Anyone who has followed the journey of advertising executive Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men will know that marketing has changed a great deal over the last fifty-odd years… And not just because we can’t drink whiskey at 9:30AM in the office anymore.
The purpose of this guide is to give small, local businesses an introduction to what content marketing is, why it’s important, and to arm them with the insights and tools they need to get started.
For those that haven’t seen the show, each season the mercurial hero drinks a lot, flirts with a lot of women who aren’t his wife and pitches a range of real-world, big-name brands such as Hershey’s and Lucky Strike.
The show’s creators do their best to whip up some kind of mystique about what Don Draper does for each big brand — but at its core, the goal is the same every single time:
Find an innovative way of telling current and potential customers why the company and products in question are amazing and worth spending oodles of money on.
From clever, insightful slogans to arresting images, from billboards to the Super Bowl half-time slot, traditional marketers have successfully exploited this approach for decades — and with some amazing results. Aggressive marketing campaigns have resulted in billions of dollars in additional revenue for some of the biggest firms out there today.
These campaigns create a sense of want or need, they are aspirational and inspirational, they are knowing and clever, and a million other things. The one thing they all have in common, without exception, is this — they talk about the brand.
So, what’s so bad about that? In short, the Internet.
Consumers now spend half their waking lives being bombarded by advertising both online and offline — with every brand trying harder than the last to stand out from the crowd. The very nature of the Web means that each individual has become a target for literally hundreds of thousands of companies, each of which has hired an expensive Mad Man to come up with some clever insight that will let them grab some small slice of your attention.
Simply put: No matter how clever or original your pitch, John and Jane Q, the public is less and less likely than ever before to be won over.
And remember, these are billion dollar companies struggling to command attention. You can only imagine where this leaves the small, local business like yours.
But wait, it gets worse…
Even if you do catch a consumer on a good day and manage to convey your unique, pithy and insightful sales pitch in an eye-catching way, the very first thing that consumer will do is research your store or
The way in which customers inform themselves about you and your products has fundamentally changed. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way and relying ever more heavily on peer reviews (see: yelp.com).
The LAST person in the world that they will trust to tell them about your business is you! Not when they have online star ratings, third-party reviews, and personal recommendations from their Facebook friends.
So, where does that leave us?
The era of Don Draper-style marketing is over.
Traditional marketing is dead. Customers just don’t notice you anymore, and more importantly, they don’t trust you even when they do.
But there is an alternative. It’s called Content Marketing.
If you’d like to learn about content marketing and how to implement it in your small business you can download my guide below.
Do I have you convinced? I hope so. According to a survey we recently carried out on 645 brick and mortar retail businesses, 53% said they planned to embrace ‘DIY’ Marketing by shifting their attention and marketing spend to channels they ‘own’, such as email campaigns and social media. 54% said they plan to invest in a new website or e-commerce presence. Small businesses are waking up to the power of the personal relationships that can be built through these channels and embracing a content marketing approach is your key to staying ahead of the curve.