By Susan Amey, Chief Marketing Strategist, ROAR Marketing Concepts, LLC
If you read the marketing blogs and business press you may be relieved — or alarmed, depending on your aptitudes — to hear how focused many of us are on content marketing as the prescription for great marketing.
Certainly it’s been successful for a lot of companies, done well and in the right situations. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute reported 76% of B2C companies use it. But only 30% are confident it’s effective, down from 38% in the prior year.
Like every approach that’s been hailed as The Answer to marketing (remember when email was a new marketing channel?), its effectiveness declines as more companies use it, and eventually business leaders will start to recognize that to break out of the clutter they need something daring and unique.
The beauty and richness of marketing is that there are so many different instruments to play, in harmony or solo, short or long term, to accomplish the results you want. That variety isn’t about keeping marketers entertained; it’s critical for keeping audiences interested and engaged.
A marketer who prescribes content marketing without assessing the business is like visiting a doctor who prescribes a treatment before you tell her what hurts.
Like all worthwhile endeavors, great marketing takes an investment of quality time, thought, and experience. Professional marketers are, first, exceptional business people. They assess the market, the company, the opportunities, the products and the competition. They get to know the customers, potential customers, and former customers and what they need, want and care about. They evaluate what customers already know and believe about your product or service. Then they devise marketing strategies: creative approaches crafted to achieve the business’ objectives.
To produce great marketing is first to understand the business at a deep level, then to meld the art and science of marketing into a balanced, cohesive whole that achieves the best results in the shortest reasonable time. It is to create a symphony, not just an impressive solo.
What does this mean for you? If you’re a marketer, don’t let yourself get carried away by the crowd that suggests you’re doing too much navel-gazing if you don’t jump right into a content marketing solution for every situation. Know your business, your customers, and your market, and craft strategies accordingly.
If you’re the CEO, don’t pigeon-hole your business by dictating the strategies marketing should use. Make your marketing leader your partner in assessing the opportunities and creating the best approaches. If your business is too small to afford the strategic leadership you need, a marketing consultant with the right experience can work with your team, helping bring focus and planning to the business that your team can own and implement.
Thoughtful, strategic marketing is worth the investment.