There's very little doubt that recent economic hard times have changed the way we think about the what, where and how, of spending. Even if we were not personally hard hit by the recent world economy crisis, we have become more cautious and less likely to believe any marketing pitch we hear.
The most sought after status symbol today may indeed be that of the thrifty and well informed shopper and not that of fancy car and big home owner. The decades of acquired policies and procedures companies have amassed for selling and marketing may now be obsolete.
Obviously, people still do buy, but nowadays they want to make that decision themselves. More today than before, people are asking what they really need and don't need. If they don't need it, you won't get very far even with all the marketing in the world, but if they do need it, they'll still beat a path to your door if they value you. A recent post at MarketingProfs again and rightfully so made the point that business needs to shift focus from telling people what they want to helping people find what they need.
The trusted advisor beats the sales pitch
Even if your company was born yesterday, you almost certainly have a wealth of information resources at your fingertips. From your in-house product knowledge to that of your suppliers and partners, consider just how much you have to offer as an information source and advisor for potential customers.
If there is one unique thing you have to offer it is your insight and experience of your staff. Distilling this via online through a blog and promoting it via social media such as Twitter and Facebook will establish you as a trusted advisor and bring people to your door a lot more effectively than a heavy sales pitch will. That is in the end what content marketing is all about.
Where's your potential niche as an advisor? What do you have to offer your prospects? When do they want it? And how can you engage them with information, tips, knowledge and plain old fun content? It's nothing new for a food company to offer recipes for their products, but that can be taken a lot further. Perhaps offer a menu plan tool which allows people to create one on the fly by calculating everything from family age range, to calories to time to prepare and even special allergy alerts and so on.
How can your business help: mutual benefit
The content, human resources and insights you can 'provide' to your prospects and customers depends on one thing only: using your imagination to find new ways to present your content in a user friendly and valuable context. The technology is there. Find the content, create new content and use the proper channels. These channels include people as well: your employees, amongst others.
So maybe the place to start is by asking yourself and your staff what you have to offer. More importantly, the question to really ask is: "how can we help"?
That may be one of the most powerful sentences in any language - it's hard to view this offer as a negative. By asking this and then providing valuable and timely assistance, you are establishing a relationship based on the best and most stable of foundations: mutual benefit.
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