We make an infinite number of choices every single day—everything from what time we’re going to wake up to what we’re having for lunch. As marketers, we need to understand that our consumers make the same daily decisions we do and that becoming part of their decision-making process means understanding how those decisions are ultimately made.
The digital marketing landscape is filled with choices and content marketing is shaping the future of how consumer decisions are made. Audiences are continually bombarded with messaging and consequently develop a shorter attention span fueled by an always-connected expectation in which instant gratification is a must. Even how we consume content is becoming a decision.
The way in which messaging is being delivered is constantly evolving and shifting, which means what worked in the content marketing space yesterday, may not work today. If you want to stand out and create an incomparable customer experience, your content needs to get smaller, more consumable, and more accessible to feed the growing demand for a constant stream of quick information.
In working with our customers, within both B2B and B2C industries, I’ve made several noteworthy observations. Do you need to jumpstart your marketing strategy in 2014? Consider the best practices below to help you create strong brand and customer loyalty:
Cater to the connected consumer: Consider how you use your own smartphone or tablet, or better yet how your customers use these devices. Do they read email on their phone? Do they follow links to articles? Do they follow updates on social networks for business or consumers? Thanks in part to mobile devices, how content is found and consumed has been completely altered. Consumers are more connected than ever before, but they not only expect the right content to be instantly available on the device they’re holding—they also expect it to be consumable on the most convenient screen. This is driving marketers towards more atomized content, thereby creating an opportunity for completely new digital experiences as visitors move across channels.
Leverage content and commerce: It all starts with optimizing and improving online customer experience online. That’s where you can engage current customers and develop long-term relationships to build brand loyalty—the core of selling. Once you have small, digestible content prepared for several channels, find a way to place your products or solutions close by. Many cutting-edge e-commerce sites are beginning to provide short content that informs the decision-making process with convenient “product placements” as we’ve seen done in the film and television entertainment industries for years, as well as offering an alternative to grid-style navigation.
Stop selling and start informing: You know all the great reasons you think someone should be interested in your product or service—but don’t forget to think from the customer view and ask what else might they want to know to help them make a purchase decision. Many times this information comes out in ratings and reviews, so consider creating this sort of content if UGC is not part of your current portfolio. Consumer demands are higher than ever, but by intertwining content and commerce to create meaningful experiences for and relationships with customers, marketers can sell without actually selling.
Develop shorter, more consumable content: Consumers need content and messaging that they can processes quickly and effectively. Small, “bite-sized” chunks of content instead of tedious, lengthy whitepapers hold the most weight and marketers must format content for consumability to impact purchasing decisions.
We’re just a couple of months into a new year, and there’s still time for organizations to start fresh and integrate new techniques to improve their marketing strategies. By implementing new approaches to reach target audiences, marketers will improve relationships with their consumers and ultimately drive business results.
Bob Egner is the VP of product management at EPiServer, a provider of multichannel digital marketing and e-commerce software. Egner regularly interacts with customers who are working to improve the results of their online and mobile presence and customer engagement.