In Search of Substance

Keith Flint
Marketing News Exclusives
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Key Takeaways
  • ​A vast portion of the consumer audience, in both B-to-B and B-to-C markets, has found innumrable means of acquiring information that is free of advertising or marketing "spin."
  • Presenting information that appeals to cautious and thoughtful consumers gives marketers an edge.
  • Computer networking giant Cisco produces Unleashing IT magazine in collaboration with Intel and delivers content that appeals to executives inside and outside the IT community.

I don’t think that I’m alone in the way that I behave as a consumer. If I immediately sense that I’m being sold more than I’m being told, I’ll turn tail and run. I’m looking for substance, and I don’t have time to waste. I want to learn all that I can from the most well-informed and readily available source. If that source is both credible and reliable—and turns out to be the supplier of something that has captured my interest—I’ll favor that company when I’m ready to make a purchase.

These feelings are the result of traditional marketing techniques, which are becoming increasingly undesirable and ineffective. In turn, content marketing is on the rise. A vast portion of the consumer audience, in both B-to-B and B-to-C markets, has found innumerable means of acquiring information that is free of advertising or marketing “spin.”

Therefore, presenting information in a manner that appeals to such cautious and thoughtful consumers gives marketers an invaluable edge. Create with the intent to inform, become an expert in the field in which you do business, and present information of value in an informed and authoritative manner, and you’ll attract that audience.

In the technology space, computer networking giant Cisco produces Unleashing IT magazine in collaboration with Intel, and consistently delivers content that appeals to executives both inside and outside of the traditional information technology community by presenting timely, technology-related information on topics such as cloud architectures; the presence, value and possible threat of Big Data; and forecasting data center traffic growth; and advice on practical applications of technology to reduce cost and decrease the complexity of conducting business. To appeal to a wide spectrum of business leaders, the content is broad, yet still deep enough to demonstrate the expertise necessary for Cisco to be considered an authority—or at least to be taken seriously.

Another example of an effective content marketing approach is Patagonia Inc. Since 1990, Patagonia has published Field Reports, a series of environmental and wilderness exploration essays intended to inspire the outdoor audience, offering the personal views of athletes, travelers and adventurers who accomplish extraordinary things—with or without the use of Patagonia’s products—setting a powerful example for consumers and, all the while, captivating interest, and driving demand and future sales.

Both of these examples rely on the understanding and appreciation of the interests and motivations of the companies’ audiences. The secret behind content marketing’s success is to shift the conversation toward your customers’ interests. Talk to them about what they want to hear, and remind them that you might offer something that could be of use.

 

Author Bio:

Keith Flint
Keith Flint is the strategy director of Sudden Impact Marketing, a Columbus, Ohio-based B-to-B marketing firm. E-mail him at keith@simarketing.net
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