Does content marketing need to evolve so it doesn’t go the way of the humble pager?

We marketers talk about content and storytelling a lot, but we may have taken our eyes off the most important thing of all: what our customers think.

A couple of weeks ago an article on LinkedIn piqued my interest. In 'Is Trust the New Currency?', Microsoft’s Geoffrey Colon tears into the marketing and advertising industry’s current obsession with content and storytelling.  

As someone who takes creating content and ‘telling stories’ pretty seriously, it was a pretty damning indictment of my whole marketing strategy. 

According to Geoffrey: 

Content is simply one of many mediums to convey the real currency in which we all aspire to obtain: TRUST.

The crux of the article is based around the idea that companies have become so focused on creating content and storytelling that they’ve stopped listening to their customers.  

 

Just about every marketer worth their salt will be working to some kind of content strategy today.

Whilst there’s no doubting the benefits of great content (sorry Geoff, but I’m not chucking away the marketing plan just yet!), those companies that only communicate outwards (storytelling) and not inwards (listening) will never fully obtain their customers’ trust. 

Geoffrey again: 

Trust is built on listening, talking, listening again. It's also built on admitting where your weaknesses are as much as your strengths.

At this point, you may be catching on to the pager analogy and the fact that one-way communication is only ever going to last so long before people want to be able to respond and get their own opinion across.  

It’s a fairly crude analogy, but something the world’s biggest brands are waking up to. The idea of listening (and really listening, not just providing lip service) can be vital to ensure you stay ahead of the competition. 

Whether developing great products, providing awesome services or creating the next Facebook, if you’re not focusing on what your customer (client, partner, user) wants then eventually you’ll be left behind. 

  

At SaleCycle, we’re trying our best to incorporate the voice of our customer by asking our customers what we do well and even more importantly, what we don’t.

It’s then the job of our product team to act on the less positive feedback and ensure we’re focusing our efforts in the direction our clients need and want us to (no pressure guys)

Focus is everything in great businesses, and there is no doubting the importance that customers can have in helping a company to find that focus. 

I’ll leave you with three brands that have embraced this and put the customer at the heart of their product and service. 

BT & social listening 

British Telecom was the official communications services provider at the London 2012 Olympics tasked with making it ‘the most connected Games ever’.  

Having constructed the world’s largest high density WiFi network with nearly 1,000 access points, BT monitored live customer feedback on Twitter to quickly respond to any breakages and despatch service teams straight to problem areas as customers declared them.  

Whilst ‘negative’ feedback on Twitter can often be viewed as purely that, BT were able to turn it on its head and make the customer a core part of how it improved its service and connected London 2012 to the world.   

LEGO & customer ideas 

Jurassic Park LEGO  

Now the world’s biggest brand, a big part of LEGO’s dramatic upturn was reconnecting with its huge fan base by putting them at the heart of product development.  

As well as hiring a number of fans as designers, they created the LEGO Ideas Platform allows fans to propose their own ideas for new products.  

If an idea receives support from 10,000 members of the online community, the company reviews the concept with a chance the design will be translated into a real LEGO product (the Jurassic Park set is already on my Christmas list, make it happen guys!)

DEWALT & customer testing

Power tools company DEWALT has the strapline ‘guaranteed tough’, taking great pride in making products capable of handling any job.   

They acknowledge that there’s nobody better than their own customers to actually test whether a product is ready for the market and so send new products to a set of customer advocates that are told to do what they can to ‘break it, before we sell it’. 

The result is fully road-tested products they can sell with confidence knowing they have the seal of approval from the most important people of all, their customers. 

Chris Sheen

Published 7 May, 2015 by Chris Sheen

Chris Sheen is Head of Marketing at SaleCycle and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Chris on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

4 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Glenn Orchard, Trading & CRM Director at Photobox

great post Chris, thanks Maxwell

almost 3 years ago

Chris Sheen

Chris Sheen, CMO at SaleCycle

Thanks Glenn - Much appreciated.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Katie W, Social Media Specialist at Email Campaigns

More than ever it has become increasingly important to generate conversations with your current, past and potential customers - instead of simply generating content for them to digest. Having conversations with your target audience builds trust. And the more your audience trusts you and your brand, the more likely they’ll buy from you. Listening and responding to both positive and negative reviews shows that your company cares about their customers and is willing to make changes to satisfy their needs. Not to mention, it’s also a great way to provide excellent customer service. Great read!

almost 3 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.