Somehow, you don’t trust content marketing. You’re meant to blog by every trick in the book of story-telling, enter into a dialogue with potential customers, raise brand awareness – and do all that without talking about the features of your product.
Here are 5 arguments that will save you from the content marketing hype:
1. Your customers make purchase decisions within a few seconds
Today, customers consider almost twice as many sources throughout their purchase journey as in 2010. After the first contact with a product, the first impulse – the “Zero Moment of Truth” – sets in: The consumer reads test reports, asks around his social networks, watches product videos and compares prices. Just over the internet alone, a vast amount of information is accumulated in no time at all. 84% of all users are affected by the ZMOT in their purchase decision. Thus, shopping is becoming a product of comprehensive research, both in brick-and-mortar and online outlets. This is why your presence in all the places that the potential customers visit in the course of their research provides great opportunities. It raises awareness and brand loyalty and consequently increases sales. Of course, your customers may belong to the 16% who are already convinced by your advertisement, buy on impulse and forego information.
2. Your customers are non-emotional robots
An article on McCombs Today describes an interesting experiment: Two groups of participants were shown two chickens. The first group was told that the slightly overweight, yet healthy chicken was less tasty and that the skinny GM chicken was extremely tasty. The second group was told the exact opposite. Nevertheless, the participants of both groups selected the overweight chicken for a variety of reasons.
Other tests also reveal certain behaviour in the areas of marketing, politics and religion.
The scientists’ conclusion:
“This process seems to be happening somewhat unconsciously, people are not really aware they’re coming up with these justifications. What is even more interesting is that people who claim that emotions are not that important, who consider themselves to be really rational, are actually more prone to fall into this trap.”
Are comparable product and service features irrelevant? Not at all. However, they often only serve to justify the purchase, long after the decision has been made on an emotional level.
So, your customers only study hard facts, compare figures and prices and then make a rational decision? What was that again with those chickens?
Fotos: McCombs Today
3. Your target group doesn’t like to share contents
Every day, 30 billion bits of content are shared via Facebook alone. This includes links to websites, news sites, posts in other social networks, photographs and videos. Fair enough, Facebook is only used by around 1.3 billion people. That leaves almost 6 billion potential customers who are not present in the largest social network in the world. If you take a look at a local market like Germany, you will find that a good 27 million Facebook users have been active in 2014. Exactly. That still leaves more than 50 million people who skip Facebook. Maybe your customers don’t belong to the 9 million Google+ users, 4.5 million LinkedIn users or 3 million Instagram users either. Of course, if you don’t want your users to share your content with their friends, that’s your decision. We can only say that points 1 and 2 show people are influenced by recommendations and emotions when they decide to buy something.
4. Customers really like irritating advertising
It used to be so easy. You would simply offer your target group some targeted TV commercial, radio or print advertisements and off you went. Today, there are countless websites, social networks or video portals that consumers frequent in their search for entertainment or information. Now add to that a per-second Ipad screen and picture your commercial running in the background.
There have been a few innovations to catch people’s attention on the internet. One of those is online banner adverts. The truth is, most users don’t pay much attention to them. So, they get bigger and bigger and pop up on top of the web content the user is trying to access. Adobe commissioned a study on the perception of advertising formats and found that 58% of German users and 74% of American users consider banner ads annoying. This is only topped by cold-calling telesales (Germany: 82% / USA: 89%).
Who do you want to be? The pushy street vendor or the baker offering freshly baked warm rolls?
5. Your customers don’t use search engines
A good 38 million people in Germany alone use the search engine giants Google, Bing and Yahoo; the other providers reach another 4 million users. This means that for more than 50% of the German population, the search engine algorithms of these search engines decide which blog, forum and shop content is available to the user throughout their purchase journey. Since the Hummingbird update, Google prefers websites that feature a regular flow of fresh and unique content and therefore attract user interest in a natural way.
The offline world continues to exist, nobody denies that. But the focus is shifting. The mail-order firm “Otto” was one of the pioneers of distance selling in Germany and the first retailer to offer purchases on account. Their 1000 page catalogue had a firm place in German culture – with a circulation of 4 million catalogues each season, it was more than a retailer. It was an institution. Yet, in 2013, it announced the discontinuation of the catalogue. Why? Otto now generates 80% of its sales online, encouraging customers to return to the corporate website with its fashion blog: powered by Otto.
Have you really read the entire article? Maybe it has helped to make content marketing a little more tangible. Or maybe you will continue to search for excuses to leave the “content” out of content marketing.
Author: Ben Harmanus