December 09, 2013

Ad Execs Continue to Embrace Content Marketing

A survey of more than 200 marketers across all industries indicated that in 2013, businesses spent 37 percent of their advertising budgets on endeavors related to content marketing. Branded content, the marketers agreed, is more important than traditional advertising methods.

The goal of these marketers, according to survey results, is to educate their customers. Nearly half of respondents indicated that their organization’s primary goal behind content marketing was education, while an additional 29 percent of respondents indicated it was a secondary goal.

The numbers tell the story: Content marketing is all about establishing and fostering a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between a company and its customers. Companies that employ successful content marketing tactics embark on a back-and-forth engaging relationship with their customers. These companies hold their interest, prompting customers to actively seek out their content for both educational and entertainment purposes.

While one of the major benefits of content marketing is building these kinds of relationships, the marketing strategy’s biggest benefit is perhaps its ability to help companies generate additional revenue. When done successfully, content marketing will drive more traffic to your website and social media channels, meaning more eyeballs will be exposed to your company and its mission, and most importantly, its products. An effective strategy will establish a company as a thought leader, building trust and inspiring loyal customers to ultimately evangelize on your company’s behalf.  

One such company that recently embarked upon a unique and successful content marketing campaign is McDonald’s Canada. Let’s take a look at their innovative strategy.

McDonald’s Canada Showcases Successful Content Marketing Campaign

Successful content marketing is all about being different. It’s about providing transparency and giving customers the answers to the questions they have. One recent example of innovative content marketing can be found north of the border in Canada. In 2012, McDonald’s Canada launched a new program called “Our Food, Your Questions.” The program enabled customers to log onto the fast food restaurant’s website and ask any questions they wanted about the company’s food, so long as they connected to the site via Facebook or Twitter. McDonald’s received tens of thousands of questions, not all of which were flattering. But rather than distance themselves from such questions, the restaurant chain confronted all of them head-on, like so:

Question: When you say 100% beef, do you mean the whole cow: the organs, snout, brain, kidneys, etc. or just the plain beef we buy at the grocer? –Jani S., Nova Scotia

Answer: Hi Jani. We wouldn’t call it plain beef, but it sure is beef. We only use meat cut from the shoulder, chuck, brisket, rib eye, loin and round. In fact, our beef supplier is Cargill, a name you might recognize. They’re the biggest supplier of beef in Canada.

Whereas companies in the past might have tried to distance themselves as much as possible from such a question, McDonald’s chose to instead be transparent and educational. The company went further, promoting its content marketing program via print, radio and television advertisements, bringing even more eyeballs to their website. When you think about it, how many companies can you ask any question to and get a direct, honest response from?

Every business has a story to tell, and customers are curious about what that story entails. So think outside the box. Be authentic. Help your customers grow.

You’ll likely find your revenue streams will grow as well. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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