Product marketing in a way can be very simplistic; it's like you showcase your shiny new object and if the audience likes it, they'll buy it. This traditional sales pitch approach can be incredibly short-term with a negligible impact in terms of the client connection. What if there was more to captivate the potential customer and at the same time building customer relationships, rather than just dangling the features and specifications in front of them? What if there was a narrative to portray the when, how, and why of the products on display so that it can reach the effective targeted audience? This is where content marketing comes into the picture. Successful campaigns align content to its product marketing.
But what is this "Content Marketing"?
Forbes defines content marketing as "a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Away from the traditional sales pitch, content marketing is a sales enablement tool that helps you to build context around the product. Content marketing enables you to build context around the product. Effective content marketing allows the product to be presented as more than just a sales pitch, it involves the problem that the target audience faces, the effective solution provided, and most importantly the brand behind it all. So, ideally, B2B marketers should have a content marketing strategy that is much more than a product launch, a brand awareness activity that explains the product in a true manner.
According to a recent survey, 63% of the buyer personas depict that people would think more positively about a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting, or relevant, in short quality content that serves the new as well as the existing customer.
Here are some methods of content marketing that can give you an idea of what it's all about:
- In-depth blog post
- Product tutorials
- Personalized email campaigns
- Social media competitions
- Targeted ads
Content builds relationships, relationships build trust. Trust drives revenue.
Through its strategic global sponsoring and partnering with adventure and sport-related avenues, Redbull has strongly cemented its persona, famously using the tagline "it gives you wings" conveying a message that it's more than just an energy drink. It's the fuel that will keep your body and mind going. This is a great example of how constant and creatively aligned valuable content can allow a product marketing strategy to thrive.
When done right, digital content ideas allow customers to do the marketing for us.
Take, for example, GoPro: the leader in action and lifestyle cameras. The modern world now is moving more towards visual content and Cisco is even reporting predictions which indicate that 84% of internet traffic by 2020 will be through video. Go-Pro has leveraged this information to center their product around quality visual content and products. Their strategy had an extremely successful and compounding effect where the consumers themselves were creating written content for them using their products. People were buying the GoPro's and posting their adventure vlogs which attracted even more people to buy their cameras. This ripple effect was possible as they fused their content and product marketing strategies.
Harnessing the Power of Social Media
Even though it sounds like a massive cliché and it probably is, but with the modern digital scenario there isn't a better way for a product marketer to put their product information out there than social media. Not only can they educate the audience about the product features but also answer their questions to construct an interested and engaged client base, unlike traditional marketing techniques.
Content creation can serve and provide necessary hand-holding to guide the customer to purchase. While you can take care of the product marketing side, encouraging an ideal customer to post reviews, suggest improvements, and engage with other users through mediums like Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform can provide an ecosystem that influences prospects to purchase your products. Invest in great content now to see compounded results in the future.
Appeal to the Correct Market Niche
Knowing your audience is half the battle won by your product marketing team. Building accurate buyer personas will lead a long way to reach your potential buyers. When content that is reflective of the product is marketed to the right audience, the situation becomes less about convincing and more about addressing concerns of the consumers. Using these types of content marketing efforts gives the results that you won't expect. Trying to maximize clicks and views, through interactive content, might gain short term traction but will not result in any monetary benefits as there will be a failure to create a significant impact.
Research Keyword Trends and Phrases
It is essential for a content marketer to keep search visibility in mind when putting content out there in the wilderness of the World Wide Web and hoping to execute a successful content marketing campaign. Effective research on the keywords associated with your product is essential as they will work as lighthouses for potential clients to find you online, especially the ones in your marketing funnel, and in some cases, the potential clients in your sales funnel too. Apart from features and specifications, the keyword approach should also include words relating to the problem that occurs and the solution which the product provides. A trending hashtag or viral post can send your online visibility sky-rocketing as well as aggressively push your lead generation effort. There are various keyword planning tools out there to help you find the right set of keywords, Google's Keyword Planner and Moz's keyword explorer are great options to get you started.
Influencers - though this profession is known as the new trend in digital marketing, it's really not! Advertisers have used celebrities for promoting their products for decades. When planned correctly, brands can leverage their reach, salesmanship, and most importantly, their credibility to put the product message forward. In 2019, 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be effective. As a result, influencer marketing budgets are set to double in 2020. Nord VPN was one of the many companies that were affiliated with YouTube giants like PewDiePie and Linus Tech Tips and used their massive popularity on the platform to get their services out there to the masses, making them into one of the top players in the growing VPN market.
One for the Future
Allison Wert, content marketing manager for Frontline Education predicts "I think a growing number of businesses will stop thinking about content marketing as a separate discipline and instead realize that all good marketing involves content marketing."
To gain a competitive edge, marketing strategies can only get more and more personalized with the advancement of AI technology, voice search as well as an SEO tool. Having a strong digital presence will be even more crucial to sustain a profitable business. Immersive storytelling and personal experiences will surely draw customers not only to the product but to the brand as well.
Traditional door-to-door marketing has already been replaced by device-to-device marketing. As attention spans lower and people are flooded with information there will be an increasing need to stand-out and be memorable. To remain relevant in the market, audience engagement will be crucial even more so in 2020 and further beyond. Product marketing strategies will have to infuse itself with reliable and contextual content around its products as companies try to expand their reach even further.
Maybe stories are just data with a soul.
Dr. Brené Brown