When will we learn as marketers? We play an endless game of cat and mouse chasing potential customers with annoying ads. With DVR’s, people fast forward through commercials. So, we make commercials that can promote the product even at high speed. Video On Demand became another ad-free option…except for network channels. Their On Demand programming includes ads…and they disabled the fast forward option.
Websites offer pop-up ads when you visit a page, when you move your cursor a certain way, or when you’re about to leave a page. There are banner ads all over the place. Google searches offer more ads than actual search results. Social media feeds regulate what posts you can see from your friends and family, but cram in more and more ads. It’s no wonder customers install pop-up blockers and ad blockers.
But then we find a way around those…or some websites restrict access if you block their ads! South Park even made fun of the whole practice in an episode in which they created a character who was really an ad. The joke being that it was the latest way around ad blockers.
When are we going to wake up? It has to stop. Rather than waste our energy on more ways to annoy people with ads, why don’t we listen to what they’re telling us? THEY DON’T WANT OUR ADS!! Not on TV. Not on the Internet. Definitely not on their smartphones.
Wouldn’t it be better to focus our messaging on the people that are actually interested in consuming it? Wouldn’t it be smarter to provide helpful information instead of plastering “Buy This” everywhere?
No surprise I’m talking about content marketing. Besides creating content, you’re developing an audience to which you consistently deliver relevant, useful information. But what if you could take it one step further? What if you could transform your marketing to develop multiple revenue streams? So much so that you turn the marketing department from a supporting function into a profit center for the business?
A Better Way For Marketers
This is the basis for Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit, the new book by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. It builds off their past books, most notably Pulizzi’s Content, Inc. and Rose’s Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing (co-written with Carla Johnson), and moves the notions forward.
With content marketing, successful marketers are changing. Instead of using advertising to pull in attention, they’re speaking directly to consumers. Killing Marketing tells you how to monetize your audience in a way that makes your marketing department a profit center for the business.
Once you’ve built a loyal audience, you can add revenue streams based on what they need. As Pulizzi and Rose researched companies having success with content marketing, they realized the new marketing business model is now the same as the media business model: Create an audience and sell to that audience.
Your audience relationship can create many lines of value including:
- Competency: Use data to understand more about your customers.
- Campaign Value: Create supporting transactional, promotional efforts to keep you top of mind when your audience is ready to buy.
- Customer Value: Create more loyal, valuable customers through content.
- Cash: Generate direct revenue through marketing programs that monetize your customer relationships.
Monetizing Your Audience
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) built their revenue model around their daily blog. It follows Walt Disney’s model that centers around animated and live-action movies. As CMI increased their blog subscribers, they were able to add revenue streams. These focus on four buckets:
- Events: Content Marketing World.
- Digital: Benefactor sponsorships, This Old Marketing podcast, email list rental, webinars, white papers, virtual events, etc.
- Print: Chief Content Officer Magazine.
- Insights: Online training, advisory services, research, Content Marketing Awards.
There are 10 ways to drive revenue from your loyal audience:
- Conferences and events.
- Premium Content: Direct-for-sale, funded, syndicated.
- Recurring customers.
- Yield increase.
- Cross sales.
Making the Transition
Making this type of departmental (or organizational) change is a hard and long process. How do we do it? Pulizzi and Rose’s solution is killing marketing as we know it. Then, rebuild the strategy to create valuable customer experiences with every interaction. The marketing team should build and manage the experiences the same way they do products.
The companies that are succeeding have these common skill sets:
- Create engaging events that inspire subscription. Instead of placing “stop” points along the buying journey that slow the process, remove as much friction as possible.
- Be meaning-driven, not data-driven. Understand what data you need and the emotional aspect of it. Why do customers give you their data?
- Organize for agility, not speed. It’s not about how fast and how many times you can get your message out. It’s about being where your customer needs you to be when they need you.
These traits manifest themselves in the content. Content needs to be a strategic function of the business. Make sure you have the right strategy in place and that your content follows it. State your hypothesis and start with big picture questions. Then, get more focused and specific.
The New Marketing Is Within Your Reach
I know what you’re thinking: This is all great, but how do I actually do it? Well, I can’t tell you everything. Otherwise, you’d have no reason to buy the book. And buy it you should! Not to sound like Yoda, but this book is a must-read for all marketers and entrepreneurs. Through a plethora of examples, advice and steps, you’ll learn how to transform your marketing. You’ll begin to see the many opportunities you never knew were there…just like the $12 billion foresight George Lucas had with Star Wars merchandise!
As they note, Peter Drucker said “Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” This version of marketing is in reach. They explain how to kill the function of marketing, so you can rebuild it to be more powerful than ever.
Stop spending the budget you work so hard to secure on ads that people go out of their way to ignore. Start investing in building an audience that looks forward to your content, and will happily pay for new ways to engage with you. Kill your marketing today!
Have you read Killing Marketing? What were your takeaways? Thanks for reading and if you like this post, please share it!