There is a host of content marketing articles on the web, from content creation and optimisation to more strategic pieces around the finer points of the craft. The more and more of these I come across the more I keep coming to the same conclusion.
Why is no-one talking about the customer?
The customer (or consumer, user or whatever other pseudonym you wish to apply to them) has never lived in a more connected society than they do today. Face to face conversation, landline phone calls and postal mail have been joined, and to a degree replaced, by Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and the seemingly ubiquitous Facebook. Add to that the ability to search almost the entire corpus of human knowledge through search engines like Google and Bing, and you begin to see the communicational prowess of the modern consumer. This evolution in communication has meant that content, and the way we use it to communicate to customers, needs to evolve too.
Just look at the prevalence of mobile devices, one of the most increasingly popular trends for modern consumers. With advances in technology being made, there are so many smartphones, tablets, and handheld devices that connect consumers with the Internet. The key is to recognise that mobile devices are not just phones anymore. For example within retail, smartphones play a central role at the point of sale as shopping assistants, with some consumers already using their mobile phone to make better purchase decisions or buy cheaper elsewhere.
Buyers tend to combine three sources of information to make good decisions in such a short time: media, social contacts and sales staff. According to a study by the Retail Revolution, the most commonly used sources for independently gathering information are newspapers, television and the Internet (48-90%). 43-68% use recommendations from friends and acquaintances as an orientation. 24-80% seek help from sales staff. Significant differences exist from sector to sector. As a rule, the more media-savvy consumers are, the more likely they are to obtain their own information. The less experience consumers have in a particular shopping sector, the more likely they are to also ask friends, acquaintances, or sales staff. For content marketer, it will become increasingly important not only to provide content to help convert, but to offer customers with the right information in the right place, often tailored to the context of the user and their device.
I guess the point of this article is to highlight the simple thought that while (some) core marketing principles still apply, your content marketing strategy must reach an increasingly fragmented and attention-deficient consumer…and don’t you forget it.