Content marketing is not, as the name might seem to imply, marketing which provides advertising time for specific content. It is instead a marketing approach which uses specific content in different forms of advertising in order to change the way in which customers behave, or the way they approach goods and services. In other words, content marketing is a method of advertising which does not have ‘making a sale’ as the primary goal.
Content marketing can fall into two groups – pure content marketing, which I will illustrate by using examples from Converse shoes – and storytelling in a content marketing context, which I will illustrate by using Red Bull’s marketing campaigns. I will also use Ford Cars, with an emphasis on their latest campaign for their Ford Mustang model, but since the long-running nature of Ford cars means that their campaigns fulfil all aspects of content marketing, the examination of their marketing campaign will extend over both blog posts on the subject.
For an example which uses content marketing in its purest form, I am going to look at how Converse shoes has made use of content marketing to market the various types of shoes they offer.
Aside from the obvious marketing strategies of making sure they become known for manufacturing athletic shoes, as well as making their shoes affordable to a wider range of people, the Converse brand has grasped onto the digital age with both hands by using the internet to create a function where users can design their own shoes with the help of an online program.
By doing this, the company has hit upon an amazing market strategy – involving people in the creation of their own shoes extends the manufacturing process to involve customers rather than just the workers at the factory, thus making customers feel more favourable towards buying and wearing the Converse, since in a very real way they can now claim to have a hand in making them. This marketing technique may also lead to more customers via word-of-mouth advertising, since it is likely that customers will want to tell the people they know about their shoes and how they were made.
Ford is an interesting example in terms of content marketing because of the reasons given above – to look at the 2014 video advert purely in terms of content marketing, it is important to note that the car in the advert is not present in a vacuum; it is being driven on a fairly busy road in a city in conditions that may be present at any given time (such as the road works at the end of the video).
Showing the car off in this situation gives Ford the opportunity to highlight different items on the car itself – brake lights in a new and more efficient configuration, for example, or braking\acceleration capabilities – with minimal dialogue, giving anybody viewing the advert an opportunity to put themselves into the car and imagine how those features would positively impact their driving experience. Having the car change colour throughout the advert (also without any explaining dialogue) is another way for the customer to involve themselves in the manufacturing process by showing the different styles available for a car to be painted, but that side of the advert is firmly rooted in the storytelling aspect of content marketing, which I will go into in greater detail in the second part of this blog.
This was originally published on LinkedIn