The biggest misconception around content marketing might be that it’s a recent innovation. The truth is, it’s far from it.
Way back in 1895, John Deere started delivering a monthly publication called “The Furrow” to farmers. The magazine not only told them great things about John Deere products, it also included tips on how to be a better farmer. In the grainy, black and white pages of “The Furrow”, content marketing was officially born.
It wasn’t long before other brands followed -- Jell-O soon started printing recipe books and Proctor & Gamble invented the soap opera to sell more soap. Today, there’s not a single B2B client I meet that doesn’t discuss thought leadership as a goal, or a B2C client that doesn’t want to differentiate through branded content.
But the world has changed since John Deere’s time. It has gotten harder to earn the trust of consumers because so many of them have been burned by marketers in the past. Marketers told them smoking was good for them. Marketers told them dried up shrimp were magical creatures called “sea monkeys” and that they could buy real X-Ray glasses for a dollar.
Consumers have been conditioned to think you’re always trying to sell to them. That they can’t take you at your word. Today, it’s not enough to come right out and tell people why you’re a great brand. Not the way John Deere was able to do it. Today, you have to do more.
To say Paid Media moves fast is an understatement. If you're not on top of the latest news and updates, you'll get lapped by the agencies who are. So here's what's been happening over the past several weeks, including the biggest changes from Google and Facebook among others. Stay tuned for monthly recaps so you're never in the dark about what's new in Digital Paid Media.
A year ago the marketing world was abuzz about “snackable” content. Everything was getting shorter. Blog posts were getting replaced by lists. Lists were getting replaced by infographics. Infographics by short videos. Videos by short blurbs. And on and on and on. Marketers were panicking over shortened attention spans and trying to optimize everything for tiny mobile screens.
But a pendulum can only glide so far in one direction before it starts to swing back the other way. So, despite the rise of snackability, long form content never actually bit the dust. And by now I think it’s proven that it never will.
Do you ever feel like you might die if you don’t check Facebook? You know there’s nothing on there you need to see, but for some reason you still feel like you need to check.
Well, you’re not crazy.
Research indicates that the need to connect socially with others is as basic as food, water and shelter. But despite knowing this, many marketers find themselves frustrated when trying to reach people on Facebook – the ultimate human connector online -- and I believe that’s due to one simple concept:
The only constant on Facebook is change.
I think we can all agree that buying a new car is one of the most painful experiences you’re likely to have.
But we like new cars. We love new things in general. Driving a new car is fun and exhilarating.
So then why is buying one so unpleasant?
It’s simple. The sales person is probably a commission-only employee and his compensation is based on the profit margin of the sale. Hence, he’s actually incented to sell you the car for the worst deal he can manage. As a result, there’s natural friction between the two of you.
It’s a shame. Automotive manufacturers spend a fortune on branding and marketing to have much of that goodwill and trust thrown away by an over eager sales rep just trying to make a living.
Simply put, the incentive structure is broken.