4 Reasons Content Marketing Is Here to Stay

Content marketing.  It’s all the hotness these days.  If you attend a marketing conference or read the journals, you can’t avoid it.  Incredibly, content marketing has even displaced social media as the new battleground between traditional PR and advertising agencies. It’s that hot.

So. Is this just the latest marketing fad? Or is content marketing here to stay?

We believe content marketing is destined to become an ever-larger slice of every marketing department’s budget for a long time to come.  Here’s why:

1. The Google.

life before google_content_marketing Thanks to our funny friends over at Shoeboxblog.com

Modern advertising is still rooted in an age where there existed a huge disparity of information between buyers and sellers.  Back in the day, a buyer’s main source of information about any given company, product, or service was usually the seller themselves.  Other sources were hard to come by.  Some objective product reviews existed for mass manufactured goods like cars, but for more niche products there really wasn’t much beyond trade journals whose journalist integrity was often in doubt due to their cozy relationship to advertisers.

The primary way to get objective information about professional services or smaller-volume products/services was by trying it or being lucky enough to know someone who had.  Even polling your friends and colleagues was infinitely more difficult without the aid of mass emails or social media.

Today, technology has completely revolutionized this knowledge disparity. Want to know anything about anyone?  Just bang it into a search engine, or instantly ask all your friends on Facebook, all your colleagues on LinkedIn, or the entire world on Twitter.  Boom.

The profound consequences of this shift in informational availability are still accelerating and will be felt for many years to come.

2. People don’t like advertising.

And more and more, they can escape or ignore it. So they do.  That’s why the fastest way to instant riches is to invent a new way for buyers to bypass advertising messages… or conversely to innovate a new place or method in which you can cram unwanted advertising down buyer’s throats.  New advertising real estate always sells for a premium price because….

3. The human mind.

A human brain is an incredible pattern-recognition machine.  It can tune out virtually anything.  Just ask anyone who has ever lived next to an airport.  Or surfed a web site with lots of banner ads.  The first banner ads had click-through rates approaching 40%.  Now, click-throughs are measured by hundredths of a percent.  Most of them probably accidents.

The cerebral cortex is also a highly evolved bullshit detector.  It’s been in an arms-race with advertising for over a century and it’s eventually going to start pulling ahead.  Just take a look at ads from twenty years ago.  They might make you feel nostalgic, but they wouldn’t convince you to make a major purchase decision without consulting five blogs and six online reviews first.

Pounding your chest and announcing that you are “the best” widget with a giant advertising budget can still move the needle.  But at ever-decreasing returns.   And only if it’s at least partly true.

4. We’ve reached Peak Advertising.

Unless you’re prepared to go to the length of this very funny video and kidnap your potential prospects to sear your brand into their brains, it’s quite likely that we’ve already reached Peak Advertising.

 

As someone who works in a field that is loosely grouped into “Advertising” I’m incredibly OK with that.

What’s next?

If we accept that the days of brute force advertising are winding down, then it is natural that marketers will turn to more sophisticated methods of persuasion.  In my mind, there is no more sophisticated approach to persuasion than finding potential customers who are actually a great match for your product, gaining their trust, and educating them on why it is in their genuine best interest to have a relationship with your brand.   We do it all the time in the startup world and I think we’ll find this process spreading everywhere.  In this universe, content marketing is the natural method of choice.

Good Prospecting. Trust. Education.

In my next article, I’ll explore the consequences of this idea further and take on a entire genre of Hollywood films in “There is no BEST.”

Rich Quarles

Rich Quarles

Rich is a marketing strategist focused primarily on startups, technology, and financial services. He has advised startups that have collectively returned almost $2 billion to founders and investors. Rich founded glassCanopy in 2001.
Rich Quarles

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