A popular sales consultant once said that when all you do is talk about your product you’re only engaging 3% of your audience. But if you talk about how your product can solve a problem that affects everyone, you’re connecting with 100% of your audience. This mindset falls right in line with the new direction of marketing and PR – Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is a term that has a fuzzy origin but some may argue Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett made it popular with their book, Get Content, Get Customers. The approach revolves around the theory that the Internet and especially the introduction of the massive search engine, Google, have drastically changed consumer-purchasing habits. In the old days it was a few TV companies and newspapers that dominated the marketing and advertising scene. The type of marketing that was conducted for over 50 years was about getting your message inside of these mediums and “interrupting” the consumer, as Seth Godin would put it, with your story.
While the idea of a good story hasn’t died, the type of story that customers are looking for has changed.
Instead of the Michellin baby, consumers want to know the best techniques for making their tires last longer. Instead of catchy taglines they want catchy information. This new generation of consumer spends 60% less time watching TV and 600% more time online talking with peers or researching potential products to buy (Get Content, Get Customers). This is not a fad this is reality.
This is also not a new type of marketing but it is becoming more popular due to its effectiveness and the low cost of publishing information online today. A classic example that you may remember, depending on your age, is the Shell Oil Company’s Shell Answer Man campaign. They delivered helpful information to motorists – not about their products but about things that may be helpful – how to check the oil, tire wear, or tips on avoiding accidents. Using this content, Shell was seen by consumers as a helpful resource, building both awareness and brand image.