How Olympic Primetime Helps Define Content Marketing

This week, the entire world is watching the Olympics.  Here in the US, most of us are watching during prime time, along with the commercial breaks.  Similar to other popular live sports, we normally watch these sponsor ads for fear of missing Michael Phelps or Simone Biles swim and tumble their way to Olympic gold.  The formula of leveraging your attention to consume advertising has been around for a very long time.  Watching the Olympics reminds us this tactic is still in full effect. While live sports may arguably be the exception, most of these mass consumer businesses paying for these ads are actually wasting your most precious commodity, your time. 

The difference between then and now is, you have a choice.  You no longer have to miss seconds of your favorite shows.  The internet has given you the ability to cut the cable cord and watch what you want, when you want, advertisement free.  You know the apps; HBO2Go, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix, to name a few.  The question is, what are advertisers doing about this apparent drop in viewership?  We would argue, surprisingly little.  Why?  Because those same consumer based businesses which pay for those ads, still think they are working.  Eventually they will catch up to market reality.

What do these apps have in common?  They are all mobile accessible.  They go where you go.  When was the last time you traveled with your 60 inch LCD TV?  Smartphones are everywhere and they are not going away anytime soon.  If you were trying to advertise for your client, would you push TV spots or would you try to build content that can co-exist on these newer services or even social media?  That is content marketing and we believe it will continue to grow in popularity.  The really interesting thing about it is, it’s not just the creation of video for websites, Youtube or Facebook.  It's integrated content including blogs, 30-60 second Instagram clips, and 140 character limited tweets.  All of which are meant to provoke a click to engage you into the purchase of a product or service. 

Here is the catch. From a content creation point of view, it’s not as easy as it was when your entire advertisement ecosystem was through TV or radio spots.  There has been a massive paradigm shift.  Sophisticated adopters of multiple social medium require sophisticated and smarter content.  That is where value proposition, smart content and storytelling comes in to play.  The content your prospects see must be good and it must engage your viewers.  That is much more difficult to do these days. 

Consider an analogy to better explain this.  Back in the 80s, marketers could target consumers based on known demographics because of the shows they watched.  Advertisements could be an inch thick in terms of product content, and a mile deep in terms of prospects watching it.  With social media and app adoption, that formula has completely flipped.  Now content has to be a mile wide in terms of product engagement in order to reach an inch deep worth of prospective purchasers.   How do you accomplish that?  You do it through really good engaging content.  You tell stories about the companies behind the products.  You give over the top customer service and hope your customers tweet about it.  You write blogs or white papers that give real insight into industry trends.  In other words, add value to your prospective customers before you even make a sale.  Establish trust and attention to drive sales; that is content marketing.