Never before in history has business been so competitive. It’s no longer just local shops competing against each other, while selling their wares. Today, the boundaries that separate local and international markets are slowly blurring away…. and, some of the credit must go the internet. At the click of a mouse (or more recently the swipe of our smart phones), potential customers are exposed to a plethora of products, some of which are very different from the ones they were exploring for.
Here arises the usual dilemma- Which product gets to go home with the customer?
This is where an excellent marketing strategy shows its advantage. The rules of marketing have not undergone much change. It’s still a planned and steady approach, aimed at procuring and maintaining brand-loyal and life-long customers.
The Backbone of it All!
For any marketing strategy to work, it must first have a rock-solid foundation. That foundation would have to be built using some very strong and goal-driven content. This is why many professionals in the industry would agree that content marketing, forms the backbone of every marketing strategy.
In simpler words, content marketing aims to go a step beyond the usual instant sales-pitch and short-term advertisement jingle. Here, the goal is to create brand awareness through a long-term process of continually conceiving, updating and disseminating relevant, valuable and reliable information regarding the products or services offered, thereby assuring brand loyalty.
Here, the key-terms to be noted are “awareness” and “long-term”.
Ringing in the Basic Principles of Marketing…
One of the basic principles of marketing is that if we give something of value, we get something of value in return. Content marketing does not deviate from this either. It facilitates the delivery of valuable information, which in turn creates a very valuable asset – An Intelligent Buyer.
An intelligent buyer is capable of making intelligent decisions. Hence, when an organization, be it a local shop or an MNC, delivers consistent and up-to-date valuable information to its customers, the ultimate reward will be the gain of the customer’s business and loyalty. The results of such a successful content marketing strategy will last for many years.
Content Marketing Precedes the Internet Era
Content marketing isn’t a new concept. It has been around much before the advent of the internet. Its presence is evident in all the brands and business organizations that have withstood the test of time. Many a successful business franchise owes its expansion and longevity to a sound and well-planned strategy.
Content Marketing Vs Advertising
As said earlier, content marketing is a bit different from advertising. Advertising relies on the media for its distribution whereas the former seeks to create media rather than depend on it. Hence, the products promoted through this method will not just be as advertisements on TV or street-hoardings. Rather, an entire package, with a stronger impact, is created to support the awareness-drive required to establish a long-lasting and positive impression on the mind of the potential customer.
The type of content used is closely related to the promoted product. Today, content management makes its presence felt in both the real, but limited off-line world, as well as the far-reaching on-line one.
In the offline world, we can see it in a variety of formats. We experience it whenever we read a book, watch a movie or attend an event that puts the spot-light on a particular concept linked to a particular product, service or brand. For instance, animated cartoons, featuring a particular brand of toys, being produced and aired on popular cartoon channels, etc. are just some of the occasions where this type of marketing has been used. The off-line method is still very popular, especially in places where the internet revolution is still in its nascent stage. Moreover, it’s been considered a bit more reliable than its online counterpart.
However, the online version can and must never be ignored. It is the both the present and future of content marketing. Its impact has far greater reach than the off-line mode and at times even supports it. Videos- instructional and viral, social-media marketing, product-apps, podcasts, e-books, how-to articles, reviews and blogs… the possibilities are literally endless when content marketing enters the cyber world. As the digital marketplace is ever dynamic, it presents an ideal place to put in high quality content that keeps changing in response to the needs of the audience.
In the end, content marketing seeks to fulfill the needs of both the seller and the buyer. The seller gains satisfied customers, who in turn are vital for the goodwill of the company; and the buyer obtains a well-informed answer to the original dilemma he encountered – which product, amongst the bunch, will he buy.
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