Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant).
Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, and that there has to be a better way.
Enter content marketing.
But what exactly is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
And they do. Content marketing is being used by some of the greatest marketing organizations in the world, including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and John Deere. It’s also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe. Why? Because it works.
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day. Good content marketing makes a person stop…read… think… behave… differently.
Thought leaders and marketing experts from around the world, including the likes of Seth Godin and hundreds of the leading thinkers in marketing have concluded that content marketing isn’t just the future, it’s the present
These sidewalk murals lasted four weeks before we cleaned them away leaving the sidewalk in front of the stores in better condition than when we came. We used an age old form of street art known as reverse graffiti to literally clean these “works of art” out of the dirt using only water, templates and a power-washer – no ink, no paper or vinyl, no ink and generating very little waste.
This campaign also contributed an amount towards GreenAdsBlue that has provided clean drinking water for 10 people for 15 years. The amount of PR alone made this campaign worth much more than they paid for it but the best thing was that sales of KEEN footwear at both locations increased proving that advertising can be done in an environmentally friendly way, can give back and can be profitable.
Soft sell worked in this case as did the story behind the campaign. In this case, the medium was a big part of the message.
In the end we collected all of the footage and photos we had taken with our phones, our digital cameras and one GoPro and put together a video that KEEN uses internally to show just how we did it.
This is only one way that advertising can be used in a more positive light. It not only drew a lot of attention and helped generate sales but it gave back to the local community (cleaner side walks) and it provided clean drinking water for 10 people for 15 years. A great example of a brand that is practicing the very things they believe so deeply in.
By Mike Hower
Senior leadership is the most critical driver of sustainability within a business and nearly half of businesses (44 percent) believe engagement with business leaders will be the most important factor in successfully implementing a sustainability strategy over the next three years, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Sustainability Insights: Learning from Business Leaders, commissioned by Coca-Cola Enterprises, is based on a survey of more than 300 European business executives; it explores how businesses’ sustainability strategies have performed in recent years and identifies the key drivers for future success.
The study found that, at the Board level, 28 percent have periodic meetings addressing sustainability, but only 18 percent of companies have directors who assess the success of sustainability initiatives.
The research identifies the need to build a stronger business case to convince the wider European business community of the value of putting sustainability at the heart of its operations. While 52 percent of companies have been able to maintain their sustainability agenda despite the economic downturn, almost half (44 percent) of respondents report that the biggest barrier to implementing a sustainability strategy is perceived high costs, coupled with a lack of belief in rates of return.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, companies have largely stayed with their sustainability goals,” said Brian Gardner, senior editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “What we are seeing now is a real shift to mainstream sustainability-related initiatives in Europe. Companies are learning how to better integrate this into their businesses profitably. There is still a lot of room to improve but this is a profoundly positive change.”
For those companies that recognize the value of sustainability, the benefits they cite include differentiation from competitors (32 percent) and enhanced stakeholder engagement (29 percent), while only one in five cite boosted profits as a key benefit of their sustainability endeavors.
Leading companies are increasingly turning to collaboration to maximize resources and intelligence, the report says. Nearly a third of businesses now work with competitors to seek out ideas for sustainability innovation, and a similar number (27 percent) work with NGOs and civil society. Over the next three years, businesses say that partnerships will be important contributors to driving sustainability success.
Sally Uren, chief executive at Forum for the Future, is quoted in the report as saying she sees this as a significant shift, taking companies from “tactical responses to a set of environmental and social issues” to “responding in a strategic fashion to big macro trends in order to secure the path to long-term value creation.”
More than a quarter of companies believe technological innovation will also drive the success of their sustainability strategy in the next three years. Additionally, 61 percent say that technological developments contribute to sustainability-related innovations, and 41 percent say they’ve successfully harnessed technology to improve their environmental impact.
“Business leaders need to embrace disruptive new approaches to sustainability — both within our own organizations and through our value chains,” said John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer at Coca-Cola Enterprises. “We need to advocate for this among the broader European business community to create breakthroughs in sustainable business.”
A recent survey of 1,000 CEOs found that less than a third (32 percent) of CEOs believe the global economy is on track to meet the demands of a growing population, while two-thirds (67 percent) report that the private sector is not making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges. Still only 38 percent say they currently are able to quantify the business value of sustainability.
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