Content Marketing vs. Promotional Marketing: Giving People What They Want

By December 11, 2017 Blog, Content, Strategy No Comments

When it comes to gifts, giving people what they really want can be challenging, especially if you don’t know the person well. In an act of desperation, you may resort to buying one of those “as seen on t.v. products,” and hope for the best! Unfortunately, this rarely hits the mark.

At its core, this is the difference between content marketing and promotional marketing. While promotional or traditional marketing is an interruptive marketing strategy in which advertisements or product promotions are delivered whenever and wherever companies want them to, content marketing is a permissive marketing technique, which is sought out by your audience – it’s consumed when and where they want.

In other words, effective content marketing is giving people what they want.

The point of content marketing is to add value, educate, solve problems and, perhaps, entertain while doing those things, which in turn, builds an audience, generates leads and turns customers into loyal advocates. The Content Marketing Institute offers a great definition of content marketing and its purpose:

“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

Beyond the Blog

Although content marketing has been growing dramatically and the latest research shows that 91% of B2B marketers use the technique (2018 B2B Research), only 37% have a documented content marketing strategy, and many are still unsure exactly what the technique entails.

Content marketing can take many forms, from blogging, podcasts, and webinars, to videos, personalized emails and more. While the formats differ, the consistent element of content marketing is that it’s not promotional! Effective content does not talk about your company attributes or pitch your amazing products. Rather, like the perfect gift, its tailored to the needs and wants of your prospective customers. Simply put, It’s not about you, it’s about them.

For many marketers, this method may seem counterintuitive – aren’t we supposed to be promoting our products and services? Well yes, and no. With promotional or traditional marketing, the main objective is pitching a product; with content marketing, you’re building customer relationships, which leads them to discover your amazing products and services.

The Advantages of Content Marketing

In fact, developing customer relationships is one of the main advantages of content marketing. By establishing your authority, building trust and providing value from the beginning, you have a greater chance of earning customer satisfaction for your brand and encouraging loyalty. Think of promotion as one-way communication and content marketing as an ongoing dialogue.

Content marketing also tends to be more cost efficient. Writing, posting and promoting a blog may only take a few hours, but continues to create value over time. On the other hand, a paid ad campaign can be expensive and its effects comparatively short-lived. According to a report on the current state of content marketing by Demand Metric (Content Marketing Infographic), content marketing efforts cost 62% less than traditional marketing efforts and generate 3x as many leads.

When you combine customer relationships with the ongoing value of content, it’s easy to see that content marketing has the ability to provide long-term returns. It takes longer to build momentum and see results with content marketing, but its value compounds over time. (It’s the gift that keeps giving!)

And the Winner Is…

When you consider the number of variables that determine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, it’s nearly impossible to declare which strategy is “best.” A smaller company may benefit more from content marketing because it makes the most of a small budget, while companies with more resources and different demographics may find success using more traditional advertising. While studies show that content marketing offers more benefits, especially in the long run, the best marketing strategy is a multifaceted one that fits your industry and target audience.

For example, if you are trying to reach Millennials, you may want to focus more on content marketing. According to a study done by Marketing Land, 60% of Millennials like to choose the content they see, and 63% are more trusting of content that they find on their own versus what’s shown to them via advertising.

The bottom line is, in this new digital age, you must include content marketing in your overall strategy. When done properly, it’s less expensive, highly effective, and perhaps most importantly, it’s what your audience wants.

Want to learn how to make your content more effective? Contact us today!