Content Marketing Isn't for Making Sales
All businesses want more sales and more customers, so it's often thought that more marketing will mean more sales and customers; however, that way of thinking needs to switch, as not all marketing ought to be geared toward making the sale. A new study from BtoB found that marketers view content marketing as having its most significant impact on lead generation and brand awareness, with sales coming in fourth.
The study of 440 business-to-business marketing professionals looked at the adoption of content marketing and what this type of marketing is doing for these businesses. It found that 34% of marketers were either "very" or "fully" engaged with content marketing (up from 18% last year), with 66% of marketers projecting they will be "very" or "fully" committed to content marketing in 2013.
Content marketing involves a wide array of techniques, such as business blogging, video, infographics, white papers, and slideshows. Even more traditional techniques like press releases and newsletters are considered part of content marketing. Anything that is written and distributed for the purpose of attracting, acquiring, and/or engaging customers are considered part of content marketing.
Why engage in this type of marketing, especially if the ultimate goal is to make sales? Engaging in content marketing helps to move potential customers through the buying process, to keep them interested and engaged until they are ready to buy. The marketers in this study said that content marketing's two biggest strengths were its capacity to improve engagement with important audiences and its ability to enhance the "trust factor" for companies. Although those two strengths don't directly equal sales, they are necessary in order for a company to make a sale.
Engagement. Trust. Getting found online. Those are things that are necessary not just to make sales and to get new customers, but to differentiate from the competition and to be a brand that actually understands its customers. Not every business is in the publishing business, but businesses that don't create content for marketing purposes are missing out on major opportunities.