Content marketing has gotten traction and it’s stealing market share from traditional advertising. Have you heard of it? This is a foreign concept for the construction industry unless your job involves marketing.
So why should you care if you distribute construction equipment, move dirt, or build towers? Because it represents a pendulum shift in the way marketing works in today’s world. Traditional advertising is taking a back seat; buyers are more sophisticated and it takes a bit more effort to earn their business.
The No Frills Definition of Content Marketing
One of the most widely accepted definitions comes from Joe Pulizzi, the pioneer of content marketing:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Don’t get too hung up on the concept itself. Like any movement with multiple parties jockeying for position, there are many interpretations and agendas. Instead I want you to focus on why content marketing is getting traction, the changing expectations of buyers, and how it applies to the construction marketplace.
A Departure from Traditional Advertising
The construction industry spent decades solely focusing on interrupting our prospects, which was the very nature of traditional advertising. We ran ad after ad, telling them them our service or product was the best.
That was fine because we were living in a world where information wasn’t as readily available as it is today. Not to mention everyone was looking at the same magazines. Today we can do a Google search and find out whether the market agrees with your assessment of your offerings before we even get a call or email from your salesperson.
What happened to traditional advertising? Perhaps buyers became numb to the number of options available and unable to distinguish between them. Or maybe we became jaded by disingenuous, and in some cases, outright false advertising. The stage was set for content marketing.
Serve Up Content to Serve Your Market
Creating valuable content is another way of serving your market. We’re going to make them pay for that information, you say? That approach worked 20 years ago, but here’s the thing. This is 2019 and your customer can find out virtually anything they want with a Google search. In fact, it’s possible there’s a YouTube video explaining how they can do the job themselves.
It’s time to start looking at creating valuable content as a way to differentiate your construction company in the marketplace by sharing your expertise. You may balk at that but what if your competition doesn’t? Might the extra points they score win them the business? Are you willing to take that risk?
Times Have Changed, So Too Must Your Marketing
The truth is that I’m not sure if the term “content marketing” will exist in 20 years, but what I do know is that the market has changed. The internet has given your customer access to that information you once jealously protected.
There are lots of folks with agendas predicting the death of (insert name here) because it serves their own personal agendas. Let me be clear that advertising always has and always will exist, although the approach might change. Content marketing and advertising will continue to coexist.
The way that your audience shops for your product or service has changed. So, too, must your strategy. Content marketing is that strategy for now.
Are you practicing content marketing? How about advertising? Why or why not?
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