Marketing is a vast industry that touches virtually every type of business currently operating in the world, from small mom-and-pop shops that operate locally and individual private contractors to multinational corporations and international trade companies. The rules of the marketing world are constantly changing as digital trends shift, consumer habits change, and new innovations disrupt entire markets. If anyone could handle modern marketing, everyone would.
One of the most important aspects of modern marketing is balancing content marketing and product marketing. These two sides of modern brand marketing require very different approaches.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content is one of the most important parts of any modern marketing campaign. In fact, the golden rule of the marketing world for years has been “content is king.” Modern consumers want much more than just good deals and reliable products; they want to do business with brands that connect with them on personal levels. Content can take many forms, including written blog posts, photos posted to social media, video interviews and how-to guides posted to YouTube, email marketing campaigns, and much more. Content marketing is the practice of leveraging content to drive business to your brand.
A solid content marketing plan should engage with customers across various channels. This typically involves at minimum email marketing and social media marketing. Effective content marketing requires extensive research into your target market. To create valuable content, you need to know what type of content your target customers want to consume and how they prefer to consume content. For example, you may have better luck connecting with a more mature and professional customer base through email and social media platforms like Facebook. If you want to appeal to a younger audience, investing in content marketing through Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter will likely yield better results.
Content marketing is, in essence, providing your customers with content that intrigues, entertains, and encourages them to engage with your brand. It can also increase your brand authority and position your organization as an industry leader. Content marketing should have the goal of drawing potential customers toward your brand and offering loyal customers valuable information to maintain your position as an industry leader in their minds.
Product Marketing, Explained
Every company sells some type of product, whether it’s a physical product or a service. Product marketing is the branch of marketing that revolves around advertising a brand’s products and attracting customers to purchasing them. Some of the most common and most effective forms of modern product marketing include pay-per-click advertising through search engines, press releases that announce new products and services, published customer reviews and testimonials about past products and services, and targeted advertisements across various media channels.
The traditional forms of product advertising included print ads, television ads, and product demonstrations at industry events. Today, product marketing is mostly digital due to the fact that most modern consumers do most of their shopping online. Product marketing should focus on the best selling points of a product, features, benefits, promotions, and displaying the value of purchasing a particular product. This branch of marketing requires lots of paid advertising and content designed to close sales.
How to Leverage Both Types of Marketing to Your Advantage
Many modern marketing teams make the mistake of conflating content marketing and product marketing. This trend gave rise to the “clickbait” phenomenon that dominated online marketing between 2010 and 2020, but modern consumers have wised up to this tactic and basically tune out ads that attempt to take the form of content. It’s essential to strike a balance between content marketing and product marketing, but, as a general rule, you should avoid combining the two.
Product marketing should seek to inform customers and potential customers about the value a product offers. It should explain the features and benefits of the product in clear detail, provide a reasonable explanation for the price of the product, display the product’s superior quality over competing products, and convey all of this information as succinctly as possible. Content marketing should appeal to the interests, goals, beliefs, and needs of a target market without trying to sell them on a product.
For example, if your business sells vacuum cleaners, product marketing should focus on the mechanical features of your vacuums and the value they offer while the content you produce should revolve around housekeeping tips or how-to guides for common vacuum-related issues.
Product marketing will get your brand out there and your product details in front of as many eyes as possible, but content marketing strives to connect with your target customers at a deeper level. While content marketing should offer solutions to your customers’ problems, your product marketing should clearly indicate that your products are the solutions to those problems.
B2C Versus B2B Marketing
B2C companies sell to consumers while B2B companies sell to other companies. The marketing strategies for these types of organizations are going to be very different in some cases and similar in others. Product marketing carries the same basic rules no matter who the target customer is. If your company sells to consumers, you need to develop product marketing that positions your products as the most valuable in your market and clearly demonstrates value for their money. If you sell to other companies, your product marketing must demonstrate that your products offer a superior solution to their pain points and position your products as the gateway toward more effective business partnerships.
Content marketing for B2B companies can be much more difficult than content marketing for B2C brands. Content marketing for either type of customer base requires extensive research not only into the customer base but also the interests and goals of the customer base. When you market content to other businesses, it is critical that you position yourself as an expert and demonstrate that you not only know the value of your products but also fully understand how your products and services can benefit the businesses that consume your content.
Since those businesses are heavily engrossed in their markets, they know their stuff, too, so you’re going to need to position yourself as a valuable source of industry-specific information if you want to make a memorable impression.
Content Marketing Is Not About You
When you work in product marketing, your goal is to display the value of your products and encourage sales to the best of your ability. This is the type of marketing that demands you demonstrate your brand’s value in your niche. When it comes to content marketing, your focus should be on your customers, not your brand. Content marketing offers an incredible level of potential when it comes to providing high-quality experiences for customers, and your content marketing strategy will likely shift over time as your customers’ habits and needs change.
Leverage Both Types of Marketing for the Best Results
The most effective modern marketing strategy is one that balances product marketing with content marketing. It’s vital to devote adequate attention and resources to both types of marketing. While product marketing may be more expensive, it’s generally easier to produce. Effective content is more difficult to generate, but it’s relatively inexpensive and may not cost more than the time taken to write or record an effective piece.
Develop a marketing strategy that involves content geared toward your target market’s interest, needs, and values and product marketing materials designed to maximize returns on your investments. Over time, your marketing strategy for both types of content will require some tweaking and testing, but the good news is that the modern market affords brands with virtually limitless opportunity to craft impactful and effective marketing campaigns with enough research and effort.
Stephen Moyers is a digital marketer, designer, avid tech-savvy blogger. He is associated with Los Angeles Web Design Agency – SPINX Digital. He loves to write about web design, development, digital marketing, social media and much more. Apart from writing, he loves travelling & photography. Follow Stephen on Twitter & Google+.
Also published on Medium.