Reviving media’s importance in a company’s marketing strategy only requires a slight shift in the content creator’s thinking. But for most, it is seismic. This has provided an opening many companies, agencies, and freelancers are filling. Simply stated, this opportunity resides in content associated with each stage of the Purchase Funnel. Delivered across platforms.
The often discussed, fall of traditional media advertising is really due to its focus on being great at establishing “Awareness” instead of being a solution for a client’s other purchase funnel needs. “Awareness” is so soft, grey, and optimistic. As a result, whatever platform delivers it, faces escalating, if not insane, amounts of top of the funnel competition.
“Purchase,” as the result of steps like the generation of SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), is clear. Media companies traditionally don’t play below “awareness” choosing to sell content sponsorship opportunities that are associative instead of direct. The result is a company that sells plastic straws sponsors an article on saving the environment. A coal company sponsors content about American jobs.
Media companies have a library of historic content and a machine for creating a consistent stream of fresh content. By repositioning historic articles, aligning sponsors with existing content so they are the “action-step,” and creating messaging aligned with the research phase, peer opinion, consideration and purchase a media company’s role is no longer soft, grey and optimistic. It is a partnership vital to the success of a client company.
This tightly paired relationship doesn’t need to end with the purchase. The media company can then identify and provide a platform for the client’s newly created Brand Ambassadors. This keeps the relationship in constant motion with an exponentially growing value to both companies.
Let’s contrast this thinking with the reality of how so many approach it today. A media company sells access to its audience (print, digital, social media, data, event attendance, etc.) and then takes no more responsibility beyond the introduction. This means, once an advertiser has been introduced to a high enough portion of the media company’s audience, it could scale out of it. Seek new ponds. Yes, there is reason for consistent messaging but with new technologies and platforms, an advertiser can do that part on their own. What they cannot do is be a trusted 3rd party, providing content linked to potential customer needs, when they want and need it.
Pushback from a traditional media company follows that this approach destroys their position as “a trusted 3rd party” resource by aligning content so closely to purchase action. Really? The content doesn’t have to be compromised, it only needs to align with Purchase Funnel needs. By doing so, its value goes up instead of competing with the noise of commodity-like, pleasant introductory content. The new Mac is coming out. Everyone is writing about it. As a potential purchaser of the new Mac wouldn’t you like to have multiple articles regarding the Mac that stacks it against the competition, provides experienced user insights, explores key elements like design and user experience, and, yes, makes the path-to-purchase effortless. Then, if you believe it is an amazing computer, you become a Brand Ambassador for the product. If this content is marked as “Sponsored Content” will it lessen the value of the host media brand? Research proves this isn’t the case at all. In fact, sponsored content has very high trust and readership rates. “Native content” has grown in spending over 3 years from $7.9 Billion to an estimated $21 (Source: Internet Advertising Bureau).
Influencer spending is at record highs and has become a sexy marketing approach. Companies are paying influencers for a hash-tag and a link. A hash-tag. Why? Because their followers trust them and this link to purchase is an endorsement to do business with the associated company. They have become their own media companies.
Now is the most powerful, successful time in media, if you want it. Everything we know and learned can be applied to companies’ plans to create inseparable relationships. What a better time to live than just selling a far forward, right-hand page and a handshake.