3. THE ROLE OF CONTENT
Your cultivation system is the equivalent of a whole new sales force. Like a good, consultative sales person it delivers the influences that lead to engagement. Once it is up and running, it can identify enough about prospects that it will give you the chance to say the right thing to each of them at the right time. What you say at each one of those moments will be some form of content. I’m sure by now you are probably sick of reading about content. It has become one of those overused marketing buzzwords that is so broad it might even detract from its importance. But remarkably, with content empowered by the web and technology, it has become even more important in marketing than before.
The shift to a focus on content in marketing has mirrored the shift of power from companies to consumers with the turn of the century. With consumers in charge, brands have no choice but to cater to their needs and wants. And they have told us very clearly that they want more content vs. advertising. Since we are all experienced consumers, we can fairly easily tell the difference between the two. Advertising is trying to sell us something; it is pushing us to buy and assumes we care about its pitch. It is an interruption that we don’t want most of the time. Content, on the other hand, is something that we do want. It is engaging, entertaining, informative and even useful. It is something we seek out because of an interest, something that helps us make choices, and something that we might even want to share.
THE TRICK IS TO MAKE ENGAGING CONTENT THAT SERVES YOUR MARKETING AND SALES PURPOSES, BUT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SELLING.
This, as the best sales people will tell you, is classic consultative selling, which instead of selling, creates the conditions in which the prospect wants to buy.
It is not quite that simple, however.
THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE CONTENT CHOICES, OF HIGHER QUALITY, FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE’S TIME AND ATTENTION.
With the explosion of digital channels, broadband and portable devices, consumers can get enormous amounts of content anywhere, anytime. This is a relatively new capability and it is producing an explosion of content, from millions of videos on Youtube to a new golden age of TV programming on Hulu, Netflix and a host of other websites and networks. Add to that 24/7 sports for almost any interest, a non-stop news cycle from hundreds of sources, and do it yourself streaming video from Periscope and the like, and you’ve just scratched the surface. It is the most compelling and competitive content environment imaginable. And it is into this “fight to the death” arena that you submit your content in the hope that consumers will choose to spend their time with it.
While the general content landscape is brutally competitive, it is possible for brand content, if constructed with the right elements, to break through the noise. On the plus side is the changing nature of content consumption itself. On mobile devices, for example, people like short videos and easy to consume content. In the 3rd quarter of 2015, according to Ooyala mobile comprised 45% of all video viewing, up 50% from the previous year. Mobile on tablets or smart phones is a lean forward medium and feeds consumer’s developing desire to be constantly stimulated by content. For better or for worse, consumer’s have become short attention span skimmers, looking for instant emotional gratification, fast answers and continuous engagement. While the average length of videos varies depending on the channel, the overall average length of a video online comes in at about 30 seconds. This burgeoning need for a constant stream of engaging and relevant content is an opportunity for brands which need to keep themselves top of mind.