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Love, Hate and a Prediction for Content Marketing

by Frank Strong

love-hate, content marketing

I have a love-hate relationship with Groupon.  I love the concept of a deal, the motivational economics of scarcity and the idea its email marketing program introduces me to purchases I might not otherwise have considered.

I hate the concept when I get more than one email per day.

One deal and one email per day – that was the promise – but somewhere along the way one turned into two or more. I haven’t kept track with a score sheet, but I’ve definitely felt a sense of annoyance with the volume of email of late.  Groupon isn’t alone, I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed a several times from both Groupon and Living Social for this exact reason.

In all likelihood, I’m sending Groupon mixed signals:  I open these emails only to delete them without reading – because that’s an efficient process on a mobile device. It’s gotten to the point where it’s not just the extra emails I open specifically for the purpose of deleting them, it’s ALL of their emails.

The company’s email volume has conditioned me instinctively apply a filter.  I’m getting too much and when I get too much, I tune it out.

 

When Will We Realize More is not Always Better

Joe Pulizzi recently wrote the 2013 Content Marketing Predictions Hits and Misses – its and interesting read and has an invitation to submit a prediction for next year.

I made a prediction, but after thinking about the topic a little more, I started to realize I really had a different idea.  My thinking about the future of content marketing was at odds with conventional marketing thinking: more isn’t always better.

More email doesn’t always mean more leads.  More leads doesn’t always mean more qualified leads. More content isn’t the same as quality content.

A recent study by eMarketer echoes this theme.  The headline lured me in: SMBs Lean on Content for Lead Gen, but when you dig into the statistics, a reader is hard pressed to see anything new.  The need, according to the study, is about getting a better understanding of customers.

Who can argue with that?  Except what’s different today, is that the objective is to help a customer getting a better understanding of a brand. It’s a very different mentality.

 

Be Careful What You Say; Someone Might Believe You

If a reader dives into that eMarketer study, you’ll fine white papers, webinars and case studies top the tactical list. These tactics will sound familiar to any marketer, the difference today, is in the utility of that content.  It’s the difference between being helpful and being a nuisance.  Doubling content output is a nuisance that invites a filter.

Rather than generating heaps of content, throwing it at a wall, and hoping some of it sticks with your prospects, why not spend your time and effort designing a single piece of content that can be leveraged across all major channels and that speaks to all customers at any stage in the sales process?

My thinking on content marketing mirrors what Ian Lipner previously said about PR:  “Visibility is a commodity product…” So is content; in 2014 the focus will increasingly shift to quality. To stay engaged, to stay relevant, brands will have to add value.  It’s hard to scale content value on the cheap.

Photo:  Flickr

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