We founded Mamu Media in 2012 in response to an unmet market need. At the time it seemed that too many companies were putting too much of their energy into generating and disseminating content just for the sake of content. They weren’t trying to meet the specific needs of their clients. Instead, they were using a scattershot approach: they threw a whole bunch of content (in different formats) out into the world and hoped that some of it connected with potential clients or customers well enough to lure them in.
Seven years later (which is a lifetime in the fast-paced worlds of marketing and media), I’m sorry to report that things haven’t changed very much. Too many organizations are still spending a lot of their resources just spreading generic content everywhere they can and hoping that some of it—any of it—will stick somewhere.
“What’s the harm in this approach if the company can afford it?” you might ask. That’s a good question. On the surface, it should be no big deal if an organization has a huge marketing budget and wants to blow it all on widely distributed, generic marketing materials. After all, even a minuscule response rate is a good thing, right? Wrong.
The obvious drawback to this approach is that it’s hard to connect with the target audience. The signal-to-noise ratio is already pretty low these days. Think about how many marketing and outreach materials come your way each day. You probably encounter most of them online (via e-mail spam and site ads), but they also appear in your USPS mailbox, and reach you through billboards and radio and television ads. But how many of them do you actually notice? If you’re like most people today, you probably pay very little attention to them. We are all drowning in media and ads—and we’ve all learned how to tune out things that don’t seem relevant to us. In short, a decent chunk of the impersonal marketing out there today is a waste of money.
Also, this approach can dilute an organization’s brand to the point that it actually does harm to it. When a company’s outreach seems haphazard or sloppy rather than deliberate and focused, that can leave its targets feeling that they’ve wasted their time giving it any attention, because it doesn’t address their needs or interests. It doesn’t feel like that company actually cares about them specifically. So they ignore the message—and maybe even feel less inclined than before to invest any time in that organization and its products or services.
Most significantly, though, when companies rely primarily on generic content in their marketing, they are missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with their targets. Content that is tailored to someone’s needs or interests will attract (and keep) his or her attention because it is personally relevant to that individual. When done right, content and relationships are symbiotic: content helps drive relationship-building, and relationships help drive content-creation.
Want to get a foot in the door with potential clients or grow closer to current customers? Give them marketing content that stands out from the rest. Through branded or custom content, you can show them that you understand their unique needs—and that you are capable of helping them reach their goals.
Content is key to making a connection, and making a connection is the first step toward building a relationship. And relationships—particularly strong ones that drive repeat business, result in referrals, and reinforce the organization’s positive branding—are the foundation of a successful company.