Evolving Communication Trends
How do you communicate the benefits of your product or service? Does what you present make people want to do business with you? Distributors, why would someone buy from you instead of online or from another distributor? Suppliers, in many cases several companies offer the same product you do. Why should a distributor buy it from you?
Some of my recent Rants addressing topics on innovation—or lack thereof—in our industry have stimulated good discussion. If you missed theses articles check out: "No Single Raindrop Believes it is to Blame for the Flood?" and "Whose Fault Is It?" In this Rant, I want to address an emerging trend that we all should be aware of that ties in nicely to the topic.
The 2013 PPAI North American Leadership Conference was packed with great information and I continue to draw on what I learned. Frank Mulhern, a professor and Associate Dean at Medill Northwestern University, presented an eye-opening session that addressed trends for marketing in a digital era. He touched on the evolution of marketing, noting that original TV ads were simply filming of radio ads.
Frank said that TV gave us ordering of brand marketing. It enabled brands to reach large audiences and engaged emotions as the core of a branding strategy. We can still see that in advertising today. TV advertising isn't really relevant to our industry, but the evolving communication trends are.
Now, we are in a digital age. Digital, social and mobile marketing have as much impact as TV and other "traditional" advertising mediums. There is a shift from communication channels to platforms that provide functionality. Today, many of our buyers aren't really tuned into TV, so to speak.
What does this mean for distributors and suppliers? Everything! The good news is that today's digital platforms are accessible to everyone and, unlike TV advertising, digital marketing can have little to no cost.
It's fascinating that today anyone can have a significant online presence—and make a career of it. We have a friend, Nikki Phillippi, who is making a living with her social media presence, basically just sharing her life. She is appealing to a specific audience and she has amassed over 89,000 twitter followers.
Frank Mulhern brought up the relevance of content marketing at the NALC. Like many hot careers today, this career track did not exist a few years ago. In Nikki's case, the marketing is not too deep…but the content gets delivered. She has a connection with her audience and what she mentions, sells. So, how do we connect with our audience?
There is a wealth of information on this topic from the Content Marketing Institute. My sense is that our industry isn't yet embracing this important marketing trend. Many distributors are still focused on the product and price marketing strategy. But…is that really a strategy, or is it the only way we know how to market?
Marketing has changed. If we don't embrace emerging trends, we as distributors and suppliers will miss the opportunity to distinguish our businesses from competitors. It also means we will just continue to perpetuate the "stuff" image that has plagued our industry.
Ah, but creating content is time-consuming and not everyone can do it. The good news here is that there are ways around that. I've discovered an amazing new content-generating program to share with you. This service allows you to work with a team of writers that will tailor content to fit your needs. Pricing can be just a few cents per word. Writers will bid your job using the price and content terms you determine. You only pay for content you actually approve, so there is no risk. It's quite amazing, actually.
An example of content we used from this service is shown in this SnugZ Lip Balm/Mints Double Stack Jar promotion, which is available on FreePromoTips.com We gave them a website link and some general guidelines. A writer picked up the job and came back with pretty usable content. Since the writer wasn't familiar with our industry, the content did need some tweaking to meet our needs, but was very close to what we wanted to say. My favorite line is: "You'll be seeing a little bit of promotional bliss with this blissful duo!" We bid this at .5 per word and the cost was $12.00. You will get more and perhaps better writers paying .10 a word, but this went very well for our first trial.
If you would like to try this awesome content creation service, you can learn more here.
Personal content is always best and this inexpensive service makes it simple, but if you just want to share generic content, Ezine Articles is a good free resource.
Content is designed to be shareable. It's OK to share products, but consider mixing it up with relevant content that helps position your company in a different way. Shareable content is available everywhere.
Video is a key content component to marketing in the digital age. FreePromoTips TV offers a variety of content. From our SuccessTracks videos, Business Videos and our Just for Fun Videos, we have used this communication tool for years. This hilarious King of Queens clip shows us the seductive power of promotional products. Feel free to share it.
Suppliers have effectively used video creatively, as illustrated by this very funny SnugZ USA video creatively showcasing their lip balm. Is this unique video more effective in helping you understand the benefits of using SnugZ products over a competitor, who may be using "traditional" advertising? In just two minutes you get a quick inside look at this company and one of its products.
I invite you to think outside the box as you consider using content marketing to distinguish your business from your competitors. And please feel free to comment on how content marketing strategies have helped you.
Our SuccessTracks Education Experience with Danny Rosin from Brand Fuel rocked. After the session, I was inspired as I gained a greater understanding of how our businesses will thrive by thinking differently. If you missed "The Business Fulfillment Project," the recording of the session is available.
On Friday Oct. 25, Phil Martin from Warwick will show you how you can "Create an Annuity for Your Business." More information and the link to register can be found here. Take advantage of these learning opportunities!
Jeff Solomon, MAS is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don't miss out on what's happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.