I wish I had a buck for every time my daughters have repeated a commercial “pitch” as reasoning for why we should buy the latest toy or food marketed to kids. I also wish I had a buck for every time I responded, “It’s an advertisement. Don’t believe everything they are telling you.”
I can’t help thinking, what’s wrong with THIS picture?
For the past 10 years, I’ve made my living as a marketing and PR writer, and – though I scorn pandering, hyperbole and truth twisting – I’ve had to spin some yarns from time to time. Traditionally, companies have attracted people to their product or service by hyping it. The more alluring or creative (or shocking) your advertisement, the more likely people are to notice it, for at least a second. However, the majority have clearly become jaded by and distrustful of this old approach.
Content marketing, on the other hand, appeals more to reason and relationships than to hype. That’s what happens when consumers – who are usually inclined to educate themselves before buying – now have the power to do so at their fingertips. They’re looking for solid advice, helpful conversations and enough useful information to enable them to make a well-informed purchase. That’s what the Web can deliver.
I like this shift away from hype and toward authenticity. It’s attractive to me personally, and, judging from the growth of Internet communication and commerce, it also appeals to millions and millions of others across the globe.
In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott says, “The Web is different. Instead of one-way interruption [that’s common with traditional marketing and advertising], Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.”
Do writers use the Web to deliver false information? Yes. Do companies still provide biased opinions in their Internet content? Absolutely. (Will my kids still have to be careful of online ploys? Without a doubt!) The key is that there are many voices on the Web, and it behooves a business to be as honest, transparent and responsive as possible. In the long run, this approach will help them build trust with their customers and garner more loyalty than an amusing commercial or billboard ever will.
I am excited to be part of this new marketing strategy and welcome the changes it brings to my industry.