Marketing is no longer purely transactional. Historically, the major measure to assess whether a company’s marketing was effective, or not, was Return On Investment (ROI). A company would undertake, for example, a direct mail campaign and the metrics they would look at were the number of responses and deals done.
Today, the most precious resource that a business needs to be successful is ‘customer attention’. In a Web enabled world customers are empowered with a plethora of information and choices when they are looking to buy. Consequently, the traditional approach to marketing, that is; ‘shouting’ at customers, is being screened out and ignored by customers. It is now less effective than it has ever been.
In order to earn people’s attention, a business has to provide a person with ‘value’. In so doing, they will engage that prospect and have their attention. It is this ‘engagement’ that is what really matters today in marketing. It is the companies with your attention that ‘win’. Sure, every business wants a ‘Return On Investment’. However, in today’s marketing, this comes from concentrating on ‘engaging’ with the audience which is relevant for your offering. I call this ‘Return On Engagement’ and find it a better metric in a web enabled world.
One of the key ways of providing ‘value’ for customers and prospects, is by creating content that they will find useful, interesting or fun. In an ideal world, it will also be content they will want to share with others.
Creating ‘sticky content’, that is, content that draws people in and that they share with others, is not easy. However, one technique for doing this is what Dan Zarella calls ‘combined relevance’. The idea is that by merging two interests together, the content becomes a lot more relevant and interesting for the target audience.
So, for example, let’s say I am an IT company and a key customer base for me is Accountants. One of the most popular TV shows right now is The X Factor. By definition, some Accountants must be watching The X Factor.
So, what if I combined those two ideas and created an article, or, better still, a video called, ‘The X Factor For Accountants’. The video may be a parody of the programme and how Accountants can get the ‘X Factor’ by using IT executed in the right way. This would resonate with all those Accountants who watch the X Factor (and probably some who do not). Similarly, anyone who knew an Accountant who watched the X Factor would probably send the content to them.
Using social media, and your own customer relationship management programme, it is possible to obtain a really good understanding of what interests your prospects and customers alike. So, whether it is horse riding for lawyers, recipes for working mums or the biggest Star Wars fan in the recruitment industry, combining ideas can really help you create some very special content.
Combining your prospects and customers interests with what you do, allows you to piggy back off seemingly unrelated topics and make your content interesting. In so doing, it is more likely to resonate and be something that people will share.