Courtesy of Teaching in the Middle
Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day.
Teach him to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.
....and if you're good enough, you may also sell him some fishing rods, lines, sinkers, baits, reels, and even a power boat (or luxury yacht)...
The point I want to make is this: marketing is no longer just about selling. It is no longer about being the cheapest, fastest, loudest, or flashiest. Neither is it about being everywhere, on every screen, 24 by 7.
No, the new world of marketing - or content marketing rather - is about showing how its done. Its about educating your customers and helping them to become better at what they do. Its about providing useful information with little or no strings attached. Its about maintaining that relationship even AFTER the sales is done.
Heck, its also about providing immense value even without a single dollar being exchanged.
With information tending towards free, and Google becoming the number one price versus value analysis tool, you need to find ways and means to get your name synonymous with product X or service Y. While a memorable brand name may help (only for a little bit), it is the regular provision of good quality content that captures Google's fancy.
Now wait a minute.
Isn't it silly to give stuff away for FREE? Wouldn't people take advantage of your kindness?
After all, you've worked extremely hard to develop the coolest products in the universe, offer them at irresistible prices, and hire the sweetest and slickest promoters to sell them.
Well, look at it this way. Who would you rather buy from?
a) A company which will do whatever it takes to get you to buy by blowing its own horn and offering all kinds of incentives, only to ignore you once the deal is done?
b) A company sincere about meeting your needs, educating you on how you can achieve the best utility from their product, and lavishing you with the best service after the deal is done?
I think the answer is quite obvious.
The irony is this. While the big boys like Coca Cola, Amazon, and Nike have learned the importance of content marketing, it is the smaller mom and pop outfits which need it even more. With limited marketing budgets and ad spend, the only way these guys can differentiate themselves is to educate their customers, be extremely helpful, and be available to assist them wherever possible.
In a world where social media lowers the barriers to entry, every small business can create their own digital real estate offering information, advice, assistance and "101s" (fishing, knitting, rocket making, etc...) to their customers. By providing great content, they can build interest-based communities of like-minded fans and members.
And maybe.... just maybe.... a couple (or hundreds) of them would swing their spending dollars in your favour.
The next time you think about launching a marketing campaign, consider developing a Wiki or an FAQ instead. Provide as much information as possible about your product and service. Be so helpful and service oriented that it will be difficult for potential customers to say no to you.
And remember, it isn't all about the sale but the relationship which matters.
Labels: content, content marketing, entrepreneurship, give to get marketing, information, marketing, social business, social media, word of mouth