Updated: Mar 24, 2019
Does your marketing approach reflect how consumers buy today?
When I ask this question I don’t mean if you have a business page on Facebook or Instagram, or if you’re ‘digital’ in how you do business.
That goes without saying.
What I mean is does your marketing show that you truly understand how your customers buy today, and what motivates them to take action to buy?
I’ve found that though many companies and business may say they do, and most even passionately agree that it is a must, in execution it tells a completely different story.
Whether you like it or not, understand it or not, Content Marketing is the new era of marketing. As Seth Godin puts it,
“Content Marketing is the only marketing left”
The Old Ways of Marketing Are No Longer Effective
As mentioned the ‘old way’ doesn’t mean you’re using conventional channels, it just means your mindset and approach to marketing hasn’t changed, even if the medium you use to market has.
This is what has been holding you back from seeing much more effective business results and ROI from your marketing.
It’s More Difficult to get Customer’s Attention Through Ads
Let’s start with data.
According to Demand Metric 86% of people skip TV ads. This means that of your total ad budget on television ads 86% of it will be wasted trying to reach people who don’t even care to see.
This is because there are so many mediums and so much content out there that people are bombarded with messaging constantly by companies (not to mention friends and family in their Social media feeds).
The problem is many marketers and entrepreneurs are still marketing as if it was the 1990’s pre-internet mass adaption when the only channels available were cable television, radio, and newsprint. Even then content was still limited.
We didn’t have smartphones to ‘live on’ constantly feeding our information and entertainment needs, so we were forced to pay attention to content that was given to us.
Now we have more options than ever and we can choose which content to consume and which to ignore. Hence, you need more than a flashy ad that says ‘Buy Now’ to make your marketing work.
Cost of paid ads increases each year
According to an article on CNBC’s website, the average digital ad costs 12% more than it did two years ago, yet the return on ad spend (i.e. sales and customers) has decreased.
The article goes on to say consumers are spending less time on websites than they did in previous years.
My speculation to this is due to the fact that most of these websites are only creating content that focuses on promoting and selling their products and services.
If you think about the websites that you visit often and stay the longest, I’m willing to bet those are the websites that don’t really try to sell you that much. They have content that is focused on either entertaining, educating, or offering you something else of value beyond ‘Buy Now’.
Customers today want more than just product info, they want to interact and connect, which is why Social Media has the highest audience usage than any other platform. Unless your content can be interactive and connects with your customers you will lose.
Customer Acquisition Costs Are Higher using Traditional Means
What does your marketing campaign execution process like?
I may not know you or your business specifically but I’m willing to bet it goes something like this:
Pay creative agency to create content
Pay ad agency to distribute the content
Pay for ads on TV, radio, newsprint, or Social Media to build awareness
Pay someone to create sales materials
Hire several salespeople to go out and prospect using sales materials (in-store trade marketers for B2C brands)
Salespeople go through several days, weeks, and sometimes months of follow up calls and meetings
Pray that you get at least a 1-3% conversion rate for all the money you’ve spent
Now if you were to calculate how much you have to pay each agency, each salesperson, cost of the ads just to run for a few days, and the time it takes to convert just one customer or client I’m pretty sure you can see how all these costs can add up.
I can also see your CEO or CFO having a heart attack from the numbers.
An effective marketing and sales strategy is not just about getting your potential customers to know who you are (brand awareness), but also liking you and trusting you enough to want to do business with you .
Unfortunately for most businesses marketing campaigns that jump from awareness to asking for the sale are no longer effective. This is why having a process of lead nurturing through content is so important to create the bridge between awareness and sale.
Without that your spending money aimlessly.
Customers Buying Behaviour has Changed
The sales process is no longer simple and static.
It’s no longer about setting up booths at trade shows, promo girls, run a TV or newsprint ad to make people aware of you, and they walk into your store or visit your website and buy from you.
The sales process has evolved and is a lot more complex today than it was at the beginning of the 21st century (2000’s).
Customers are more sophisticated, they are more skeptical, and they spend more time learning about a company through a Google search than they do an ad or sales presentation.
According to Pardot (a subsidiary of Salesforce) 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales.
What this means is before your sales team even gets in front of a potential customer, the potential customer or client is already 70% in making a decision whether or not they want to buy from you or do business with you.
Does this mean that ads, sales presentations and trade shows don’t work?
It just means that you can no longer rely on those methods as the only or main way to reach your potential customers.
Content marketing has to be at the heart of that strategy.
I worked at a B2B tech company where I was in charge of business development, and a focus on Content Marketing.
Before I came whenever a salesperson walked into a meeting room with a client it would take months or even over a year just to close one deal. There was even a particular client that took over three years to close.
Once we started implementing a Content Marketing strategy the time to close a deal was significantly reduced by on average 50%. Which means it took half the time to close a deal as it did before Content Marketing.
This was purely due to the fact that the content wasn’t focused on selling, but was focused on positioning the brand as an authority in its space through educating potential clients.
We closed more deals faster because when clients did a Google search they liked what they saw.
Trust was built even before we walked through the door.
If for nothing else this is why you need a Content Marketing strategy.
Building trust making the sales process easier and quicker.
The Competition is more Intense than Ever
The final reason why it makes sense to implement a Content Marketing strategy in 2019 is because the internet has made the marketplace even smaller and more competitive.
The barrier to entry to start a business or company is low, thus competition has risen significantly over the years.
Your competition is no longer the company offering the same product/service in the same city, now you’re competing with companies online as far as India for B2B services or China for B2C consumer goods.
Personally, I tend to buy consumer goods such as clothes, shoes, or electronics online from companies overseas because the quality is often better, and the designs are more unique (this is a big deal for me as a consumer). Not only that the prices are far less expensive than if I bought locally because locals tend to buy oversees then double and even triple their prices.
For this reason, I’m always willing to seek a product overseas than locally, and believe me when I say don’t be delusional, your customers think the same way.
Now you can do one of three things:
Argue and complain how unfair it is and go out of business
Shout at me through the internet and tell me how wrong I am and go out of business
Readjust your strategy to make customers want to buy from you and dominate the market
The problem is that most companies are selling a commodity, not effectively building a meaningful brand.
The difference is when you sell a commodity you’re competing based on price, convenience and/or ease of access. Which means anyone who can sell at a lower cost than you can, make it more convenient than you can, or make it easier than you can will always win.
However, when you build based on brand, that is a meaningful connection that you have with your customers, even if you charge three times the cost of your competitors, people will still come to you. Reason being they aren't paying for the item, they're paying for the emotional reward or positive feeling they get from your brand.
Why do you think Apple makes so much money from their customers? Not because of the product, but because of the brand they have built over the years.
My Final Thoughts
So going back to how we started this article.
Why do you need a Content Strategy in 2019? Because everything has changed. Cost of ads and customer acquisition has increased, consumer buying behaviours and interests have changed.
Content Marketing is one of, if not the most, effective ways to maximize your return on investment for each marketing spend, while increasing sales, and increasing the lifetime value of your customers.
It also significantly lowers marketing costs through more targeted marketing and relevant content that not only builds brand awareness, but gets your customers to pay attention to who you are and what you have to say.
Once you can do that it’s easier to lead them through your marketing and sales funnel to eventually becoming a customer.
Want to know how to create a Content Marketing strategy that drives sales? I’ve created a free email series that goes through the process to show you how. Just enter your details below and click the button to get your first lesson sent to you.
Do you agree that a Content Marketing has greater benefits than traditional marketing? Let me know your thoughts below (comment using Facebook comment box).
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