by Ryan Laffler
Content Marketing, both online and offline, was rated by marketers in 2017 as the most important technique for driving incremental sales. In fact, it was rated above big data, marketing automation, mobile marketing, and social media marketing – all techniques that have at-one-time-or-another been painted as “the future of marketing”.
Well… what is content marketing, then?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” It is a broad definition that likely applies to many of your current marketing tactics. Online, this can consist of blogs, newsletters, infographics, whitepapers, etc. Offline, this can take the form of mail-order catalogs, publishing an article in a newspaper or a magazine, etc. Since content marketing takes so many forms, it is very likely that you already have it in your list of current marketing tactics. And with the average of 10,000 promotional messages your prospects are hit with daily, it is as important as ever that your content marketing emotionally connects with your prospect in a relevant, impactful way.
Breaking Through the “Content Shock”
Mark Schaefer, the director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, theorized that, while content production will increase exponentially as more and more brands create and push it out, the rate of increase in content consumption will only increase slightly and then inevitably plateau. People only have so much time in their day to consume information, and that is forcing brands to come up with new and inventive ways to place their content in front of valuable eyes. The visual below illustrates just how inundated the internet is with content every 60 seconds.
This struggle is especially evident in B2B marketing as seen in a 2016 study by Forrester which revealed that 87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to develop compelling content. This is not that surprising. Many B2B marketers tend to appeal to a buyer’s left brain by using data and statistics to sell a product or service. Such an approach can be effective, but it is the kind of content marketing that gets easily lost in the mire of left-brain content that many other B2B marketers create. Advertising that connects with someone emotionally doesn’t just stand out.
Content that Connects with Your Audiences’ Emotions
The UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, or IPA, has a database of 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns that were submitted for the IPA Effectiveness Award competition over the past three decades. An analysis of the data compared the profitability boost of campaigns that used emotional appeal versus those that used rational persuasion and information. Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) than campaigns with only rational content.
This study isn’t just a one-off either. It is widely documented that audiences who positively connect with your brand on an emotional level are more valuable than those who do not. Harvard Business Review, conducted a study in which they applied big data analytics to detailed customer-data sets. They used statistical modeling to look at a large number of customers and brands, comparing emotional motivators with purchase behavior and identifying spikes in the data that are associated with specific motivators. This showed which motivators generate the most-profitable customer behavior in the category.
The study revealed that customers become more valuable at each step of a predictable “emotional connection pathway” as they move from 1) feeling unconnected to 2) being highly satisfied to 3) perceiving brand differentiation to 4) feeling fully connected. Along the pathway, customers feel more and more connected to a brand. Fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied. This value applies to metrics all across the board, from purchases to frequency of use.
Studies such as this one and the one completed by IPA show how important it is for B2B marketers to create emotionally-compelling content – something The Goss Agency has excelled at for 30+ years. We specialize in identifying brands’ most compelling distinction and communicating it in an emotionally-compelling way.
Break through the clutter. Give us a call at (828)259-9910 or email Ryan at Ryan@TheGossAgency.com to learn how The Goss Agency can help your brand connect with your target audience today.