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Content Marketing for the Customer-Focused Marketer

by Donna Pahel  |  
March 20, 2014

Recently, I was sharing notes with a fellow marketer who thought he was doing his customers a favor by not participating in the "digital hoopla" surrounding today's personalized marketing strategies. The reasoning, he said, was because the company felt doing so was averse to respecting customers' privacy.

There's a fine line between catering to consumers and being mindful of their privacy. In today's world, the connected consumer expects to be catered to throughout the purchase cycle—from the pre-shopping and planning phases straight through to the transactional and post-sale stage. Consumers' lifestyles and emotions are associated with how they make purchases, and consumers want to fully realize the self-actualization connected to the purchase cycle.

What I ended up telling this particular marketer (and what I've been telling our own customers) is that not participating in the "digital hoopla" is a very dangerous mindset—one that will eventually cost them to fall completely out of a customer's consideration set.

In our digital landscape, customers have infinite choices available to them. Brands must make sure they have strong presence and deliver consistent value propositions, so that their customers can make educated decisions about what they're purchasing—when and where they want to purchase.

Technology has brought us the incredible ability to provide personalized context and content to customers as they make their way through the purchase cycle. So, you must be sure you're making yourself present in that decision set when and where customers are trying to do their pre-shop research or when they're ready to transact.

For example, many goods and services could be considered simple commodities to customers. So, how we, as marketers, cut through the noise and clutter to deliver a relevant and meaningful value proposition to customers on a personal level can be the difference of whether a customer transacts.

The Right Context for Your Customers

Delivering the right context is a huge part of content marketing; otherwise, we're dealing with pure commodities. The question I always ask is, "Is your product just toilet paper? Or can you elevate your product or service to the Charmin level, so customers understand the inherent and collective value proposition of your particular product or service versus all other options?"

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Donna Pahel is director of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Strategy at EPiServer.

Twitter: @hapagirlpgh

LinkedIn: Donna Pahel

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  • by Naomi@Business Start Ups Fri Mar 21, 2014 via web

    Hi Donna,

    What you said here... "What I ended up telling this particular marketer (and what I've been telling our own customers) is that not participating in the "digital hoopla" is a very dangerous mindset".

    I think this was great advice. I think a lot of businesses do what they 'think' their customers want rather than actually finding out through research and testing. I've made this mistake too by making decision based on what I would prefer rather than listening to the customer.

    Did they take your advice? If so, I would love to know what happened?


  • by Donna Pahel @hapagirlpgh Tue Apr 1, 2014 via web

    Hi, Naomi.

    Thanks for your comments.

    When we're steeped in our Customers' POV as marketers and brand drivers, we make decisions that directly impact the customers' needs and expectations in a meaningful and effective way. Our ability to do this well will ensure that we have an opportunity to participate and be present in the customers' consideration set. Taking this leap from our own business objectives to a focus on the Customer POV requires an every day conscious practice of it -- we must subscribe to it from both a strategic and tactical sense. It's easy to fall off and revert when the going gets tough, but a steady course from their POV is a sustainable and scalable approach with huge payoffs. The connected consumer is easily our biggest brand advocates... or adversaries --%3E happy customers = increased revenue. When brands embrace and empower their customers in that way, they thrive.


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