Marketing gets a bad rap for persuading people to buy products they don’t need. But marketing makes lives easier across the globe by raising awareness of the perfect solution. Just because a product isn’t necessarily relevant to one person doesn’t mean that it didn’t alleviate a pain point for someone else across the world.
Content marketing, which covers a broad variety of topics and tactics, is the most recent way that companies can show they are responsible members of the business community. Content revolves around one idea — efficiency. This includes an efficient use of company resources, an efficient use of customers’ time, and an efficient use of money when a product is finally purchased.
Blogs allow companies to further explain their products, their brands, and their long-term missions. This content gives consumers the information they need to make purchase decisions. Moreover, it gives consumers confidence that they’ve chosen the right brands to fit their needs, lifestyles, and personal values.
Graphics and videos operate in much the same way as blogs, distributing information concisely and in an easily digestible format. Often it takes far less time to watch a video than read a blog or newsletter. Images and video also allow for a story to be told, which younger generations prefer over straight sales pitches. The old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” still rings true today, and brands finally have the resources to invest in it.
And finally, businesses benefit from the efficiency of content marketing. Fresh, popular content sends signals to search engines that improve a website’s rankings. The business benefits from being found easily and customers benefit from finding a product that fits their needs, thereby completing the circle. Whether it’s connecting people to something as large as a non-profit focused on environmental activism or as small as finding the best camping lantern within a certain price range, content marketing helps match people and businesses and fulfill needs.
For some businesses, it’s enough to know that they are helping their customers. For others (usually major global brands), they take content marketing a step further and use it as a platform to start the discussion about social issues they see worldwide.Guinness may be an unlikely example, but in 2015 they used a series of ads before the Rugby World Cup to highlight the stories of individuals. A longtime sponsor of the event, Guinness chose to create ads centered on escaping gang life and revealing sexual orientation. The ads spoke volumes, allowing consumers to see themselves in the stories, and also elevated the brand. The “Made of More” campaign spoke of the unifying factor of sports, even amongst individuals with vastly different backgrounds.
As more consumers realize the benefit of healthy eating, McDonald’s launched different campaigns to help educate patrons on their choices. The “Good to Know” campaign in the UK focused on the sources of McDonald’s most popular items: burgers, chicken nuggets, and fries. It dispelled rumors about the contents of their food while also addressing the concerns of today’s population. The “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign addressed similar concerns in the US. While this may not necessarily make their food any healthier, it does show they listen to the concerns of their patrons and make an effort to address them.Microsoft used a video campaign to show exactly how using the cloud can make organizations more efficient, saving time and money to continue changing the world. Through data and cloud-based documents, Special Olympics was able to save hundreds of hours of data recording while still keeping detailed notes on personal best records, individual athlete statistics, and other information. Microsoft knows that data changes the world, and their use of video helps them explain how.
Not everything has to be on a grand scale, but marketing is about completing the circle. A business promotes its product to meet the needs of its consumers. With the end goal of meeting needs, it’s no wonder that content marketing is one of the next steps in changing the world.