Content Marketing - Why it's important for retailers to go all in
Updated: Oct 18, 2018
In an earlier blog post, I stated that customers are craving convenience and are flocking to retailers who add value to their shopping journey. What is value? Price? Discounts? Free shipping? While those are all part of the value equation, adding value is about really solving your customers’ problems, not just selling items at the lowest price.
Consumers are savvier than ever before and literally have the world at their fingertips. They can get the answer to any question whenever and wherever they need it. This is where content marketing comes it. A sound content marketing strategy can help retailers establish themselves as experts and steer customers along the path to purchase.
What is content marketing?
The key with content marketing is that it needs to be:
Designed with a clearly defined customer target in mind
What content is NOT is coupons, promotions or blatant advertising. It's not a BOGO offer or loyalty program. It is information that is valuable to your target
consumer, and it doesn't even have to be about your product. It's about solving a customer
Content marketing, while a buzzword for sure, is not new. From the early 20th century, brands were providing relevant and valuable content to their define audience – from Jello’s first cookbook to the advent of the soap opera to branded magazines in the 1960s-1990s. But content marketing has evolved. Content is being shared digitally and consumed faster than ever.
Brands are focusing considerable resources on content and for good reason. And that is because content delivers results.
What is the best way for a retailer to leverage content to position themselves as an expert?
Retailers of all sizes can create and deploy a series of content that is valuable & relevant to a defined audience. Creative and beautiful content is nice, but won’t move the needle. There must be a strategy in place with the end goal of profitable customer action.
But the first question you need to ask yourself is whose problems am I trying to solve? If a retailer tries to be everything to everybody, that’s a recipe for disaster. A strategic content plan is very targeted, not designed for broad swaths of demographic buckets. Just targeting millennials or baby boomers won’t cut it. Retailers must know their customers and not just their shopping patterns and share of wallet. Think of hopes and dreams, challenges and concerns, what keeps people up at night. This persona is a representation of the goal customer to be acquired and/or retained.
Who is doing it well?
Here are a few of my favorite retailers who have mastered the art of content - creating content that is valuable and relevant for their customer base.
Glossier – hot beauty brand has double-downed on content. From their blog, to Facebook tutorials and video series “Get Ready with Me”, Glossier has become a trusted adviser for many beautyphiles (not really a word, but go with it). What's telling is that all of their content isn't directly about their products - a recent blog post was titled "Getting Over a Breakup, Faster". But the message is valuable and relevant to their customer base.
Ikea – while you might need to assemble your own furniture, Ikea’s content is put together in a way that really connects with the customer. Their blog is updated almost daily and provides inspiration and tutorials on home décor and design. Digging the eternal rose garden room they featured this week.
Lowe’s – In addition to their blog, which is chock full of DIY inspiration, Lowe’s has gone big into video. “The Weekender” is a reality show featuring home renovations which can be completed in a weekend. Due to the success of the content, the show is in its third season.
Overall, content marketing can pay dividends for retailers. Customers want it, brands are doing it and the ROI is there. What retailers have been knocking it out of the park with their content strategy?