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Idea: Be a Marketer Who Uses Content, Not a Content Marketer

Recently, I met with a group of marketers whose brand faces some complex and daunting challenges in reaching a particular market segment. During the discussion, one of the participants said, “As a social media marketer, I’m concerned with measurement.” His comment jolted me for a couple of reasons: (1) Measurement is a concern far more universal than social media, and (2) it made me think of all the email pitches you and I receive every day.

You know the ones: They start out, “Dear John, as a …” followed by an ever-changing parade of terms the sender believes describe us: “content marketer,” “digital marketer,” “email marketer,” “social media marketer,” and on and on.

The problem is, I’m none of those. I’m a marketer.

I’m a marketer who uses content. I’m a marketer who uses digital media and social channels and print and video. I’m a marketer who, depending on the challenge and the objective, will use any tool available to help other marketers build and maintain long-term relationships with their customers, members, patients, supporters, etc.

When you begin to think of yourself as a “social media marketer” or an “email marketer” (to pick the medium I’m using now to send this to you), you fall into the trap of “I’ve got a hammer, so all problems look like nails.”

Or, worse, it’s a hammer for tacking titles or labels on your customers rather than focusing on their problems or challenges and describing how your service or product can help them reach goals or achieve desired outcomes.

Hammers are great tools. And you should learn to use one to drive nails powerfully and straight. But it’s better to be a cabinetmaker who recognizes that success is a beautiful piece of furniture, than a guy with a hammer who measures success by how many nails are used.

Bottom line: Don’t be a content marketer; be a marketer who is obsessed with serving your customers or members. Then use content (and other tools) to accomplish that.





John Lavey President & COO

(Photo: Thinkstock.com)

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