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Idea: Don’t Obsess Over Content Marketing Methods

Obsess Over Fulfilling Your Brand Promise and Organization’s Mission

By Rex Hammock

I’m honored when people call Hammock Inc. one of the agencies that pioneered content marketing. (This month marks our 23rd anniversary.) However, I’ve always felt the term “content marketing” can be confusing when it’s applied to everything from blogging and social media to animated kitten GIFs. Unfortunately, when a term is used to label anything, it can start to mean very little.

Even more troubling is the current trend of marketers obsessing over the tactics and methods of content marketing, rather than what is more important. Recently, when talking with a group of corporate brand managers about content marketing, they focused their questions on such challenges as finding infographic artists, influential bloggers and viral videos.

Right after the self-serving plug—”hire us, and work with our network of talented content creators”—I explained our belief at Hammock that customers don’t actually want content, they want help. They want companies, organizations and brands to help them be smarter, cooler, more successful or more popular.

Understanding what customers want to be, do or accomplish is the most important job of marketers—not looking for infographic artists. Understanding what keeps customers up at night is what our obsession should be. Using content, or any other form of marketing, to provide the help customers need to fulfill their desires and solve their problems is what leads to long and productive relationships with customers.

Obsessing over content tactics can be overwhelming. Even I felt overwhelmed recently when I first saw this massive “Periodic Chart of Content Marketing” produced by Econsultancy.com. While trying to organize the elements of content marketing graphically, the chart’s creators demonstrate what’s wrong when you obsess over the tactics of content marketing, rather than the needs of customers.


(Click to link to a larger view.)

I am struck with the chart’s focus on tactics and metrics that have little to do with actually selling products or serving customers. It’s as if they’re suggesting that all of these incredible means of human expression and access to remarkable channels of communication are best used to generate website traffic or earn “likes.” Instead, these means and access would be better used to add value to products, earn trust or make the customer awesome. Oh, and don’t forget to generate revenues.

Successful marketing is about serving customers. Focus on that first, and you’ll discover a successful strategy for developing and using great content that will fulfill your brand promise and your organization’s mission.


(Photo: Thinkstock)

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