In the year 2014 alone, Procter & Gamble has cut its marketing spending by $2.64 billion. That’s a lot! Do you think that P&G has become poor and unable to spend? Or have the CEO and CMO gone crazy?
The answer is no in both cases.
Rather, P&G has increased the efficiency of its marketing campaigns by shying away from Traditional advertising. Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller recently said that 30% of P&G’s marketing is now DIGITAL! He explained “P&G continues to drive marketing productivity through an optimized mix, driven by new, more efficient digital media”.
Okay! That’s a relief! Now you know where the money is going. May be you now want to jump into content marketing right away. But before so doing, let us reaffirm,
Has Advertising has really lost its appeal?
Do you think that advertising just died yesterday, all of a sudden? Nah! It started dying since the 1990s. Don’t just take my words for it. Take it from the Gurus we all so believe in.'Mass advertising has lost its ability to move the masses' - Sergio Zyman Click To Tweet
Sergio Zyman, former CMO of The Coca-Cola Company said the following back in 1999!
The era of marketing as we have known it is over, dead, kaput – and most marketers don’t realize it.
Mass advertising has lost its ability to move the masses. Technology has given people many more options than they had in the past and created a consumer democracy.
Everybody has a thousand choices for any product they might want to buy, and there are a million different products competing for their wallets.
So marketers increasingly need to find ways to speak to customers individually, or in smaller and smaller groups. With so many choices, each customer has many factors that weight in his or her decisions
Marketers have to find the reasons that speak to particular customers’ concerns. Old-style, one-size-fits-all mass marketing can’t do this.'Marketing as we know it is disappearing' - Regis McKenna Click To Tweet
Regis McKenna, Marketing Guru of Silicon Valley, Said it in 2002 in his book “Total Access”.
With the customer hunkered down in his or her mental foxhole, it becomes harder and harder to score a hit in our overcommunicated society.
With volume up and effectiveness down, advertising has become the focus of intensive research.
Consider the facts. Most major advertising programs that run are tested. They don’t run if they don’t test exceptionally well.'Marketing is dead' - Bill Lee Click To Tweet
Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead.
Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.
Buyers are no longer paying attention to advertising. They rely heavily on the internet to find out information on products and services. And most interestingly, they trust word-of-mouth over advertising.
In 2011, a study rocked the marketers upside down. CEOs and decision makers (such as owners) said that Chief Marketing Officers no longer have the credibility and ability to generate business growth. They (CMO) ask for money without explaining how they will use the money to increase revenue.
Why has advertising lost its appeal?
Many research has been conducted on this topic. Some processes and findings will make sense to us (the common people), some of them won’t. But it is totally possible to understand the two core reasons. Because these are reflected into our daily lives.
Life has become hectic, and we (the audience) have become smarter
You are always busier than you were ten years ago. That’s the universal truth. You either moved into a big city, or your city itself got bigger. Traffic increased, got a job, and so on so forth.
Ten years ago you woke up at 7:30 AM in the morning. Had your shower, had a good breakfast, and still got 15 minutes time to have tea while reading the newspaper.
You lazily got out of home at 8:30 and reached your school or workplace conveniently by 9:00 AM. You got out of office at 5:00 PM sharp and returned home before 6:00. Plenty of time to watch TV with the entire family!
Now What? How much time do you have?
With increasing stress in the competitive world, you had to become smarter.
You still read the newspaper, but your mind avoids the ads. You still watch TV, but switch channels when the ads start, you now spend hours outdoor in traffic, but choose not to look at the billboards.
This phenomenon is known as “Advertising Blindness”.
What else could you do? I mean everyday you come across countless ads of the same nature. Similar products, similar messages, and even similar discounts! Why would you care?
And so nobody cares anymore.
Ads speak to people, but people want to Talk!
The main limitation of advertising is that it is One-To-Many. Ads can only speak to people, and people are supposed to listen to what the marketers want to say.
God Help The Marketers!
You, I, and everybody are not that dumb anymore. We don’t listen to anyone who would not listen to us.
And certainly, you cannot talk back to a newspaper, a billboard, or your fancy LED 3D TV (By the way, is it curved too?).
While it is possible to hold a live conversation on TV or Radio, but this is very occasional. Bottom line, advertising cannot talk to people.
Enough! Let’s discover Content Marketing
Microwave Ovens are used primarily for warming food.
Sunscreen users can still get nasty sunburns.
Why? What went wrong?
The companies forgot to provide knowledge which was required to make the best use of their products.
Can you guess the consequences?
Next time, the customer thinks of buying another microwave oven, she/he may go for a damn cheap brand. Because any damn cheap microwave oven can easily perform the job of warming food.
And the sunscreen user may (most likely shall) feel that the product she/he bought is a complete waste of money. It doesn’t work!
As marketers, you need to have your own content strategy to create and distribute content that really help your audience.
Content that empower the audience with knowledge
So they can decide what’s best for them
Content that educate your audience
So they can make the best use of your products
Content that engage the audience emotionally
So that they love you
Well, your audience will think the following:
“Hey these guys (your brand) are really nice, I learned a lot from them”
“These guys know exactly what I need”
“They even feel my emotions”
“I sure got to try their products and services”
If enough brands started using content marketing customers will never be unhappy, brands will never have to push their products.
Enough theories! I am dying to showcase some superb content marketing in action.
How Big Brands Are Thriving With Content Marketing
Virgin Mobile uses hosts its social newsroom with BuzzFeed. They have been highly successful (over a million unique visitors every month) in educating and engaging their audience with interesting, timely, and brand relevant content every day.
What could a brand that produces software (boring right?) do with content marketing?
Well, Microsoft creates compelling stories that attract and connect the audiences emotionally. Microsoft runs a total of 18 blogs (!!!) to cater the varying needs of its wide range of audiences. Here are two examples of how they educate and engage their target audience.
When it comes to content marketing, Kraft Food is the world pioneer and leader. They started content marketing when everyone else was sleeping. Kraft creates content around its food business. Educating people with nutritional guides, healthy recipes and so on. Check out these two content examples from Kraft.
You see, I haven’t forgot about P&G. How could I? It is my favorite company. They have many different content platforms to cater their different brand audiences. Here’s I am featuring their platform for women audience called “BeingGirl”.
The Gurus have spoken!
Traditional marketing tactics are becoming less effective. Every year more and more companies realize that their marketing is ineffective, and they move to plan B, which is offering discounts. And today, more and more brands are offering discounts. Isn’t that right?
We also have seen how some brands started educating and attracting more customers with the use of digital media; food Companies, personal care brands, software companies, telecoms and what not!
You don’t have to be a big brand with a big budget to make the best use of content marketing. In the era of digital media (social, email, blog) every business (Big, Small, B2B, B2C) can use content marketing to build an authority in their industry and attract customers.
So what are your thoughts? Do you think that advertising is still effective? If not, how do you plan to start content marketing to build your brand and make customers find you?
Join the discussion by commenting below.