Is “Content Marketing” the New “Promised Land”?

Content, Content, Content… it’s the new buzz word in marketing circles these days. Since Social Media isn’t living up to its claims for many companies, they are looking for the new “silver bullet”… which now happens to be “Content Marketing or Content Management.” Is it the new found Promised Land for marketing?

I would encourage you to think a bit broader and deeper when it comes to a discussion about Content Marketing. We have to remind ourselves that “Content Marketing” is actually just a “TOOL” with a Bigger Purpose if used correctly. Like many of the other traditional, digital, and social media “tools” already being used, this one can fit into the same category… unless you THINK DIFFERENTLY.

Start with the concept that generally, “Marketing ruins everything.” OK, I know this will get some people’s feathers ruffled and for others of you, you will say Amen, it is completely accurate. The point I want to make is that when marketing gets a hold of “a new thing (tool)” they tend to do two things to it… over use it and use it incorrectly. Content Marketing probably won’t be any different so it will follow the same path at some point in the future… unless you treat it differently.

If you think of Content Marketing as a “tool” you are missing the point and its value.

There are two concepts in marketing… “PUSH” and “PULL” marketing. All traditional marketing was designed as “Push”… shoving out lots of ads and other information to the audience. This worked amazingly well in the Industrial Revolution when there weren’t any other options for the consumer to hear about products and services. Ad agencies were born and raked in millions of dollars on the backs of this approach. It has essentially died when we left the Industrial Revolution behind and entered into the Internet/Digital Revolution.

Unfortunately, many people in marketing didn’t get this was happening right under their nose. Instead, they saw a whole bunch of new “tools” called Social Media show up that they thought were simply a new and improved way to “push” their information to the customer. They were wrong. The customer initially thought this was pretty cool and welcomed the new way of getting information… then marketing ruined it. They started shoving everything they could… faster and in more volume… than they ever had before. They thought this would work… it didn’t. It was still “push marketing” only using a different tool called Social Media instead of direct mail, TV, radio, magazines, billboards, and a host of other traditional media tools.

The audience grew up and learned how they wanted to receive information and it wasn’t by having billions of pieces thrown at them through every channel they were on… they learned where the “off switch” was and turned off this barrage of messaging. The numbers have been declining steadily and marketing is wondering why their audience doesn’t want to see their valuable ads and self-promotional information. They really never did…

Enter Content Marketing as a new way to “push” more information to the customer. It is new because it actually involves content… something of substance (written, video, podcast, etc.). The consumer is asking for this… they want to learn more but invest less time in consuming the information. Once again we are seeing most marketing groups seeing the next “Promised Land” and as such are shoving more and more “content” to their audience. The right concept… wrong execution.

The content isn’t RELEVANT, HELPFUL, or TIMELY for their audience… it is just once again voluminous amounts of information… much of what we can already get by doing a search. This is where marketing stands to “ruin content marketing” as they have done for so many other forms of media.

But there is a solution… “PULL MARKETING.”

Pull Marketing is all about the “customer WANTING the information you have because it is relevant, helpful, and timely and so they PULL it to them… when they want and how they want.” This is an entirely different way to think about marketing. It is marketing the customer actually wants in their life because it is VALUABLE to them.

CONTENT MARKETING is an absolutely amazing way to create an effective PULL MARKETING strategy and execute it in a way the customer will love. Now companies have the opportunity to truly understand their customers wants and needs and anticipate what will be helpful and relevant in their lives and then give this to them in a timely manner. When marketing adopts this mindset, they have crossed over from the old traditional “push” process and adopted a completely different strategy of “pull” into their strategy.

THIS WORKS… AND THE CUSTOMER IS BEGGING YOU FOR IT.

Content Marketing can be the next PROMISED LAND for your marketing and company efforts… if you adopt a “PULL MARKETING” strategy and erase the “PUSH” strategy from your brain. Content marketing is absolutely something that your audience will love and reward you for when developed with a PULL MARKETING STRATEGY. It is what they want… marketing just has to understand this and not screw it up again.

What will you do as the leader of your company… the business owner and CEO? Will you allow your marketing to be done the old traditional way and lose the immense value in front of you that you could benefit from by using a “PULL CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?” I believe the leadership team needs to direct the marketing function to be more OBSESSED with their CUSTOMERS and give them the ability to create a powerful PULL MARKETING strategy… using CONTENT as the core. Today leadership teams need to be more involved in marketing than ever before.

Today it can help to significantly solidify your brand, create true differentiation, and endear your customers to you in ways your competition can’t… this is where marketing and customer obsession can become your true competitive advantage. When this happens, Content Marketing can become the new PROMISED LAND for your company… and your customers will reward you both with business and much more WORD-OF-MOUTH… and we all know this is the ultimate success for marketing and the organization overall.

Will you adopt and drive a PUSH or PULL strategy as a leader of your company? This is an excellent time and opportunity to put your company in front of the pack of competitors.

Friendly Advice on How to Start a Farmers Market

If you would of told me that I would be managing a farmers market a year ago I would of thought you were crazy. The opportunity arose quite suddenly to be the manager of our local farmers market. I am no expert on how to run a farmers market, but the following are important concepts to consider when you are thinking of starting a farmers market for your community or taking over one as a manager.

Before you even begin to formulate your location, vendors, layout, marketing strategies you need to have a board of directors. This board will be the governing entity of your market. You will need people who are experienced in urban planning, business, the agricultural scene, and active with your community. It is also a good idea to talk to other farmers markets; how did they start their market? What advice do they have? Would they be willing to help you? Once you have your board members selected, you need to come up with a mission for your market. What do you stand for? What do you want your community to gain by your presence?

You can’t have a farmers market without vendors. The type of vendor for your market really depends on your location. Here in Asheville, artisan vendors don’t do great. Produce vendors those are the vendors you want. You need to make sure that they are not all selling the same crops. Variety is key. At our market we have five produce vendors. They all have different items for sale. With the new craze of food trucks, it would be a great idea to recruit one or many for your market. My market is a smaller farmers market and I found that it’s best to try to reach out to food trucks that are just starting out. The ones that have been around for a longer period of time may consider your market – if it’s on the small scale or just starting up – a waste of their time because they may not make what they would consider to be a good profit for their time.

Marketing is a deal. Based off data the best way to market is using social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,etc. These are valuable assets to any business. You can also use Google Business to let people know about your market. Social media posts are free, which is great when you are just starting out. Once you get your market sustainable cash flow, you can look into boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter offer you to set your advertising budget which allows for less stress; once your budget has been spent the advertising stops until you reset it. Another great idea is to partner up with local businesses that are willing to promote your market using their social media. From my experience going and talking to local restaurants, breweries, kitchen supply stores that do food demos are all great prospects.

Location! Location! Location! This is very important to farmers markets. Last year my market was behind a church in their parking lot. There was no road visibility. We lacked new customers due to no visibility. During the off season we worked diligently to find a new location that was more visible, had walk ability, as well as good parking. We are now partnering with a local business to use their parking lot which has road visibility, parking as well as walk ability for our neighborhood. This move was a win-win for everyone involved. Our customers are now their customers, and their customers are now our customers.

If you want to start your own farmers market here are some resources to consider reviewing before starting the process. There is a course you can take through the Farmers Market Federation of NY, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Cobleskill and funded by NYS’s Fresh Connect Program. This program costs $200, after taking the certification course you will be a certified Farmers Market Manager. It is an online course. I plan on taking it in the near future. Another great resource is ASAP. They have a section dedicated to how to become a farmers market manager with Powerpoint slides, PDF’s on farmers market rules and regulations. The best part is that this is a free resource.

Resources:

http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program

http://www.asapconnections.org

7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends You Need To Know About

Over the last few years, technology has changed a lot. The pace of change in technology is very fast. It is getting even more difficult for marketing firms to keep up with this change in technology. So what kind of technological change should you expect soon? You need to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Here are some, coming very soon:

1. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is also known as customer relationship management (CRM). It is focused on long-term engagement and relationships with the customers instead of short term relations. The aim of relationship marketing is to emotionally engage customers with the brands. This leads to free word of mouth marketing and loyalty. It is different from traditional marketing approach because it is not focused on individual profit generation.

2. Marketing Automation

Market automation refers to the latest technologies and software that are designed for marketing departments. These software and online channels are used to promote products at different platforms like emails, blogs, social media and websites.

3. Location-Based Marketing Technology

The location-based technology uses mobile phone location for marketing the products. It is another direct marketing strategy. An opt-in is usually activated to process this type of marketing. What actually happens is that when opt-in is activated it starts tracking the location of device holder and sends a text about nearby product or service which is available. This includes any free coupon schemes or any discount deals. This technology actually bridges the physical gap between customers and the available products in their nearby places.

4. Virtual Reality

One of the most prominent marketing strategies that should be utilized by every marketer is virtual reality. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences. It can be aimed at sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. It is used in the depiction of business products, games, movies, and arts.

5. Ephemeral Marketing

Snapchat is one of the best examples of ephemeral marketing. It is one of the latest leaps in technological development. Marketing firms and businesses can use it for their own benefit. Ephemeral marketing means providing something to the customers for a very short period of time. This has many advantages. For instance, when discounts and special offers are announced like this for a limited time period it will enhance the excitement of customers. Similarly giving a sneak peek of the new product, which is not yet launched in the market, could also increase the excitement of people. In this way, people will be more attracted towards the product.

6. Search Past Search Engines

Many social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are trying to create their own search engines. It will also boost the marketing opportunities for the marketers so they need to be prepared for this change.

7. The Internet of Things

Internet of things is actually a network of physical objects. For instance vehicles, devices, buildings etc. which are electronically connected with each other. For marketers, it means that their data is more easily accessible to the customers so they can market their products more efficiently.