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Friday, 30 August 2013

The Buying Cycle (in a nutshell)

You can also think about the buying cycle as

1. The customer realizes they have a problem
2. They set out to gather information about their problem
3. They start evaluating the solutions that might solve their problem
4. They choose a product/service
5. They implement their chosen solution and are satisfied or begin the process again

Marketers who shape their content to deliver answers to their customers at each stage, have a far higher conversion rate than those who ignore human logic.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Create, Curate or Syndicate?

It's all about content.
Content is King.
Generating enough content is the top issue on our little business brains, according to any statistics you'd ever like to quote.

I define content as the stories your company shares with it's various audiences, to help them understand what makes you unique and why they should spend their time and money supporting your brand.  Content is not a substitute for marketing, but it is the information you supply, to form an emotional connection with your customers - it gets them involved.

There are really only 3 ways to go.

1. You create fresh, original content

This is by far the hardest and most time consuming route, but as with anything in life, all that effort can lead to maximum returns if done well. Content creation puts you in control, lets you add your own personality and project images and stories that resonate with your distinct groups. You have the ideas, you produce a post/article/whitepaper and you share it.
See Red Bull content marketing.

2. You summarize and curate the content that's already out there

The time poor consumer is happy to do their own research, but anyone who can shorten their decision making process is a friend.  Companies who pull together the best content available, be that blog posts, articles, infographics, podcasts etc. around a particular industry/market/topic to share with their audience, immediately add value by saving them the trouble of finding these gems themselves.
IBM have a great curation example on tumblr.

3. You find key allies and syndicate content

Syndication is about getting your content in front of different audiences, often creating new revenue sources along the way.  You can either join forces with those already making a noise in the markets you want to reach and find a way to work with them, (guest blog, co-produced white paper etc.) or distribute third party information, usually be quoting links back to the original work, (or paying to republish as necessary). Newspapers are a great example of syndication, with several different journalists, puzzle makers, cartoonists etc contributing to the final product.
Take a look at the following sites to see more on this model
Social Media Today
Sustainable Business Forum
My Venture Pad

I suspect that the day is near when we won't even talk about content as a separate subject, since social media has now put the consumer firmly in control of the stories behind each brand.  Let coca-cola's content 2020 program lead the way .......

Friday, 2 August 2013

Why Content Needs To Be Authentic

I recently discovered the fabulous blog 1000 Awesome things by Neil Pasricha and it reminded me how often we overlook the simple, wonderful things right before our eyes, in our pursuit to create great marketing content.

The enormous success of Neil's blog is testament to how much we humans love to relate to one another.  His blog is a series of anecdotes. - they're observations.  Small stories, which make us nod our heads in empathy and think back to the last time we experienced the same feelings, first hand.

All marketing needs honesty if it's to connect with its audience.  

We want to think that every company is a person and understands us.  

We're interested in the reasons why a company does what it does rather than the products they produce.  

We buy into the emotion and the story of a brand and that shapes our perception and ultimately our purchase decisions.

We want content that confirms our view of the world, helping us to immediately feel part of a wider community.

If you stripped back the industry jargon, business speak and hype around your company, what would you have left to say?  It just might be what your customers want to hear.