In todays world traditional marketing techniques are becoming rapidly ineffective. Consumers prefer non-interruption, or communicating without selling, marketing methods. They only want the information necessary to make an educated decision for themselves. So as marketers, how do we give the consumer what they want while still effectively meeting our goals? Simple, through content marketing. “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it. (Content Marketing Institute)”
Social media is changing how the marketing game is played. In 2012 over 27 million pieces of online content was shared DAILY via the web this includes social media, blogs, email and content aggregation sites. (Sekari) The social playing field allows for open discussions about products, services, and brands. Consumers may not realize it but they now think, interact, and purchase products differently than they did previously. Their decision making is now heavily influenced by their consumer teammates, even when they are off of the field. Almost all consumers trust peer recommendations and a very small percentage still trust advertisements. (Dashburst) Therefore, brands should change the way they think, interact, and market to consumers. This means embracing and implementing testimonial marketing strategies to keep consumers engaged, happy, and coming back for more! Testimonial marketing is a written recommendation from a celebrity or satisfied customer affirming the performance, quality, and/or value of a product or service. Testimonials are one of the most potent tools of marketing. (Business Dictionary) However, many marketers feel these new content marketing trends are hard to adopt. And we get it; it’s a completely new way of thinking! You may already be overwhelmed asking yourself in a panic, “Where do I start?” We want to put your mind at ease and provide you with the resources necessary to win the content marketing game.
Consumers not only want a relationship with brands, but demand it. Marketers should use a social playing field to establish this relationship. Now more than ever, consumers appreciate communication, transparency, and honesty from brands; even if this means admitting fault. By keeping the lines of communication open you build a trustworthy relationship and the consumer will reward you by purchasing your products. If your brand doesn’t use social sites, you’re a player short in the game. And we’re not talking about a rookie player, we’re talking about your star pitcher. You should set up brand profiles on a few different social sites that align best with your marketing goals. In a recent survey consumers said the number one reason they “like” brands on Facebook is for more information on brands and services. While the top reason Twitter and Instagram users follow brands is to keep up with brand-related activities. (Technorati’s)
So give the people what they want, and get what you want too! Interact with the consumer, share your products, place social ads, run promos, and create sweepstakes; in exchange collect social user generated content (social posts including photos, videos, and testimonials), increase brand awareness, and increase your return on investment by gaining a loyal customer base. Collect and display social testimonials from brand advocates, a consumer who publicly supports or recommends your product. In the, What’s Next in Advocacy Marketing?, report published May 9, 2013 by Gartner, Analyst Richard Fouts stated, “The heightened momentum in advocacy marketing forces us to consider that, while millions can be spent on great advertising, in the end, a positive recommendation from an advocate is what often convinces a prospect to buy.” Display your brand advocate testimonials on your ecommerce site, social sites, and in-store displays to increase sales. With this strategy you will hit it out of the park!
“Start harnessing the positive content generated by your advocates in your marketing campaigns. Get help from the providers that specialize in advocacy marketing if you are interested in formalizing your advocacy efforts on a larger scale.” Richard Fouts stated in the, Six Ways Digital Marketing Will Rock Your World, report published January 7, 2013 by Gartner.