products, details about Kraft’s social initiatives fill these pages. Kraft has not relied on only one social media platform. This offers customers the option to choose how they would like to view the content – on Google+, Kraft’s own website, Twitter, Pinterest, through their app or even their YouTube channel. They have been successful at keeping customers interest alive, improve their brand loyalty, generate new leads and increase direct sales.
Content marketing reduces costs & is ROI friendly
Marketers prefer content marketing to other forms of traditional marketing as it costs less on many fronts, thereby improving ROI. Lower costs of creation and media render branding exercises effective. Self-hosted content eliminates the cost of third-party media and yields returns over long periods.
According to Marketo, more that 50% of all companies currently using content marketing are increasing their budgets over the next year. While 45% are maintaining their current level of spending, only a microscopic 2% are actually considering a reduction in their content spend. The metrics illustrated below prove that content marketing is proving to be ROI friendly too.
Even way back in 1996, Bill Gates understood the potential of content marketing when he said, ‘Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet’. Let’s not be content with plain vanilla marketing and put content to good use to drive a stronger message.
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