We know, you will say something like “It cannot be either sales or marketing, it is best when you sell and you sell it through marketing”. And we will tell you that you are absolutely right. It is just… If selling through marketing was easy, everyone would do it…
The Only Marketing That Works Now Is Content Marketing
From the very introduction, it is clear to you that this will be a text about why we think – and not only do we think, but we will also support it with examples – that content marketing is the only marketing left that works.
This is not ‘just’ our claim, but the claim of some big names in the marketing industry like the great Seth Godin, also known as ‘the ultimate entrepreneur for the information age’. Here are some statistics that confirm this:
- 47% of Internet users use some form of software that blocks ads
- 96% of people do not believe in advertising
- 97% of people do not trust sellers
Why is it like that? Let’s start with the fact that advertisements are too aggressive, shocking, unusual, arrogant, surprising… that people, but also the objects on them, are changed, refined, unrealistic… that the results are often not even close to the truth. Are we still talking about commercials or, God forbid, conscious deception?
Trust is hard to build and gain but is very easy to lose, and that is exactly one of the leading reasons for aversion to advertisements that we know and have been using for decades. At the same time, it is an opportunity for marketing, i.e. content marketing, to shine and work in full swing. Of course, if you know how to do it…
Sales or Marketing in Practice
Our experience – and we believe yours, too – says and shows that we are in a phase of simultaneous aversion to advertising and sales as such and the expansion of content marketing. And that we are very close to the limit that what we do gets ‘bored’ of the people we address: our target group, buyer persons, our customers, and service users.
Because, truth be told, just because you know content marketing works or you built a website that catches the eyes of visitors (for which it is not even necessary to hire a programmer) does not mean you all do it well. And all this expansion in content creation fills the already crowded Internet space with everything that already exists and does not solve (or at least not completely) what it is supposed to solve. And what is – in the case of the king of all marketing – meeting the needs of the people we address.
To illustrate through a tangible example:
- Sales: An advertisement for Gillette that invites users to try Gillette for free, they just need to pay for shipping.
- Marketing: An advertisement for Dollar Shave Club that invites users to get a personalized, high-quality grooming routine tailored to each user.
And this is exactly the reason why Dollar Shave Club ate a huge part of the cake in the industry in which Gillette is trying to maintain the first place. People have been fed up with commercials. They want action, they want courtship, pressing the right buttons, hitting a target. Find both ads on the Internet and see how they differ visually and what we are talking about.
Satisfying Your Needs
Putting sales ahead of everything else, like the first, main, and leading goal makes our message and what we want to sell sound and look – well, desperate. And that, honestly, can also be seen in the rhetoric that is commonly used in advertisements: superlatives, stressing features instead of benefits to the end-user or customer, etc. In all this, the average viewer, reader, consumer of content rightly asks “And where am I here? What do I get out of it?”
Selling food, for example, as a guilt-free pleasure is not a benefit, moreover, it is just a sign that someone who does not really know that food and the feeling of shame should not be put on the same level has joined the campaign.
Advertising loans as a solution for buying toys for grandchildren is not a benefit but an incentive to ‘bury’ ourselves in another debt. In our opinion, all of these are research and realized ideas partially done, aiming to sell in the first place, instead of paying attention to the target group, their wishes, and needs.
We’ll Tell You a Nice Story…
We are sure you know at least one person we are about to describe. And the point here is not in a specific industry, but in people with an incredible sense of sales that exist in every niche.
Imagine a saleswoman in a men’s clothing boutique, who has a clientele that comes to her from the country and abroad. She is not a trained salesperson, she sells it by feeling and listening for what their customers need. Just like it is done in marketing today.
The bosses and shop owners of such people say that they can sell steak to vegetarians, which is the equivalent of a good – no, a great salesperson. It happens to them regularly that they manage to sell the most expensive pieces of clothing when it is not their season or to double the sales in the outlet store for the time they spend as a replacement there, that the buyer comes out of a store with more things than he even planned to buy.
And how do they do it? Well, doing exactly what marketers do today – listening to people, to what they say, taking an interest in their needs, finding what they want, not only what they need. And never offering things just for the sake of selling, but because they think they need it and that is what they want.
Buyers often come with preconceived notions to buy something just to be denied by knowing that their style or cut does not suit them. A good salesman would then offer something else, advise differently, explain what they get if they follow the advice, and always leave the final decision to them.
Transferring to today and what we all do, and by listening to Seth Godin, we can achieve results in exactly the same way: by listening carefully, in detail, to what your customers are looking for and wanting and responding to it in a way that meets their needs, provides value, and maybe even gives more than what they thought they were getting.
Does This Method Work?
Of course, it does. A good part of the work of digital agencies functions according to this principle. Some of the services they offer are not advertised but presented through content marketing and giving value to the people they address. SEO Copywriting training, for example, mentoring program, consulting, and everything they do through social media. Their plan consists of only two steps:
- giving value first
- looking for something in return afterward
And that is it. That is the whole logic of the sales or marketing story. No tricks or secrets. Give (value) to get (value). As your target group teaches you what they want and need, you teach them that it is you who can, wants, and is willing to deliver what they want. And once they understand and learn that, guess who they will turn to when they decide to buy or use something from the niche you come from?
We started with statistics, it seems right to finish with it. One study, among other things, says that:
- 51% of customers search Google before making a purchase decision
- An estimated loss of revenue due to ad blockers was estimated at $ 2.12 billion
These two data alone are enough to convince you all that sales as we know them are experiencing changes and that they need to be accepted in order to remain relevant and competitive in a market that changes daily.
Do you want to regain faith in your brand, product, service… most importantly – in you? Put the customer back where he needs to be – in the first place.