Ralph's Book

Book CoverBusinesses often are started by entrepreneurs with an idea, a product or service, or an expertise. Many of them fail, not because the idea or product isn’t good, but because their attention is overwhelmingly directed internally – e.g., what goes into the product – when they should focus externally, always reminding themselves:

“It’s The Customer, Stupid!”

That’s the premise of Ralph Crosby’s new book, “It’s The Customer, Stupid! Lessons Learned in a Lifetime of Marketing.”

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Connecting In More Powerful Ways With “Content Marketing”

Connecting with today’s consumer through the ever-growing diversity of media and message delivery options can be extremely challenging.  And while there is still a place for the “hard sell” of advertising that delivers an overt sales message,  marketers are increasingly using a more subtle and indirect “soft sell” that provides relevant information and connects with audiences on a deeper emotional level. Research shows that a softer sell is often more persuasive, and that’s where “content marketing” shines. 

Content marketing involves providing information your audience members value so they can make independent or more informed decisions.  Instead of promoting your offering directly (hard sell), you deliver consistent, meaningful content that enlightens, engages or motivates your audience (soft sell), helping build loyalty to your brand as well as moving people to action.

Researchers say that 80 percent of business decision-makers prefer to get information about companies through content rather than ads.  That content can be delivered through almost any online or offline channel — websites, blogs, emails, white papers, case studies, videos, newsletters, company magazines — all allowing you to tell your story or promote your brand in an engaging way. 

The success of content marketing for organizations large and small is well documented in “100 Content Marketing Examples,” available to download from the website of the Content Marketing Institute http://contentmarketinginstitute.com.  Here are a few condensed examples:

  • The LEGO toy company publishes the LEGO Club magazine, customized for subscribers by local market and age.
  • Target used a unique discount coupon mailer called “Haiku-pons” that featured creative Haiku poems, using humor to spice up this traditional print marketing tool and engage customers.
  • My favorite example from the Institute’s 100 is Lauren Luke.  To supplement her income as a taxi dispatcher in England, she began selling make-up products on eBay.  To improve those sales, she created practical make-up application videos, distributing them on YouTube.  Says the 100 examples entry:  “Five years later, Lauren has her own brand of make-up distributed exclusively by Sephora; she has a series of teen books called ‘Lauren Luke Looks,’ and she’s built a bigger brand than Estee Lauder on YouTube.  Most impressively, Lauren Luke hasn’t spent a dime on traditional advertising. That’s content marketing at its finest.”

At my agency, Crosby Marketing, content is king.  Here’s an example of how we make it work.

  • To help the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services increase the number of people registered as organ donors, we used a wide range of inspirational stories and testimonials by recipients whose lives had been saved thanks to a donor. This content also allowed us to dispel myths and reinforce that organ donation is an accepted social norm for people of all ages and ethnicities. These emotional stories were delivered across multiple platforms, from print public service ads, videos on YouTube, posts and infographics on Facebook and via the Organdonor.gov website.  What’s more, we asked people to share the inspirational messages with their friends, families and social networks.

The results?  This content strategy drove a 33% increase in traffic to state donor registration sites, a 1,500% increase in Facebook “Likes,” and record levels of sharing via social media. Most important, the campaign is adding to the more than 100 million registered donors in the United States, helping to save thousands of lives annually.

To learn more about the power of content marketing, see the many case histories at www.crosbymarketing.com.


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