Nobody wants to say it, but traditional marketing techniques don't work anymore. An abundance of entertainment options means that audiences no longer need to put up with the constant intrusions and contrived messages, and now disconnect at the faintest whiff of a sales pitch.

Content marketing has recently come to the fore as successful way of attracting the desired public, pulling customers from this base and encouraging loyalty. What's more, it allows us to obtain precise information about the purchasing process and tells us what return we're getting on our investment.

Keep reading to find out more about the transformation of the advertising industry and how to adapt to the new marketplace. If you'd like to receive in-depth information about effective sales strategies, join our community!.

The beginning of the end

Things started to turn sour for advertising in Spain many years ago with the proliferation of new TV channels and the ensuing fragmentation of the audience. The definitive blow finally came with the rise of new technologies and increasing preference for digitised consumption. Almost overnight the rules changed, with companies left scrabbling to find their feet in the new marketplace.

Multinational advertising agencies are a collective that's been hard hit by this change. Justifying the profitability of their campaigns in mainstream media is no easy task for these mammoths of the advertising world. Now victims of their own success, they lack the agility to move with the times and adapt to modern-day reality.

Example of content marketing campaign for Danosa, manufacturer of building materials. Interview with Daniel Isern, architect of the Hotel Ohla Eixample. Barcelona.

The traditional model has expired

Modern-day reality is that traditional advertising, based mainly on interrupting entertainment with a one-way sales spiel, no longer works for a large chunk of society. Consumers have no interest in pushy, buy-me messages, and with so many other entertainment options at their fingertips, they simply tune out or switch over when the ad cuts in.

Tiresome advert slots and the accompanying decrease in television quality have pushed many audiovisual consumers over to the internet and social media. Not even the most addictive Netflix series can compete with the personalized feed on social media. Give a thought to how much time you spend on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook or Youtube.

The lack of segmentation has contributed to the decline

So where did traditional advertising go wrong? The lack of segmentation, or specific targeting, together with careless practices and the scant imagination of some brands have no doubt contributed to the decline and rejection of traditional advertising.

Ads broadcast through traditional channels are still an effective way of generating brand awareness amongst an older audience, but whether these ads generate positive acceptation of the brand remains to be seen. What we do know is that the old-school sales patter has a counterproductive effect on segments of society that have embraced new technologies.

If this digital-based market is so whimsical and at the same time intolerant of traditional marketing, how on earth can we persuade consumers to buy our products?

Influencers: a risky strategy

Some companies, mainly those working in fashion, have started using influencers as a way to generate brand awareness and prestige in social media. Up until now this strategy seems to have paid off well, in spite of the tremendous pressure that these newly found advocates now find themselves under. But what if these companies eventually find themselves slaves to their own system of persuasion?

Within the hospitality sector, several establishments have already reported the abusive practices of many false influencers who demand a free stay in exchange for promotion on social media. Aside from issues related to determining the quality and reliability of an influencer, the profitability of this approach is extremely difficult to quantify.

Example of content marketing campaign for Danosa, manufacturer of building materials. Interview with Felip Pich-Aguilera, architect of the LEITAT Technological Center. Barcelona.

Content marketing: a more reliable strategy

A less risky and more sustainable alternative in the long term is to connect with your target audience by means of a carefully designed content marketing strategy. In basic terms, this means winning over your public by giving them content that's personally relevant.

Sounds easy, but it means getting rid of all externally created, or generic material in favour of tailor-made content able to draw in thousands of followers. This requires a lot of time, effort, experience and imagination! Companies that have adopted content marketing strategies engage much more with their public, helping to breed trust and respect which can then be turned into a transaction. Both the customer and the company gain from the exchange.

The key to success: be useful and provide value

An excess of information in our day-to-day has made us highly selective about the content we choose to consume. Generally speaking, we only make time for messages we think will be useful or will help us solve a problem. Note that "useful" is a rather slippery concept, as it's often not related to the practical nature of the product that a company sells, but to the personal aspirations or motivations it addresses.

To better understand this idea, let's take the example of the sector that produces building materials. Architects play a key role in deciding what type of materials to use in a given project, so this is a collective that manufacturers need to target. If we want to influence architects, we need to create content that's going to interest them. So the first question we must ask is: what motivates, interests and concerns an architect?

Obviously each architect has his or her own personal aspirations, but one thing that will always generate interest in a given collective is what their colleagues are doing; input about how others are facing the challenges of today. Comments made by leading architects on key issues will be well received as they offer inspiration or ideas to their peers.

Example of content marketing campaign for Danosa, manufacturer of building materials. Interview with Carlos Lamela, architect of Terminal T4 Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Avoid rejection and track the return on your investment

The main advantage of content marketing is that it doesn't generate the mistrust or rejection we see with traditional techniques. It's non-invasive content that your potential customer has decided to consume because he or she finds it useful or interesting. When you provide customers with input that's valuable for them, you create an emotional bond that encourages loyalty. If these people identify with your product and purpose they may well later become advocates of your brand.

Another big plus point for content marketing is that a platform like MailChimp or HubSpot makes it possible to predict if a registered user is about to make a purchase or if they need more time and input. This same software collects data that will tell you how successful your strategy is and how many sales you've made as a result.

By doing most of the sales groundwork online, content marketing allows you to optimise resources because you'll already know exactly who's interested in buying, allowing you to focus the follow-up and possible face-to-face contact much more effectively.

For more detailed information about the advantages of content marketing, stay tuned for the next article. Make sure you don't miss it by joining our community!

Written by Guillermo Asensio & Emma Darby
┬ęCopyright 2018

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