What’s the difference between content marketing and traditional marketing?

In the last few years, content marketing has dramatically changed the structure of marketing campaigns all over the world. But still, many don’t actually know what it is, how it works, or how it differs from traditional marketing.

You may have noticed, many businesses have attempted to use content platforms like social media to blast messages in the same way they would a radio advertisement or a billboard ad.

Unfortunately, the same rules do not apply in the content marketing world as they do in traditional advertising, and lots of business-to-customer (B2C) companies are wondering why they aren’t getting any results for their efforts.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between traditional marketing and content marketing: 

Proclaiming vs demonstrating brand values and expertise

Traditional marketing lends itself to proclamations. Taglines and advertising campaigns trying to convey a message in five seconds are an example of a business talking the talk.

But with the constantly connected consumer having instantaneous access to international shopping, online reviews, and historical news, businesses are expected to walk the walk too.

This is where content marketing comes into play.

Content marketing is about producing content in the online sphere that demonstrates those proclamations that traditional advertising just doesn’t have the time to do.

Fitness brand, Lorna Jane, for example, back up their ‘Move, nourish, believe” tagline with content that supports a healthy lifestyle. The content they provide is useful and adds value to their consumers’ lives by offering exercise tips, healthy recipes, and demonstrations of their products. Lorna Jane is effectively using content to show people their expertise. 

ALSO READ: Digital marketing tips: What’s holding your business back online?

One night stand vs a committed relationship

Traditional marketing aims for impact and a quick sale, which is why so many businesses fail using the same method in the online sphere where customer perception is based on long-term trust.

One night stands are often exciting, but they’re generally based on superficial qualities any good advertiser can create. As a content marketer, you need to keep in mind, the constantly connected consumer wants a relationship based on expertise and honesty. These are the customers that refer you to friends and keep coming back for repeat purchases.

Social media and content production are about building these relationships. While ads can often inspire a purchase, content marketing will nurture the customer before, during, and after the sale in order to make the relationship last. 

Broadcasting vs targeting a niche audience

Connecting with the right people at the right time in the right way with the right message is what content marketing is all about. When planning a TV or radio ad it is broadcast to a very wide selection of people and therefore has to appeal to as general an audience as possible. It is virtually impossible to target traditional advertising to a specific group of people, not to mention, it’s also financially impractical.

With content marketing, you can create different pieces to satisfy the needs and add value to the lives of all the different people in your target market segments.

Due to the dramatically lower cost of producing content compared to producing an advertisement, we can create content in multiple formats to distribute on multiple platforms to get the best response.

The way the marketer wins is by offering consumers information that adds value to their life, at that time, on the platform they are using. 

Guessing vs measuring ROI

One thing most business owners and managers want to hear is their return on advertising investment. With the costs of many traditional advertising mediums soaring and the results of your efforts almost immeasurable, it is no surprise that content marketing again is a more favourable option.

Almost every online marketing effort is measurable from the number of hits on your website pages to the number of interactions on a social media post. 

When you pay $10,000 for a television advertisement that may or may not have reached your target market and may or may not have resulted in sales, you may want to consider different options. 

So does this mean we abandon traditional marketing all together?

There is a lot of evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of content marketing in the world dominated by the constantly connected consumer; and for B2C companies especially, it would be detrimental to leave it out in your marketing strategy.

But that doesn’t mean you have to use it exclusively. There is lots of evidence to suggest using traditional marketing to create general awareness of your brand when customers aren’t looking to buy, and nurturing the relationship using content for when they are.

Harnessing content marketing is integral, because rest assured if you are absent from the online world, your competitors will fill the void with their own voice.

About the author:

Amy Miocevich is the owner and founder of Montie and Lumos Marketing. She’s a Content Marketing consultant and loves working closely with small businesses to help make their marketing strategies more efficient. 




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