Posts Tagged strategy

Marketing strategy is more than just content

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about content. I think about keeping it fresh, keeping it provocative, keeping it engaging. And most marketers would agree… content drives a lot of behavior. But its about more than just creating good content, it’s what am I doing with that content.

While I admit that the web takes care of a lot of that thinking for us…the view that if I blog it, tweet it or post it they will come is just plain wrong. There’s more to an effective marketing strategy than that. The web is an abyss of data and depending on your specific field, breaking through the clutter without a strategy is like swimming in the dark – eventually you’ll lose sight of which way is up and which way is down. 

Have you searched for anything lately? If you’re in the healthcare industry (like me) you probably talk about reform. There are 4,494 pages with “healthcare reform” in the anchor and title.  So I say again, marketing strategy is more than just content.

Here are three things to consider when producing content…

1) Visibility – Does my content allow customers to see my product/service/solution in action. Does it communicate results? Are there testimonials? Is there a demo? Something about my content has to highlight the value I’m delivering.

2) Accessibility – Can my customers arrive at this content without a huge sacrifice in time and resources. For many of our customers, a simple web search is not feasible. If you’re in healthcare reform, you can’t start blogging tomorrow and poof find yourself with customers next month. And paid search you say might to some degree solve that problem, but do you want to pay for it? What’s more only 40% of web searches actually result in a paid search click…and finally, it would be naïve to think all your customers are on the web looking for you! 

3) Relevancy – And when my customers do get to my content, does it provide data / insights relevant to their needs and considerations. I recently clicked on a tweet promoting some news at a certain organization (that will remain nameless) but when I clicked, it didn’t take me straight to the story…it took me to the promotional part of their site, and from their I had to scroll down to find the article.

Well…I didn’t look for the article. I closed the window and ceased following that organization. The link was not relevant to what I was searching for, and the end content that I was looking for was not easily accessible.

So content may be king, but their has to be a kingdom in order for their to be a king. And that kingdom has to be visible, accessible and relevant.

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Retreating in a downturn

eMarketer recently published a story on marketing budgets, and surprise surprise, the majority of marketing budgets are getting cut globally. From traditional advertising all the way to social media.  Obviously no one is going to criticize  a business for shedding costs in this environment, but it has always struck me as counter-intuitive that we choose not to take the offensive while our competition retreats, and then when brighter days finally arrive, we shake off the dust only to compete with more opponents for a smaller piece of the pie.

Now is the time to get out there! Now is the time to win the hearts and minds of struggling consumers and small businesses; customers who just need a little TLC.  Now is the time to claw our way back into favor, to earn back a little bit of the trust that big business has lost. While hiding is certainly a safe play, it will never be a winning play.

I recently read about a restaurant in Europe that, in response to the downturn, was not charging patrons for meals. Instead, patrons were encouraged to leave whatever they felt was a fair price for what they consumed. Mind you, probably not a long-term strategy, but in times of hardship that’s a service that resonates with people and builds reciprocity. Never underestimate the power of reciprocity! No doubt this move has carved out a prime piece of real estate in the customers’ consideration set.

To be fair the study went on to say that spending will be flat to up in online categories like paid search and email. That’s understandable – those tactics are inexpensive, measurable, and have a clear line of sight to revenue generating activities. Both are also more targeted than mass media. But in my experience online budgets are also relatively small pieces of the overall marketing pie to begin with… which means even with minor increases in budget we’re still underinvested when it comes to online marketing.

With that in mind I challenge you to be bold – to think long term. The field will always be cluttered, but as companies pull back, the field is becoming less cluttered and you have an opportunity to vie for a bigger piece of  the customers’ mindshare. They may not buy from you today, but they also won’t forget about you tomorrow.

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