Kicking off Content Marketing World in Sydney this morning Jay Baer, marketer and author of The Now Revolution, gave a really insightful keynote about how brands can use useful, helpful content to build relationships with potential customers.
Jay told a packed ballroom at the Sheraton on the Park that marketers faced a real challenge closing the “trust gap”. He quoted research that found almost half of consumers don’t trust businesses and are therefore more likely to believe negative stories.
At the same time, the purchase process is becoming more fragmented. Search engines are losing market share to social media, Q&A sites and even Apple’s Siri. Facebook newsfeeds and Twitter streams are now filled with company updates.
Jay warned his audience that this meant brands were now competing with friends and family for the attention of potential customers. To build relationships on that level, companies need to offer what Jay calls “utility”. They need to be useful and helpful.
Google’s Zero Moment of Truth showed that the number of sources of information that consumers looked at before making purchase doubled in year. According to Jay, this is not an indication that people are becoming less decisive. Rather, it’s driven by the explosion in the amount of available information.
Consumers now have access to all the information they need to make a purchase and thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, this information is available to them anytime, anywhere. So how do brands make themselves heard?
Jay identified 3 types of utility. 3 ways to provide useful, helpful content.
Self-serve utility – talking about your business in a creative and engaging way. Who you are, what you do and how you do it.
Answer every question – Jay gave a great example here of an in-ground swimming pool business in the US that created over 1,000 blog posts to answer any and all questions their customers might have. River Pools now averages 30 page views per visitor and makes 75% of its sales online.
Realtime relevancy – tapping into a specific need at a specific time in a specific place. Mobile apps that warn sports coaches of lighting storms or guide customers through the aisles of a department store. This is about creating content that is of no use most of the time, but absolutely essential in particular circumstances.