Over the last 2 years, the term content marketing has not only been coined but received wide acceptance within marketing circles. Content marketing became the new mantra to engage with customers on a wide array on both digital and traditional levels. Current studies show (link to a Marketing Prof’s article on B2C content marketing trends), that content marketing still receives great attention and for the most part, rightly so. As most studies confirm, over 85% of both B2C and B2B marketers keep or even increase their content marketing efforts in 2013 based on previous years budget spending.
The content marketing matrix, shines some light on the level of content marketing management possibilities but also highlights, that a very generic customer profiling is assumed.
Why is content marketing however becoming complacent with an overflow of content from all sides to a single consumer?
> Consumers follow less traditional funnel concepts but rely on multiple sources and a more diffuse buying decision making behaviour (see ZMOT by Google for some inspiration)
> Technology enables consumers to not just for ROPO (research offline / purchase online) but currently for RMPO (research mobile / purchase online) and RMPM (research mobile / purchase mobile)
> Influence of content to consumers decreases with the increasing emphasise placed on social sharing and social recommendation (e.g. great content marketing but 2 out 5 star rating)
How can a marketer deal with these changes in consumer purchasing behaviour and the increase of technology as enabler for new purchase decision making?
1) Utilise digital data: with digital media in place, enabling big data to become smart data is easier than ever. It is however important to differentiate between wanting to know everything and being able to distill what is really important. Don’t get overwhelmed by the flow of data but control it!
2) Enable customer journey thinking: smart data allows you to follow single customers (don’t think stalking) but to determine their need at any given time. A housewife in Massachusetts using an Android based Smartphone might follow a different decision making journey than a college freshmen in San Francisco using a laptop in a coffee chain. Customers don’t want to be spammed with content but receive the right content at the right time. Banner blindness is not a sign of too much content but non-contextual content – just because I searched for a fridge doesn’t mean I want to see fridge banners for the coming two weeks.Don’t spam with content – be smart and enable customer’s to use it!
3) Less is more: Customer’s banner blindness, which served as an example for the increasing marketing message aversion, is just one example of content being misplaced, money and resources wasted. Follow the customer journey and anticipate in real time the needs and receptiveness of customers to your content. Use digital data to model the journey and most importantly track progress – add value to the customer journey but not noise. Use your budget wisely and at important decision making stages when the customer most heavily relies on external content to progress in his or her buying cycle.