The new marketing mix: Product, Place, Price, Promotion and… Publishing

In a world where interruptive, ‘push’ marketing is getting a bad rap from consumers who are increasingly in control of their media consumption and purchase research, huge budgets are switching to create compelling and engaging content that serves customers. That is the key difference: moving from selling to serving.

It goes by many other titles but the most highly favoured seems to be “content marketing”: the creation of interesting and engaging content that garners the attention (and hopefully, custom) of consumers.

More than just buzz
Although it can easily be written off as a new buzzword, more brands are dipping deeper into their wallets to set aside dedicated budgets to build mature content marketing systems. Custom Content Council reports that 61% of consumers say they feel better about – and are more likely to buy from – a company that delivers custom content. In addition, eMarketer estimated that the 2013 spending on content, video and social media marketing amounted to $118.4 billion, which is more than an indication that there is a big industry shift taking place.

So, what does this mean?

Brands have to become publishers; they have to be able to answer this question: ‘Apart from our product, what are we contributing to enrich/help/inspire the lives of our consumers?’  Consumers don’t want more product placement, they want something helpful, useful, entertaining, and inspiring to read and engage with. There are many great brands (of all sizes) that have answered this question in unique and creative ways through publishing their own content.

And it’s working

Consumers are simply not swept off their feet by misdirected advertising from brands, and even the most intelligent of interruptive formats will experience continued decline in attention (‘pop-ups, anyone? Here are 14 new tabs you did not click on…’). Instead, brands need to follow the footsteps of companies like Disney, whose Disney Baby Blog has dedicated writers (mums themselves) producing articles on pre-natal, meals, playtime, working mums, and baby fashion.

It’s no wonder then why some stats report that 63% of online readers are influenced more by blogs at the purchase-decision point than by traditional magazines, or, even more revealing, that 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through their content rather than product ads.

Even a simple Facebook status can provide incredible customer insight: eBay has 4.4 million Facebook likes and over 166K Twitter followers. A simple question posed on Facebook, (‘What’s your favourite makeup must-have?’ will be rewarded with a majority answer (‘mascara’), as well as brand names, (‘Lancome’). Not a single penny spent, and engagement is sustained as eBay continues to hold court with its valued fans on a daily basis.

This engagement between brands and consumers is based on a ‘pull not push’ transaction that increases consumer loyalty and interest. With content being shared freely and abundantly on social media, there are also increased opportunities for new consumers coming to find you.

The real value is in the data

The most well-known value proposition of content marketing is increased engagement. This is great, and sits alongside loyalty and sales metrics. But content marketing does much more than that. Using some simple-to-integrate technology, content marketing can reveal the unique interests of your customers. How does that work? Well, by tracking what people read, create and share (on your properties), you can build a detailed understanding of what is important to them.

Content consumption reveals the real you

Technology that enables such ‘content analytics’ means brands are now able to extract deeper insight from the content that consumers are reading. It analyses and understands the content you are publishing (using Natural Language Processing), and infers interests on to each individual read based on their frequency and recency of engagement with content topic areas. This reveals a powerful new dataset, available in real-time and across channels, and which describes your customers and readers in more detail and more accuracy than you have ever been able to access before. This insight can be viewed at an individual, segment or audience level, to drive editorial, marketing, sales and support strategy. And it means you are armed with the information to meet each individual at their point of need, perhaps even before they realize it.

Content marketing is maturing. The buzz is turning into business value. Do you want to be part of it?

Why not join the brands that are driving greater engagement and insight from their content marketing? Understand your customers’ interests and recommend the right content to the right person in real-time, on any channel. Find out more at and see how easy it is to get started.