"Content Marketing" is the buzz word du jour in marketing, but it's leaving a lot of people scratching their heads. On one end of the spectrum you have those who don't really understand what it is and what it's supposed to do, and on the other end of the spectrum you have those who think we've been doing it all along.
Me? I learn by example because "marketing is a spectator sport!" So here's two recent examples that I think exemplify the idea behind content marketing and what it should be accomplishing for both the brand and its consumers.
Nature Valley Trail View: as part of the Nature Valley brand's commitment to nature and helping to preserve it, the team hiked over 400 miles of nature trails around the country and captured footage via Street View technology for those of us to enjoy here online. It's meant to ideally inspire us to get out there and enjoy nature as well ... and enjoy the brand in the process.
Chipolte: to highlight its commitment to sustainable sourcing practices, the brand just released a four-part comedy television series titled "Farmed and Dangerous" via Hulu. This is full on entertainment, with minimal to no brand integrations, all designed to raise awareness about ethical standards in farming and safety for animals.
In both cases, the brands are not pushing their brands ... although they are promoting the values held by their brands and most likely those who consume them. In both cases, the content is meant to inspire, entertain, educate, and share, not necessarily sell product ... at least not directly. In the end, both cases serve well to enhance the brand's reputation and to promote the brand's essence. It's a more subtle form of marketing meant to engage and connect ... building an emotional connection with consumers that creates brand loyalty at a deeper level.
Of course the key is that the content has to be relevant to both the brand and the target consumer, no small feat because that requires a lot of digging and a lot of homework.
That's content marketing. What's your experience? JIM.
PS - Join us Sunday night for #OscarExp ... live tweets about the marketing during the Academy Awards!