August 4, 2016 - The dissemination of knowledge during the 16th century was largely controlled by the authorities of the printing market. The accessible information during World War II was censored by FDR’s absolute discretion. The threat of being accused of subversion during the Second Red Scare drove seditious content out of the public’s eyes. And even today, pioneers of the digital advertising market, such as Facebook and Google, are influencing election results through search engine optimization and suppression of relevant news. But when it comes to the marketing industry, consumers set the agenda.
This is the consumer's world. We’re all just living in it.
Consumers, not companies, have the almighty dollars and are, consequently, the absolute controllers of the free market. So how can companies give the consumers what they want? When given engaging and relevant information, consumers don’t just invest in a product – they invest in an idea.
Consider the content-driven marketing strategy that transformed Jell-O from an obscure gelatin product to “America’s Most Famous Dessert.” Back in the early 1900s, before the Internet age, most recipes that people used were either a passed-down family tradition or a self-discovered concoction. Since new recipes were in high demand, the manufacturers of Jell-O went door-to-door distributing free recipe books that included ways to incorporate Jell-O into meals. Unsurprisingly, the company’s sales increased by $1 million in just two years.
Today, content-driven marketing takes a much different form. Many companies utilize blogs and social media to spread awareness. However, you will rarely see companies (or at least companies that know what they’re doing) posting articles about the 20 best reasons to invest in their products. Instead, they post tangentially-related articles that make consumers stop and think, “Thanks, Company X, for providing this insightful information that I would not have known if I hadn’t liked/subscribed to your page/blog!” (Ok, maybe not in that exact tone, but you get the point.) For example, Dove creates campaigns to promote positive self-images – these videos seldom mention Dove and rather focus on the target audience.
Content-driven marketing can be as big as Red Bull sponsoring a BMX event or as small as your summer camp posting a blog about how to stay in touch with your summer friends during the school year; regardless, it incontrovertibly boosts sales and influences buyer behaviors. As Simon Sinek astutely observed in his TEDTalk about inspirational leadership, “people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” This process of taking a step back and incorporating the “Why” into marketing techniques has changed the marketing game, and it seems as though the leading players are the content-driven marketers.
By: Brittany Levy