Content Marketing is a pretty fluid term. It gets bantered about amongst CEOs and marketing professionals on a regular basis. Despite what many might think, Content Marketing is actually pretty difficult. To understand why, we need to take a trip to the past.
When Mad Men (no, not the TV show, the actual professionals) came on the scene it was a very different world. For years, they needed but a few words and a picture to get a message across. At times, that small idea was the only marketing you'd see from a brand for years. In 1988, a marketing agency came up with three little words that changed a brand forever, "JUST DO IT". Nike has carried those words with them until this very day. The slogan was accompanied by images that built motivation. Rarely, was there anything other than the slogan, the NIKE name and a swoosh in print.
Fast Forward to Today
Your business has a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, website, blog; the list goes on and on. That's all on top of the traditional means of print and radio that the Mad Men had to work with. TV can also be added to top off this list as well. Can you imagine, posting "JUST DO IT" on every digital post? There in lies the rub.
In today's market, JUST DO IT is presented as #justdoit, and if presented now, it might last a full business quarter [if lucky]. In 2014, Nike has #justdoit #NeverFinished #champ #riskeverything #NikeFree, amongst others. In the 60's, 70's, 80's, and even 90's, if you had asked Mad Men to come up with all those slogans in a single calendar year, as well as different visuals on a regular basis, AND content; they would have started building a new office tower. All that work would have cost millions of dollars.
Just Do It
The marketing business has been stripped by young hot shots with big promises, and big dreams of being the next Wieden+Kennedy. W+K was the agency that came up with JUST DO IT. The problem with dreaming such dreams is that the market is completely different now. There's no more JUST DO IT ideas. Think of the Oreo promotion in 2014; they lasted all of a few weeks, and carried huge price tags. There's a lot more work involved. It's not complicated to be sure; there's a formula. But, creativity is unbelievably important, and creativity is complicated.
If you've ever met a writer, or anyone in charge of implementing their creative vision, you know it's a fickle bunch. Creativity only flows when nothing else is pressing on the mind. That's why Content Marketing is a tough game, and it's always best to have people on top of the work that aren't wrapped up in your sales, your operations, your service department, etc.
Today, there is no JUST DO IT, only #justdoit, and that comes with a lot more weight than it used to. So, before you start pushing out content, think about it for awhile. You need a plan; without, you won't be able to do much of anything.
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Jay Hall - Chief Strategist