While strolling at the mall with my family one day, a good-looking young guy approached me and started a sales pitch about some pricey soap that according to him was made from the salts of the Dead Sea. It was one of those moments I wished I had a fairy godmother so I could disappear on the spot.
First, I didn’t want to turn him down and stare at the disappointment on his face. After all, the guy was just doing his job. (He was too good-looking to disappoint, really. Now that I think about it, that was another marketing ploy – employ good-looking sales clerks so it’d be hard to turn them down.)
Second, even if I had the money, I wasn’t the type who, no matter how convincing, would fall flat for a sales pitch if the product being glorified is not something I foresee the need for.
The problem with that pitch – my frame of mind
If the soap delivers what it promises to deliver, I probably wouldn’t think twice about shelling out Php3,000 (approximately $75) for a single bar. Who wouldn’t want soft, supple and blemish-free skin, right?
But being a frugal consumer, despite recognizing the fact that the skin I’m in is far from soft, supple and blemish-free, I’d rather pound the pavement for a less pricey alternative before parting with my Php3,000.
If I look hard enough, I’m confident there’s something just as promising as the young man’s soap, sans the hefty price tag.
After all, Php3,000 for one bar, even if it’s made from some exotic ingredient harvested from a far-flung locale, like the depths of the Dead Sea in this case, is still too much for the average consumer, let alone the consumer who’s having trouble making ends meet.
Problem #1: From the corner I was backed into, there was no way for me to verify (from peers or online review boards) whether or not the soap indeed worked.
Problem #2: The sales agent failed to establish a need so intense and a differentiation point so crystal clear that I’d be willing to throw caution to the wind and hand him my Php3,000 without batting an eyelash.
Recommended reading: What Exactly Is Content Marketing?
Problem #3: I wasn’t his target consumer, not at that moment in time at least. While he was animatedly delivering his spiel, my mentality was that of a stingy little twit who’d rather splurge on an Android tablet worth Php10,000 ($250) than a wonder soap from a Biblically-referenced sea.
The problem with that pitch – trust factor
If my attitude towards that sales pitch is to be used as benchmark, it is, in my opinion, safe to assume that consumers, no matter what generation they’re from, don’t want to be pushed to make decisions, especially on the spot.
People don’t want to be perceived as moving and breathing sales targets, but entities a brand or product truly cares about.
They’d rather be fed with tons of helpful information and do the decision-making based on that information, which simply reinforces the fact that closing a sale is not a here-and-now occurrence, but a long-term process, long term in the sense that trust has to be established first.
Yes, there’s your operative word.
The Internet and content marketing
Online content marketing has been abuzz for years, ever since it’s been established that for a brand to be out there, traditional marketing (i.e., TV, radio and newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, et cetera) is no longer enough.
Considering that Internet usage has rapidly risen since the inception of the World Wide Web, that doesn’t come as a surprise.
And with the rapid-fire way content is spread among consumers nowadays, thanks to the Internet and social media, content marketing has never before been crucial for brand advertising.
To be recognized and embraced by the crowd, you have to be where the crowd is, providing solutions to their most pressing concerns through the content you provide.
This way, you establish yourself as an authority in your target consumers’ sphere of awareness, not as an advertiser hoping for a share of their wallet. Consumers trust authority for the sole reason they don’t want to be wrong.
Branding, in a nutshell
Branding is all about stories, and stories are fueled by content. Content that’s valuable and freely shared via social media, in turn, generates potent word-of-mouth exposure for content marketing proponents.
Google, as well, puts more weight towards valuable content, making your brand more visible in the search engines as a result.
Your content marketing partner
When embarking on a content marketing campaign, it is important to on-board people who share your goals, both short term and long term. Employ people who understand what content marketing is about and how it helps to build your brand, solidify your online presence and strengthen your authority in the eyes of the consumers your brand was built for.
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