In the last few years, content marketing is one of the buzz keywords everyone keeps talking about. You can easily find it recommended as a part of effective marketing strategy for almost all types of businesses. But here comes the real question: is content marketing really effective?
For decision makers who are accustomed to a more traditional marketing process, especially B2B where it heavily involves the direct selling process, it might be hard to pin down the importance of content marketing and how it could contribute to a company’s growth. Some might not even understand what content marketing truly is. Companies are already occupied by day-to-day business operations, and now do they also have to become a content producer as well?
First, let’s take a look at the definition of content marketing. In brief, it is a marketing strategy that utilises contents to market a product or service to the target segments. The process consists of content development, production, as well as distribution. The formats of the contents are usually blog and social media posts, newsletter, promotional video, and many others, including your website content itself. In this strategy, contents are a means to an end, where the ultimate goal is a growing revenue. However, it is crucial to note that everyone involved should understand that this would be achieved with a certain journey on the customer’s side. This actually not only applies to content marketing, but other marketing strategies as well.
If we revisit the customer journey model, there are several stages that a potential customer usually gets through before they finally decide to make a purchase. The journey might be slightly varied for different businesses, but in essence, they are consistent. It starts when someone has a need or an issue to be fixed and they begin looking for the right solution for themselves. We usually call this awareness stage, which is followed by the consideration stage. In these two stages, contents usually play a quite significant role to influence the target customer’s decision making process. Here is a simple hypothetical situation where content marketing plays its part.
One day, a person tries to search for the best delivery service on search engines and lands on your website. They browse through it carefully and try to find why your delivery service is suitable for them. You have provided a clear explanation of how your service works both in video and written formats, and they find that very useful to add to their consideration. There probably are other factors that could influence their final decision such as pricing and delivery time, but you have won their attention through the right contents.
There is also another case where content marketing plays its part in a much longer timeline, where an audience of your blog initially has no intention to use your service. However, one day they need that kind of service and since they previously have been following your contents, they immediately remember your brand as an option.
The two cases mentioned above are examples of how content marketing could be an effective tool to market your business. So, to answer the initial question of this article: content marketing could be effective. However, it would not work if you don’t define your content strategy in the right way, and instead, would only add more workload. To ensure the effectiveness, businesses should pay an equal attention both to the strategy as well as the execution.