Content Marketing in the Age of the Customer

consumerMany marketers approach the digital economy as the same market in a digital form, but Shar VanBoskirk argues that it is a new beast: a new economy that enables us to do new things and requires a new marketing approach.

This was one of the first insights I gathered from Clickz’s recent webinar, “Understanding Customer Intent to Develop Great Content.” VanBoskirk, the VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, presented the findings of a recent survey of marketers and considered the new economy and the new needs of content marketers.

Much of her presentation focused on the Intention Economy, where customer relationships are now the key element to a competitive edge. In the digital economy, customers are engaging with brands in a cyclical fashion—discovering, researching, exploring, discovering additional items, purchasing— rather than in the linear fashion marketers have long observed.

Context becomes vital: learning about a customer’s state of mind, needs and previous interactions with your brand allows you to design content that interacts, engages and recognizes the importance of that customer.

One of the more telling statistics came from Forrester’s Technographics Survey, where a large number of consumers were asked “to what extent do you trust each of the following types of advertisements/promotional materials?” Recommendations from friends and family, the kind of word-of-mouth promotion that a successful content marketing campaign aims to create, topped the list. Next came professionally written online reviews, consumer-written online reviews and shortly thereafter, information on a website—essentially, good, authentic content.

How well did consumers trust an old-fashioned banner ad or content-minimal text message? They both came in last, a sign that old methods and demographic sweeping, impersonal blips of data are not the way to gain a consumer’s trust.

VanBoskirk concluded with excellent recommendations to improve your content strategy:

  1. Look for data beyond keywords: Now that Google uses encrypted search, it’s important to use additional tools for web analytics, content and paid search management, social media measurement or agencies such as EnVeritas Group to glean additional customer data and inform your content
  2. Develop a strong, internal analytics system so that your content has purpose and direction
  3. Create content focused on the intent of customers, rather than a demographic in general

Learn more about writing good, strong content.

Harvin BedenbaughContent Writer

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