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August 21, 2013

When Content Marketing lost its Edge, You Need Something Better

by Tom De Baere

keep-calm-and-find-your-square-rootThere are only so many ways to design an email. So many ways to optimize a landing page. So many tactics to exploit and improve conversion.

Books and blogs each day full of teaching, learn us how to create content. It seems everyone discovered the holy grail which is called content. And thy shall promote aggressively: a zillion of tips-n-trick to ‘aggressively promote’ and ‘amplify on social’ are available behind your mother of content search Google.

What’s the square root of epic content?

We are urged to create ever more epic and great content to break through the conversation clutter. You need to be different, original, creative. And, from now on until eternity, you’ll need to keep ‘up’ that level of excellence.

Going that direction to me is choosing the direction of being amazing, and extraordinary. It is equally difficult to accomplish, and not something every company can pull off. Telling someone to be amazing is like telling someone to make a viral video. There’s no such thing as a “viral video”.

The marketing of “be amazing”

“The marketing of ‘be amazing’ is the marketing of the swing-for-the-fences home run hitter. There are two by-products of that approach: an occasional home run, and many strikeouts” (quote from Jay Baer)

Every time you go for amazing, you will be watching the needle. Will it be shared? Will it go viral? Is that what you think you can accomplish as a company?

Only a few companies out there can do this consistently.

Another type of marketing

Another direction, easier to accomplish, is by being useful. If you think this is the same old marketing of “being useful”, then I’ve lost you in this blog post. Keep on reading, and allow me to explain.

This type of marketing goes beyond the logical content creation to influence conversion, and suck people into “the funnel”. It exists when companies want to be really useful to their customers:

  • be useful in your customer services, beyond what you can expect from customer service
  • be useful in your marketing, beyond what would be expected from marketing
  • be useful in as a brand, beyond what customers would expect you to do

Going beyond the usual, isn’t amazing marketing. It’s the most natural way and efficient way of differentiating yourself.

To me this type of marketing is above content. Content is something that people can consume, it influences people, and make people yearn for more. This type of marketing excels the written word. It excels the format of video, photo’s, white-papers, ebooks, webinars and slideshows.

This type of marketing makes sense in the business environment of your customers. It makes sense to the lives of the people behind your customers. It genuinely endeavors to make their lives easier:

  • it could be a technical calculator he/she could use to help him with a regular task
  • it could be physical service you are offering when he/she needs it, but beyond your normal services
  • or a smartphone app that enhances the experience when you visit a location
  • it can be an online page that simulates business or technical applications, and gives advice on how to optimize
  • it can be a product selection tool that go beyond your own portfolio of products
  • giving technical or strategy advice that go beyond your own products, but within the scope of interest of your customers.

‘Beyond usual’ – driving your business, without ‘the amazing’

Conversion in essence is driven by what you mean for your customers. I believe it is more efficient to be meaningful to customers. That type of marketing is far more effective than optimizing your conversion using the classic tricks of image placement, word choice and lead nurturing techniques.

When it comes to buying conversion, these types of optimization don’t cut it.

It’s far more beneficial to a business to develop meaningful marketing, rather than spending your time on optimizing things which can only be optimized only a little.


Don’t spend your time creating the most epic content.

Don’t spend your time optimizing conversion.

There’s nothing more rewarding for your business than being meaningful to your customers, and to your customers’ business.


Thank your for reading this far. Please share this post if you liked it.


Warm regards,

Tom De Baere