Content Marketing has pushed its way to the front line of the digital world leaving its traditional counterpart behind. Consumers’ buying habits have changed, revolutionizing the way we shop. According to the National Retail Federation year over year e-commerce sales grew by 15% in 2015, and by 2020 experts predict that this will grow by 56% from $335 billion to $532 billion respectively. Currently 55.8% of Americans will purchase at least part of their apparel online. Why is this so? Well, biologists will argue that the central reward system in our brain triggers a pleasant shot of dopamine every time a visual stimulus attracts our attention. And what is more attractive than millions and millions of images all trying to be ‘better’ than the next? It is this ‘thrill’, this dopamine signaling, and feeling of gratification, that companies are fighting for. So, among so much noise and content, what does capture our attention?
Dopamine plays a vital role in learning. Whereas 10-years ago, information would just be pushed onto us passively through outbound marketing, we now have the world at our fingertips.
Just think of a question… any question will do, and the net will give us a wide range of invigorating possible answers, reviews, images, videos and so on. We have turned into a nation of informed consumers, constantly searching for the next best buy, consumer reviews, top 10… all of this before even stepping foot on the shop floor.
The marketing professional has thus become the driving force of modern day sales. Our job is centered around looking for new and innovative ways to attract leads, educate and nurture them until they are finally qualified enough to be passed onto sales. In all this process, Content Marketing has become the ‘bait’, the better quality, the more likely it is to attract consumer attention. No successful marketing strategy will succeed without it. Yet, for the marketing team to be able to juggle such complex task, it is of utmost importance not only to understand but master an array of possible tools available to us.
The role of marketing
More than 70% of the buyer journey is now covered by the marketing department rather than sales, due to this new purchasing process. Nurturing our leads with well thought out, relevant, value added content is primordial if we want them to reach out to us and connect. This journey is referred to as the customer’s / buyer’s journey, or buyer trip and is divided into three phases. For more details on these, check out my post on creating buyer stages that will lead you to success.
Considering these new trends, it will be companies that tailor to this new way of marketing that will achieve the greatest success. As Bradly Jakeman wisely questioned, “are we as an industry structured to be able to deliver this?” Marketing departments as a whole have constant pressure placed upon them to challenge the status quo “now even the disruptors are being disrupted”.