Just do it – Nike. Impossible is Nothing – Adidas. Solutions for a smart planet – IBM. The happiest place on earth – Disneyland. Have it your way – Burger King. These are some of the most famous marketing slogans of our times. Then there are the marketing buzzwords too – Epic, ROI, Value, Thought Leadership, Hot Tip, and so many others. Advertisers and marketers have been bombing consumers with them for ages now, with mixed results.
It’s often said that the success of a brand depends largely on the slogan’s effectiveness, use of buzzwords, and how effectively a campaign is designed. But that’s just part of the story.
Marketing, whether it’s online or traditional, is dynamic. It changes all the time. But it can be argued that buzzwords are actually not working all that well now. Blame this on their overuse or frequent abuse. The smart consumers of today have developed resistance. And the “buzzword backlash” is making marketers worried.
Increasingly, brands are now feeling the need to look beyond the simple use of buzzwords. What they are looking for is a comprehensive content strategy that reaches out to the target audience, broadcasts information, creates desire, and solves problems. One factor that has become the key to success is “engagement”, thanks to the growth of social media.
The communication’s primary goal is to stimulate the desire for the service or product, to make the brand famous, and to lead the consumer down the purchase funnel. There is no change here. But while the slogan or buzzword just aimed at creating interest and desire, the new-age content marketer wants to provide something of value to the consumer, without asking for anything in return often.
It’s a big change. It was a top-down approach before, where the focus was always on business, revenues and bottom-line. Now it’s the complete reverse of this. This bottom-up approach focuses on relationship building, loyalty, goodwill, and the power of reference. The business here is essentially trying to solve a problem, instead of just focusing on sales and revenues. Yes, it’s a long-drawn process, but it’s better geared to work, because marketers are essentially looking at consumer interest first.
The “Give First, Get Later” approach is changing the way business is using content.
The Better Strategy
Everybody wants to come up with best-selling content. But what would be the best-selling marketing content today? As mentioned above, it would be something that connects with consumers to solve real problems and issues. Content that sells is what focuses on the person – on personal triggers and motivators. It could be anything. For instance, a well-crafted white paper can work better that a conventional advertisement.
What’s driving marketers now is usefulness. This means companies need to discover inventive ways of coming up with the content. For example, an app, which helps people remember their shopping list, could be content. A bracelet used for tracking exercise could be content too.
Marketers are really happy about this. There was a time when businesses communicated with the masses through television advertising, billboards, newspaper insertions and magazines. But now, the individual matters more than a group of people. And there are plenty of opportunities too of communicating with each person who can be a consumer or is a customer already. Customer engagement through social media, newsletter subscriptions, and email calls-to-action has evolved content marketing a lot.
So businesses now need to start thinking like publishers, coming up with content that the readers actually want. They can broadcast this through different channels. Businesses can spread awareness, engage with people, and even launch new services or products, once they have developed followers. But speed is often the essence, because most people are looking for quick fixes or answers. Speed is the essence particularly when the brand is trying to rectify an issue, or carry out a Public Relations exercise.
There are new opportunities. Businesses just have to capitalize on them.