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Brand Continuity: Are Marketing Continuity Mistakes Costing You Lead and Sales?

Brand continuity refers to a consistent brand experience across all channels and platforms. A company (or person if we are talking about personal branding) should have consistent messages and a consistent visual identity on all platforms over time. Many companies make brand continuity efforts that can negatively impact their ability to generate leads and brand loyalty.

In television or movies, a continuity error is an error in which a plot point isn’t followed through or changes. A good example of a continuity error is Star Wars. In Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia, “Leia, do you remember your mother?” and she says something inane like, “She was very beautiful – and very sad.” Yet in the next trilogy, the ones that are supposed to take place before Star Wars, we see that Padme, Leia’s mother, dies a few minutes after giving birth to Luke and Leia. Therefore, Leia cannot really remember her mother. As it was originally conceived, Padme fled with Leia to the planet Alderan to escape Anakin/Darth Vader, Leia’s father. This is an obvious continuity error.

Why Are Continuity Errors Bad?

Continuity errors are bad because they jar the viewer from the storyline and remind the viewer that they are participating in fiction. They occur in movies and television because different writers are used throughout the series.

Series are supposed to have what is called a ‘character bible’. I have one for my mystery novel series, I Believe You and I See You. It is a book in which you log all the major descriptive factors about a character as well as major life events. This ensures that when you mention the life event in different books throughout the series, it is referenced the same way. For my novels, David Majek, the central character, lost his wife to a hit and run car accident. The date, the location, and the events leading up to it are important and memorable. To ensure I always refer to it accurately, I have logged it into my character guide.

Brand Continuity Errors and the Impact on Marketing Success

So what does all of this have to do with marketing? Well, in marketing we have characters called personas. And their storyline is like a movie, book, or television show character: the hero’s journey. How you tell that story in marketing is branding. And one of the biggest mistakes that I see in marketing is the lack of brand continuity, or marketing continuity, as companies tell their story.

Companies often forget that the story centers around their customers. The story is about the customer’s hero journey, not their hero journey. They also shift their focus too much, moving from one brand point to another. Today, we’re all about diversity and equity, tomorrow about saving the environment. Today, we talk about Product X, tomorrow, Product Y.

The problem with lack of brand continuity is that less the continuity of brand messages, the more confused your customers get. If your messages and visual appearance or jumbled, inconsistent, or garbled, customers will move on rapidly to the competitors. They aren’t going to invest the mental energy into untangling your tangled branding. You must be clear and consistent to gain brand equity and mindshare.

Branding and Content Marketing Are Long-Term Strategies

Branding, and content marketing, are long term marketing strategies; by long term I mean 18 months to three years. These two tactics should be part of the marketing mix, but you must continue with them consistently for months and years. If you start, stop, or change direction, you will confuse your customers. Customers do not like to be confused. They want clarity. When your brand messages are clear, customers are clear on what you sell. Over time, this clarity builds trust, and trust builds brands.

Continuity Mistakes Make People Confused

Continuity errors in movies or television shows jar audiences out of the storyline. Instead of being immersed in the story, they are suddenly reminded that they are viewing a story. The same holds true for brand continuity mistakes. They remind people they are being marketed to, and nobody likes to be marketed to. Instead of feeling vested in the brand, they feel confused, and feeling confused is unpleasant. So they shop with a competitor who leaves them feeling good about themselves and clear on what they are buying or who they are interacting with – in other words, competitors who offer brand message clarity.

Brand Guidelines Are a Tool to Prevent Brand Continuity Errors

If your company suffers from branding continuity errors, take a cue from the world of fiction: create a ‘brand bible.’ Like the visual guidelines for a company, a branding bible spells out the audiences and messages for the brand. And while there can be theme and variation on the audience and messages, they shouldn’t vary too much. Sticking to the branding script ensures continuity, audiences following the storyline, and ultimately, memorable branding and messaging.

Don’t change brand strategy often. Develop your messages and stick with them. If you must change messages, do so with purpose, and then hold to the new messages for 18 months to three years. Other people may have different timelines, but this is the timeline I have seen work for many businesses, so I offer it to you as an example.

Be Consistent In Your Branding Efforts

Brand continuity errors and mistakes are one area I see many small and growing businesses make with their marketing. Consistency, brand reference guides, and ensuring an organization-wide commitment to branding success is the key to reducing and eliminating brand continuing mistakes.


How Can Manufacturers Leverage Content Marketing?

Manufacturers might think that content marketing only works for consumer-facing industries. The reality is that it’s effective for B-to-B brands, too. Content marketing can help manufacturers establish expertise, connect with their audience and drive conversions. Here’s a primer on how manufacturers can employ content marketing to get results.

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Use Content Marketing

  1. Deliver thought leadership: Manufacturers can elevate their brand by creating content that speaks to trends, challenges and innovations in their industry and that of their clients. Articles, whitepapers, case studies and reports are examples of this content in action. No one wants to be on the other side of a sales pitch. However, innovative thinking is usually well-received because there’s no pressure to convert.
  2.  Educate the audience: Content marketing allows you to educate your community about manufacturing process, product features, benefits and how it can serve their company. To that end, manufacturers can create how-to videos, guides and tutorials to help customers make more informed buying decisions.
  3. Showcase products and solutions: Create content that highlights your products’ features, capabilities and applications. For example, you could develop detailed product descriptions, video demos and comparison guides to help show off your widget and real-life functionality.
  4. Tell your brand story: Manufacturers can use content to highlight company history, values, mission and employees and their craft. A genuine brand story helps build trust and emotional connections with the parties you’re trying to reach.
  5. Customer success stories: Share success stories and case studies that showcase how your products or solutions have helped customers overcome challenges and reach new heights. Real-world examples can help prospects envision themselves as your next success story.

 

Incorporating content marketing into your overall marketing strategy is a sound marketing investment. By focusing on educating and providing value to their audience, manufacturers can build lasting relationships that go beyond transactions.

Ready to get to work?

Let’s talk about how I can help you develop your brand, communicate it with confidence, and build a content marketing powerhouse that generates leads, supports sales, and provides solid marketing.

 

Contact Us

Phone: (434) 574-6253

Mobile: (434) 808-4163

Email: jeanne@sevenoaksconsulting.com


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Difference Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy

Content marketing and content strategy are related concepts, but they have distinct focuses within the broader realm of content creation and marketing. Here's a breakdown of the key differences between content marketing and content strategy.

Differences Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy

Content marketing and content strategy are related, with content marketing a subset of strategy.

The strategy provides the overarching framework for creating and managing content, encompassing elements like content planning, governance, and workflow. Content marketing, on the other hand, specifically focuses on using content as a marketing tool to attract, engage, and convert customers.

However, content marketing and content strategy are essential for a comprehensive and effective approach to content creation and marketing within a business context.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a target audience. The goal is to drive profitable customer action by providing content that meets the needs and interests of the audience. It involves producing content such as blog posts, articles, videos, social media posts, and more to build brand awareness, generate leads, and nurture customer relationships.

The ultimate objective of content marketing is to drive customer behavior, whether it be making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or taking some other desired action.

What Is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is a broader, more comprehensive approach that involves planning, developing, and managing content throughout its entire lifecycle. It encompasses the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content that aligns with business goals and meets user needs. A content strategy involves defining the purpose of content, identifying the target audience, and ensuring that content is produced, organized, and maintained in a way that serves both business objectives and user needs.

The primary objective of content strategy is to align content creation with business goals, ensuring that the right content is produced and delivered to the right audience through the right channels.

Examples of Content Strategy

Content strategy involves planning, developing, and managing content to align with business goals and meet user needs. Here are a few examples of content strategy in action.

Brand Storytelling Strategy

Brand Storytelling builds brand identity and connect with the audience emotionally.

Strategy: Develop a narrative that communicates the brand's values, mission, and personality. Create a content plan that incorporates consistent storytelling across various channels, such as the brand's website, social media, and marketing materials.

User-Generated Content Campaign

User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaign increases audience engagement and authenticity.

Strategy: Develop a content strategy that encourages users to create and share content related to the brand. This can include social media campaigns, contests, or features on the brand's website showcasing user-generated stories, photos, or videos.

SEO Blog Content

SEO Blog Content improves search engine visibility and attract organic traffic.

Strategy: Conduct keyword research to identify topics relevant to the target audience. Develop a content calendar for regular blog posts that address these topics while providing valuable information. Optimize content for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and providing high-quality, shareable content.

These examples illustrate how content strategy can be applied across different aspects of a business to achieve specific objectives, whether it's building brand identity, increasing engagement, improving search visibility, or nurturing leads through the sales funnel.


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Why Is Content Marketing Important for Technology Companies?

Why is content marketing important for technology companies? The unique nature of the industry lends itself well to marketing through the sharing of information, which is essentially the main purpose of content marketing. Here's why tech companies should consider using content marketing as a tactical channel

Why Content Marketing Is Important for Technology Companies

1. Simplify Complex Information

Many technology companies offer complex solutions. Decision makers don’t need to know what’s under the hood, but they do need to know how your product solves their business challenge. Focus your content marketing efforts on the purpose behind your platform; solve their problems and simplify complex information about your system so that you empower buyers with useful information.

2. Establish Trust

Businesses invest a considerable amount of money into their technology purchases. Before meeting with a vendor, the vendor must establish a level of trust with business leaders. Content marketing plays an important role in this process. Case studies establish a technology vendor as an expert problem solver; white papers and thought leadership articles position them as the go-to resource on a particular topic.

 

3. Nurture the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer's journey in the technology sector can be time-consuming and research-intensive. Content marketing gently propels potential customers at every stage of this journey, from awareness to consideration and decision-making. Content tailored to each stage helps meet the consumer where they are in a low-pressure environment.

4. Address Pain Points

Technology products and services are designed to solve specific challenges. Content marketing allows tech companies to present real-world scenarios and how their products or solutions make tasks or workflow easier.

 

5. Attract Organic Website Traffic

Content marketing improves a search engine visibility in a cluttered market. Using relevant keywords can boost website ranking and organic traffic, making the business more top of mind.

 

Content Marketing for Technology Companies Offers Many Benefits, Few Drawbacks

Content marketing important for technology companies offers so many benefits for technology companies - thought leadership, trust building, awareness, presales information, and organic search engine optimization. There are a few drawbacks, however. Great content takes time to research and create. It takes time to rank and time to draw the right traffic to your virtual doorstep. However, once your ‘content marketing engine’ is revved, the results can be incredible.

The Best Content Marketing Agency for Technology Companies

Seven Oaks Consulting is a B2B content marketing agency that specializes in creating thought leadership for technology companies and general content marketing for technology companies. We recently generated several highly qualified (and lucrative) leads for our technology clients but it took time and steady, consistent effort to do so. There are some companies who promise you fast results, but in our experience, the best technology content marketing happens over time. It grows and builds a positive cycle of brand awareness, thought leadership, search engine traffic, and finally, highly qualified leads. If this is something you’d like help with please contact us.


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Why Content Marketing Works and Is Crucial for Marketing Success

Why Content Marketing Works and Is Crucial for Marketing Success

Content marketing is much more than a digital marketing buzzword. It’s an age-long marketing approach that existed before the Internet and is a modern-day game changer. It has gained widespread acceptance and usage and is fast becoming an industry standard.

Customers are shying away from advertising and other traditional outbound marketing approaches and expecting more from companies. Many innovative businesses have shifted to content marketing to meet these expectations, develop a deeper relationship with customers, and boost sales and revenue organically.

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote a famous essay titled ‘Content is King’ and described the future of the Internet and marketing to be powered by content.

Before I elaborate on why content marketing is the king of marketing and why it works, let me briefly define what it means for B2B companies.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, drive profitable customer actions.

Unlike outbound marketing, which involves pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and helpful content to prospects and customers, helping them solve their challenges. This allows the company to earn trust, build relationships and authority, and organically drive conversions.

Why Content Marketing Is the King of Marketing

Content marketing is often referred to as king because marketing is only possible with great content. It empowers other marketing channels – email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, etc. – and should be deeply woven into every company’s marketing process.

Strategically creating, distributing, managing, and marketing high-quality and relevant content via organic and paid marketing channels increases the chances of generating results.

If you generate results without consciously adopting content marketing, imagine the results when you intentionally power your marketing with strategic content marketing.

9 Reasons Why Content Marketing Works

Content marketing works for many reasons. It’s at the heart of all marketing channels and is the hub that supports and connects every other aspect of marketing.

Consumer values and behavior have changed. Consumers are more intentional about interacting with companies and expect much more than the product they’re buying. Pull marketing now thrives over push marketing.

Here are the top reasons why content marketing works for every industry.

1.   Content Marketing Drives Qualified Organic Traffic

This is a crucial reason why content marketing remains on many successful companies' lists. Companies that adopt content marketing, optimize their content, rank high on search engines, and drive highly qualified prospects actively searching for solutions.

According to Demand Metrics, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 63% less.

Here’s a practical example.

Someone searching Google for ‘the best software to execute a problem’ is ready to take action and is highly likely to do so after reading informative content.

Imagine such a piece of content generating at least 20 marketing-qualified leads a month for over seven years. That’s good business without extra investment.

2.   Prospects Need Your Content

Several studies have shown that internet users spend a lot of their time online consuming content – 6 hours and 58 minutes per day, to be precise. These are prospects and customers consuming content related to their challenges and solutions.

According to the GE Shopper Research Study, 81% of consumers go online to find information and answer any questions about a product or service before heading out to the store to make a purchase. Google data supported this and highlighted that 53% of shoppers constantly research before buying to ensure they make the best choice.

B2B is similar. According to the 2022 Demand Gen report, 62% of B2B buyers read at least 3-7 pieces of content before they talk to a salesperson. If a piece of content from your company helps them solve their challenge, they’re likely to convert.

They can be searching for how to use a product or solution your company provides. Developing helpful content around these challenges or solutions is a great way to gain trust, confidence, and conversion.

3.   Content Marketing Builds Trust

96% of consumers don’t’ trust adverts and are skeptical of taking action.

Intentional consumerism has gained wide adoption; customers now care much more about a company’s values and crave a deeper connection with the companies they patronize. An average of 20% of customers from 11 countries in a 2022 Statista report said they pay more for brands that reflect their values and can be trusted.

Companies that leverage content marketing to build trust and genuine relationships with prospects enjoy more sales. 7 in 10 customers buy from a company they trust and believe this trust is built through helpful content and effective content marketing.

4.   Drives Customers Loyalty, High Retention, and Lifetime Value

The nurturing nature of content marketing makes it ideal for customer-centric, future-minded companies.

Customers are much more likely to stick to a company if they have a good experience with that company. Effective content marketing helps companies deliver exceptional CX and build emotional connections with prospects.

A well-nurtured prospect who stays with a company from the top to the bottom of the funnel trusts the company more and becomes a loyalist and advocate. If the content marketing and experience delivery level is maintained, the company will have a high average order value, retention rate, lifetime value, and referrals.

This, of course, significantly boosts the company’s profit margin.

5.   Content Marketing Is Based on In-depth Understanding of Customers

To successfully market to a prospect, one must know the target audience inside and out.

According to Semrush Director of Organic Search Kyle Byers, “Understanding what your audience needs and values will be your key to content marketing success in 2023.”

The first step of content marketing is taking the time to research customers and develop customer profiles and buyer personas according to your company’s market segmentation.

A study showed that many B2B marketers conduct audience research for their content marketing. This is crucial to why content marketing works because this research gives insights into many factors that must be considered for conversion optimization.

Factors like demographics, occupation, income level, research avenues, pain points, blockers, and more are considered during content marketing strategy development.

This high-level understanding of the customer and their behavior helps companies adopt the right strategy, develop and distribute the right content, and generate high results.

6.   Builds Relationships

Customer-centric companies build healthy customer relationships with quality content marketing.

Email marketing, social media marketing, community engagement, live interviews, podcasts, industry webinars, etc., show customers you care about them.

Companies that engage customers get feedback and leverage the input to improve personalized marketing and CX delivery, key differentiators in competitive industries.

7.   Content Marketing Makes It Easy to Stand Out

In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business ecosystem, serious-minded companies leverage content marketing to achieve marketing success through differentiation.

Companies adopt branding and content marketing approaches like storytelling to highlight their values and attract customers who believe in the same values.

This helps a company stand out and drive conversions from like-minded customers.

8.   Your Customers Are Your Marketing Team

With strategic content marketing, customers take over marketing while you focus on product management.

For instance, a company conducts and publishes customer interviews on its website as testimonials, customer reviews, or expert insights. The featured customers will be proud to identify with the company and share such content with their followers.

Statistics from Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 showed that 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. Northwestern MEDILL Spiegel Research Center’s data supported this by pointing out that the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% higher. Also, customers are likely to trust an organization more and take the required action when they see a testimonial or online review.

This goes a long way to increase sales, company revenue generation, and the bottom line.

9.   Consistent Content Marketing Generates a Compounding Effect

Content on the Internet doesn’t expire. This means that a piece of well-written, evergreen content can continue to generate traffic, leads, and revenue for a company as long as the content stays published.

Much better, the more the content ages, the more backlinks it attracts, which is the more it ranks and drives more traffic. The more traffic it gets, the more the readers will continue to refer back to it and share it with their friends, family, and followers, who will also share with theirs.

The chain continues, and the content becomes a passive income avenue for the company.

There are many instances where a piece of content has generated so much leads and revenue over a specified time.

Statistical Evidence of Why Content Marketing Works and Why You Should Invest in It Today

Being one of the first in your industry to adopt content marketing for lead generation and conversion can benefit your company in many ways.

If you or your C-suite and high-level managers are yet to realize its effectiveness, here is a comprehensive list of statistics showing the importance and effectiveness of content marketing.

  • Approximately 83% of purchase decisions occur before a buyer reaches out to an organization, and between 70% and 80% of purchase interactions now happen in the digital sphere. Many decision-makers are embracing this change – 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study by Edelman and LinkedIn, supported by data from Gartner and McKinsey.
  • According to Semrush Global State of Marketing Report, out of 1700+ marketers and business owners surveyed, 97% said they had some degree of content marketing success.
  • The 2022 B2B Content Marketing report by CMI showed that 73% of marketers have a content marketing strategy.
  • 56% of marketers who leverage blogging say it's effective, and 10% say it generates the most significant ROI.
  • 82% of marketers actively use content marketing, and 60% of the surveyed marketers measure the success of their content marketing strategy through sales.
  • Marketers today create content for multiple audience segments – marketing to three audience segments being the most common – Hubspot 2020 State of Marketing.
  • Nearly 40% of marketers say content marketing is essential to their marketing strategy.
  • 69% of marketers invested in SEO in 2021, according to Hubspot State of Marketing Report for 2021.
  • On average, companies with blogs generate 67% more leads than others. They also earn 97% more inbound links, 55% more site visitors, and 434% more indexed Google pages. – Hubspot.
  • According to the 2022 PageFair Adblock Report, 290M monthly active users globally have their adblock on, and 94% of global publishers say they cannot precisely quantify the revenue loss incurred due to adblocking.
  • 70% of people would instead read an article about a company than see an ad.
  • 54% of decision-makers say they spend over one hour reading and reviewing thought-leadership content weekly.
  • 65% of consumers immediately feel a brand is positive and trustworthy after reading a piece of that brand's educational content.
  • When deciding between 4 brands, 6% of consumers who read a piece of educational content by a brand chose that brand when prompted to purchase.
  • Immediately after reading a piece of content by the brand, consumers were 131% more likely to buy from that brand than consumers who did not read any content.
  • According to Hubspot State of Marketing, 2020, 60% of marketers said their CAC has increased in the past three years.

Boost Business Outcomes and Future-Proof Your Company with Content Marketing

If you’re a B2B marketing stakeholder, now is the right time to dive into content marketing. It’s the present and future of marketing, and those who invest today will remain top in revenue generated, profit margin, and overall market share.

Content marketing is cost-effective, sustainable, returns high ROI, builds loyalty, and is precisely how customers expect marketing.

If you need help figuring out where to start or adopting content marketing but not getting the desired results, we'd be happy to walk you through some of our tried and trusted marketing strategies for B2B companies.

Don’t limit yourself to just publishing blogs and posting on social media when you can develop a robust content marketing mix that includes everything you need to achieve marketing success.

Seven Oaks Consulting has extensive experience executing content marketing for B2B companies. We can be your content marketing partner to help you optimize your marketing and generate the positive business outcomes you deserve.

 


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Creating Video Marketing Content on a Budget

Creating Video Marketing Content on a Budget: A Beginner's Guide

Creating video marketing content on a budget is easier now than ever before! In this guide for beginners, we'll walk you through how to create impactful video content with simple tools and equipment

A Guide to Create Video Content on a Budget

In recent years, video marketing has become a powerful means for businesses to engage with their community and drive traffic. However, only some companies have an in-house marketing department or generous budget to execute expensive video marketing campaigns.

The good news is that you can produce results without spending a fortune or knowing how to use a fancy camera, studio lighting, or sophisticated software. You might be overlooking assets right in front of your nose. You can produce high-quality videos from your phone or computer. Here's a guide to creating video marketing that connects and converts by leveraging the basics.

Pick Your Platform(s) for Cost-Effective Video Content Marketing

Before getting too invested in a creative concept, forcreating video marketing content on a budget, knowing where to devote time, energy, and resources is essential. With that in mind, here are the platforms where video can pay off the most:

TikTok: TikTok has been fertile ground for Gen Z and Millennials to create and share short-form video content. Creativity is front and center here. With this in mind, businesses can showcase their products or services in unconventional ways that humanize their brands.

YouTube: YouTube, with its longstanding history, is a popular platform for video marketing with a robust creator community. Many brands have found success here with how-to's, product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes footage, and general branded content that invites customers and prospects into the conversation.

Facebook: Facebook has made video marketing accessible with its high engagement rates. You can use it in the same way as YouTube, but keep in mind platform users tend to respond better to shorter content here.

Instagram: Instagram’s user base and interface with features like Stories, IGTV, and Reels make it ideal for brands to push out product promotions and storytelling with little or no financial investment.

Easy Video Creation

Savvy marketers know how to use tools to their advantage to help their cause. For instance, you can research software and hardware designed for this purpose and use case. A few ideas include:

Built-in Software: Apple products come installed with iMovie. This is a user-friendly option that puts video editing within reach. Similarly, Windows Movie Maker also level the field. You can find tutorials online to get a command of the basics.

Third-party Tools: Products like Lumen5, Animoto, or Adobe Premiere Rush are a step above the standard, helping you produce content of a higher caliber.

Smartphones: The advent of the smartphone has been a great equalizer in the video marketing landscape. You no longer need expensive equipment or a studio to get the job done. You have a total solution in a camera and apps that allow you to capture and refine content on the go.

Ideas for Creating Videos

Creating video marketing content on a budget requires some study. There’s an art and science to getting results. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few concepts to consider when formulating a video marketing plan:

Product Unboxing: This approach is an opportunity to break down your product's features, benefits, and functionalities in ways people might not encounter in their regular interactions with your brand. For inspiration, study Apple’s approach to product packaging and marketing.

How-to Tutorials: As the name suggests, instructional videos can educate your user base on how to use your product or solve challenges they might face on the job. These can establish your expertise, bolster credibility, and create top-of-mind awareness.

While B-to-B marketing requires a different, less familiar approach than B-to-C, you don't have to be stuffy or corporate. Jasper Engineering & Equipment Company has found a way to present its products as a solution while communicating in a way that doesn't use a lot of jargon.  A good example of B2C video content marketing is Gerbils on a Train. 

A 'Day in the Life': Do you have employees who go above and beyond to meet customer needs? Give them a shoutout and allow them to share what they enjoy about their jobs or present details about their personal lives. This humanizes your brand and engenders trust. People do business with people, not companies, after all.

Customer Testimonials: Ask loyal customers for video testimonials. These first-person accounts don't have to be polished or scripted. Sometimes, the best product reviews are casual. Just be sure to get their permission before sharing anything in any context.

Educational Content: Share industry news, events, or anything your customer base might find helpful or interesting. This positions your brand as a thought leader rather than just sales-driven. Thermon Manufacturing offers an example of how to leverage YouTube to educate technical and non-technical audiences alike.

Live Q&A Sessions: Go live on platforms like Facebook or Instagram to answer customer questions in real time and create a sense of urgency. When done right, these videos can build a sense of community.

User-Generated Content: Encourage customers to create videos of them using your products on the job or whatever the context. You can repost these to diversify your video marketing mix.

Video Success Starts with Consistent Content Creation

Ultimately, the most important factor in successful video marketing is consistency. Regularly create and share videos to stay connected with your audience and position your brand as the industry leader. You don't need a whole team of marketers behind you. All it takes is a vision, the right mix of tools, and a growth mindset.

After you've made the foray into video marketing, how can you take your efforts to the next level? At Seven Oaks Consulting, we help brands level up and continue their upward trajectory. You don't have to go it alone or feel like you're spinning your wheels when you have a partner in your corner.

Seven Oaks Consulting Offers Video Scripting and Consulting

Need help in this area? We’re an expert content marketing agency offering content marketing solutions to B2B companies. We can serve as your content marketing team, pushing out your video marketing content while you focus on your business, or we can be your go-to company for outsourced content. Either way, we align our goals with yours to achieve marketing success. Reach out to learn how we can help.


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Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Navigating the Modern Marketing Landscape

Content marketing vs. traditional marketing is the most recent debate in the evolving marketing landscape. Some argue that content marketing is merely a tactical channel rather than a strategy. In contrast, traditional marketing, with its emphasis on the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) as the fulcrum of lead generation and sales, is the only valuable marketing approach. The truth is that either approach can be effective if chosen wisely. Here, we dive into content marketing vs. traditional marketing, and why a modern marketing plan may include both rather than focus solely on one.

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Understanding Traditional Marketing

Technically, the definition of traditional marketing is marketing offline – that is, non-digital media. Think direct mail, print advertising, television, or radio commercials. It’s the kind of marketing that’s been around for decades since the first business published a newspaper ‘advertisement’ touting hair tonic, ladies’ dresses, or the latest shows or entertainment. Even as far back as ancient Rome, people used advertising – for example, bread preserved in the volcanic ash in Pompeii displays a maker’s mark on the top. It was a form of advertising used by bread makers to distinguish their product from another’s bread, similar to how we might use a wrapper or label on products today.

The Evolution of Web Marketing

Because I am as old as dirt (well, not that old), I remember the early days of internet marketing. Just as the first automobiles were called ‘horseless carriages’ because the carriage was all people understood as a conveyance, marketers transformed print ads into digital formats. Behold: the banner ad.

The banner ad appeared in the early days of the internet, like a print advertisement in a magazine. Static, except for this incredible thing we called click-through. You could click it and be taken directly to the product page. Wow!

You are probably laughing at this mental picture, but I assure you, back in the late 1990s, it was the 'right' way to advertise. Of course, we still have some static ads – my blog, Home Garden Joy, displays two in the sidebar for affiliate programs we belong to. I do this for a simple reason: I am very choosy about my advertisers, and so are my readers. I was unhappy with the quality and quantity of ads displayed by Google's algorithm technology, so I switched to tightly controlled advertising. It works for me, and my readers seem to appreciate it.

Evolution of Digital Marketing

That brings me to my next point. The evolution of traditional marketing into digital marketing is more complex than one might assume. The two areas overlap. Like content marketing vs. traditional marketing, digital vs. traditional marketing is a false dichotomy. There's no need to choose between them. Instead, finding the right blend of online and offline advertising and incorporating successful content marketing strategies and tactics into the overall marketing plan may be the best way for your company to obtain leads and sales.

The Right Marketing Approach Depends on Target Audience

Choosing the right marketing approach, whether it’s traditional marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, or a combination of all three, depends on one thing: your audience.

Advertise Where Your Audience Is

You must fish where the fish are biting. This means you must market to your target customers in ways that appeal to them and in places where they are spending time. Depending on your target audience, this may mean:

  • Print advertisements in magazines or newspapers
  • Radio commercials on traditional local radio, national radio, or digital broadcasts
  • Google advertising or other search advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Outbound calling (“cold calling”)
  • Events and conferences (attending, presenting, a trade show booth or sponsorship)
  • Sponsoring the local sports team
  • Billboard ads
  • Become part of a trade organization (chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing, including case studies, white papers, videos, and more
  • Coupons, sales, and rebate programs

I’m sure I have forgotten traditional, digital, or content marketing methods, but the point is that the list above is not a ‘one size fits all’ list.

The Best Marketing Plan Is Created Just for Your Business

The best marketing plan is one that suits your business. It is a plan created by researching the product, its place in the market, and its competitors. It is a plan that draws from market research into what your customers – not your competitors, not anyone else's, but YOUR customers – want and need from the product or service. A good marketing plan charts a roadmap to position your company among a sea of competitors so that it stands out and helps develop recognition, awareness, leads, and sales.

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Let Common Sense Be Your Guide

So, regarding content marketing vs. traditional marketing, here are the similarities and differences.

Content Marketing:

  • Focuses on awareness, education, and sharing information to empower customers
  • Does not overtly ‘sell’ with a call to action
  • Provides useful, desirable information
  • Meets the consumer need at the point of interest

In sum:

  • Educates customers on how to use products or services
  • Provides increasingly detailed information to bring customers to the point of sale
  • Highly targeted to specific customer groups called "personas."

 

Traditional Marketing

  • Focuses on generating awareness and a desire to own a product
  • Does “sell” or calls to action: buy, call, click, etc.
  • Motivates through emotional appeal
  • Promotes to a mass market or large targeted market to generate interest

In sum:

  • Generates interest to generate leads and sales
  • Appeals to emotions (keep up with the Jones, look better, feel better)
  • Often mass market or to a large audience, but can also be targeted

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: We’re All About Content Marketing

At Seven Oaks Consulting, we have over 20 years of experience in all aspects of marketing: content marketing, traditional marketing, and digital marketing. We specialize in business-to-business content marketing and can provide this service to your company. If you feel content marketing is a helpful adjunct to your marketing program, call us, and let's discuss your ideas. We're honest. If we think we can help you, we'll tell you. And, if we believe content marketing isn't helpful, we'll let you know that, too.

Also Read...

 


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The Case for Content Marketing

Engagement Matters: The Case for Content Marketing 

The case for content marketing: this marketing tactic has emerged as a leading tactic in recent years due to its promise to engage audiences, enhance brand visibility, and drive conversions. However, skeptical business owners and leaders might wonder if it's all razzle-dazzle or if there's any substance. The short answer: It's still relevant, and it offers a great deal of value. Here's a look at the why and how.

The Case for Content Marketing

Content provides valuable, relevant, and consistent information to attract and retain a target audience. Unlike traditional outbound advertising — which can sometimes feel intrusive — content marketing seeks to engage and educate people. By inviting them in with trust and authority, your brand is perceived as a helpful guide, not merely sales-driven. 

  1. Valuable: People hate "being sold to". But they do love learning. As one B2B customer said to us, "When you share information, I love it. When you sell to me, I hate it. That's why I love webinars, case studies, etc." - all types of content.
  2. Relevant: Make sure your content is relevant to the target audience. If your audience is using Sage, sending them content pieces about Acumatica or Oracle isn't relevant.
  3. Consistent: Don't publish sporadically. Consistent publishing helps build an audience and adds to engagement.

Advanced Analytics Help Assess ROI

Advanced analytics tools provide a look "under the hood." You can see how your audience interacts with your content, which allows you to refine or modify your content strategy. Adaptation is critical to creating content that meets your target audience's needs and preferences. On that note, content marketing transforms the brand-consumer relationship from a transactional one to a deeper connection based on trust and brand loyalty.

In short, content marketing is here to stay, and savvy business owners know they must subscribe to this strategy. Effective content marketing can deliver results and help companies reach people they might not otherwise. In other words, it's an investment brands cannot overlook if they want to stay in business. 


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Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: Do You Need Both?

Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: Do you Need Both?

Content marketing vs. social media strategy - what are they and do you need both?

Social media and content marketing are two distinct but complementary marketing strategies. Companies can generate mindblowing results from a robust content marketing or social media strategy. However, only top marketers understand the benefits of integrating both strategies.

A robust content marketing strategy provides detailed information that can be repurposed into social media content. Similarly, the insights from social media content provide valuable ideas for a robust content marketing strategy.

Only B2B companies that effectively integrate the two strategies gain optimal results from their marketing efforts. I’ll explain why.

What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?

A content marketing strategy refers to a company's plan to create, manage, and distribute content. The main goal is to build a solid relationship with prospects by sharing relevant and valuable content that addresses their needs, interests, and pain points.

Content can be created in many forms - blog posts, infographics, emails, white papers, videos, podcasts, etc., to capture various audience interests.

Top B2B companies understand that content is a valuable marketing tool for earning customer trust and establishing industry authority. To achieve their content marketing goals, they focus on being the go-to resource for helpful industry information, helping their prospects and customers make valuable business decisions.

A comprehensive content marketing strategy involves:

  • Audience identification
  • Defining content goals
  • Content creation
  • Content distribution
  • Lead generation, etc.

What Is a Social Media Strategy?

A social media marketing strategy is a plan on how a company intends to use social media platforms to educate, inform, and engage with its target audience, drive traffic to its websites or sales pages, build brand, product, and service awareness, and ultimately meet other business objectives.

It's one of the most popular marketing channels, and smart B2B companies understand the many opportunities it presents to build trust and authority while increasing their margins.

A comprehensive social media strategy involves:

  • Audience identification
  • Goal setting
  • Platform selection
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Engagement strategy, etc.

Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: How They Differ

Content marketing and social media marketing differ in many ways, from their focus to objectives, content types, and many more.

Focus

Content marketing uses different content types, like blog posts, infographics, videos, etc., to educate, inform, and address audience pain points while building a valuable relationship with them. Forward-thinking companies understand that by creating relevant and informative content, they establish their place as a reliable figure in the industry, giving them industry authority status.

However, social media marketing uses relevant and visually appealing content to attract engagement and interact with an audience in real-time. Customer-centric B2B companies leverage social media platforms to interact with their audience and understand their needs and interests.

Objectives

Content marketing’s objective is to use relevant and informative content to build brand awareness, establish authority and expertise, and generate and nurture leads into customers. It aims to capture customers at the different stages of their buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making.

On the other hand, the objectives of social media marketing are slightly different. It aims to use relevant and engaging content to increase brand awareness, foster direct communication with the target audience, drive traffic to specific content or offers, and enhance customer service and support. Companies build strong communities on different social media platforms by engaging their customers consistently, making it easy to convert them into loyal customers.

Content Types

Content marketing comprises various forms of content, from blog posts to infographics, eBooks, white papers, videos, etc. These content are usually long-form, as they’re more in-depth and informative. Companies create detailed content and later break them into smaller pieces to repurpose them on many channels, including social media.

On the other hand, social media marketing is known for short-form content, such as posts, images, infographics, short videos, etc., created to fit into a platform’s content specifications.

Social media platforms have different content length limits. Twitter, for instance, has a maximum of 280 characters. Even when platforms like Facebook allow long-form content with a character limit of 63,206, smart companies make their posts short and crispy to capture their audience’s wavering attention and maintain engagement.

There are many other differences between content marketing and social media marketing, such as content distribution mode, measuring metrics, content lifespan, etc.

Why Content Marketing and Social Media Work Together

Some B2B managers ask, “What is the link between content marketing and social media strategy?” “Does content strategy include social media?”

While content marketing and social media marketing are two distinct online marketing strategies, they complement each other in many ways. Top B2B companies understand that they need both to achieve optimal marketing results.

Amplified Content Reach

Content amplification is one of the vital ways social media and content marketing work together to enhance B2B marketing efforts. Social media is one of the major distribution channels for content. When a company publishes well-written, relevant content on its website, the next step is to share it on different social media platforms.

By sharing valuable content with their social media followers, B2B companies also reach their follower’s networks. How? Most social media users will not hesitate to comment, share, and retweet vital information that would benefit their networks. The wider the content reach, the more significant the visibility boost.

Profitable Engagement and Interaction

Social media helps B2B companies interact with their audience in real time, allowing them to address inquiries and customer complaints.

But beyond that, this social media engagement and interaction provide companies with valuable insights that could inform their content marketing efforts. They get new content ideas to keep their content marketing efforts going. And with more content published on their websites, companies have multiple excerpts to post on social media to increase engagement. It’s like a positive feedback loop.

One of the key benefits of this for B2B companies is that it proves their expertise to their customers and shows them they listen to their complaints across these social channels. This allows the customers to speak up more and helps the companies to keep improving their products, services, and marketing efforts.

Quality Lead Generation

Social media is one of the primary traffic sources for B2B companies. With over 4.2 billion social media users worldwide, innovative B2B companies see social media's untapped potential and try to share their content consistently on these platforms to leverage them.

By sharing valuable, relevant content on social media, these companies direct their social media audience to their websites or sales funnels. Then, they receive in-depth information about their products and services.

After getting high-quality products and experiencing good customer service, these customers return to social media to discuss their experiences, generating more quality leads for the companies.

Integrate Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy for Optimal Marketing Results

While companies can implement separate content and social media marketing strategies, integrating both promises better returns. Companies repurpose their most valuable content on social media to drive engagement and traffic. Therefore, content marketing serves as a feeder source for social media content.Social media serves as an amplification tool for web content.

By integrating both marketing channels, B2B companies build valuable relationships. They also establish their expertise and authority, and generate high-quality leads that turn into loyal customers.


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What Content Marketing Services Do Marketing Agencies Provide?

Content marketing services provided by content marketing agencies vary according to the agency, its specialty area, and the end customer's needs. Seven Oaks Consulting, for example, is a business-to-business (B2B) content marketing agency specializing in content strategy and planning, outsourced content creation services, and written content: blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers, and more.

Before addressing the larger question of what content marketing services content marketing agencies provide, it might be helpful to take a step back and ask: What services do you need, and is a content marketing agency the solution?

Content Marketing Services: Content Creation Can Be a Big Task

I recently read a book about scaling up content for organic search traffic (organic SEO). The book's authors provided statistics and screenshots of Google Analytics platforms to prove that it takes over 1,000 blog posts to reach a specific level of traffic to yield X leads. According to their formula, posting a certain number of optimized posts over a specific period and building up a repository or search engine optimized posts leads to more leads and sales over time.

After reading their explanation, the question that lingered in my mind was simple: How in the world does the average person write that many posts?

Sure, some turn to AI-powered tools like Chat GPT and new platforms with similar generative AI running in the background, but generative AI isn't meant for content marketing. It spits out plagiarized content, often with glaring errors (ask the lawyer who had it prepare his brief - it cited fictitious cases, and he's facing charges because of it!).

There are many problems associated with this content creation method, yet with the increasing competition for search traffic, creating thoughtful, optimized content is essential.

Most people struggle to write, and it takes the average person several hours to write a blog post like this. How do you scale up your content marketing?

Scaling Up Your Content Marketing

There are several ways you can scale up your content marketing efforts:

1. Write your own content: If you like to write, you understand how to write compelling SEO content, and you have the time, this is undoubtedly an option.
2. Hire a freelancer: You can look through Fiverr or Upwork to find freelancers or post ads on FlexJobs or other ad search boards. Or, look for hashtags on LinkedIn for freelance writers who specialize in your content area.
3. Hire a part-time or full-time writer: If you have the budget, hiring a content writer is also an option.
4. Hire a content marketing agency: Agencies offer content strategy and planning services, content creation, and content amplification. They can translate rough ideas into action plans to help you achieve your goals, measure the plan against KPIs, and scale up or down according to your needs.

Pros and Cons of DIY and Freelance Approaches to Content Marketing

The question of which of the four options to choose is answered by budget and need. If you're a startup or sole proprietor with a limited budget, you will likely be the DIY writer (1) or hire a freelancer (2).

DIY or Hiring a Freelancer

Pros

  • Lower cost: DIY costs only time, and freelance writer prices vary according to the writer, the length/topic of the content, and the turnaround time.
  • Flexibility: If you’re a DIY writer, you can write when the inspiration strikes - after reading a news article or hearing a podcast that inspires a reaction, for example.
  • Output: Output depends solely on your efforts or the budget spent on freelance talent.

Cons

  • Costs money: Freelancers don't write for free, and if you expect them to provide free content, stop there and be a DIY writer. Expect to pay $25, $50, $100, and up for a good article or blog post from a freelancer.
  •  Requires time: You'll need to write your content (DIY) or create the instructions, called a creative brief, for the writer. You'll still need to research topics, find keywords, assign them to writers, check and review their work, provide feedback, and publish your content.
  • Finding good writers: Freelancers are a dime a dozen, but finding reliable, professional freelance talent who understands your company, products, services, and target market can be challenging. And once you find that person, they may stop freelancing, ghost you, or raise their prices.

Hire a Part-time or Full-Time Writer

Pros

  • You’ll have someone on staff during business hours whose sole job is to write content for you.
    They’ll quickly learn brand voice and tone, products and services
  •  Depending on the writer, you can turn out a high volume of quality content quickly.

Cons

  • Expensive - you have to pay a salary, benefits, and insurance.
  •  Challenging - it isn't easy to find a good full-time freelancer.
  • They may be unable to turn out the consistent quality you desire or handle other aspects of content marketing, such as planning, strategy, and amplification. So you'll end up doing that yourself, too.

Content Marketing Agency Services

Pros

  • Offers teams of professionals to work on your account, so someone is always ready to handle any aspect of your project.
  • Experienced at content marketing - no need for hand-holding.
  • Flexible teams can provide additional content services (amplification, strategy, visual content) as needed
    Can get better results faster and report on results.

Cons

  • The most expensive option. Seven Oaks Consulting's monthly fees start at $2,500, although we work on a per-article basis if companies want to try us out first. Pricing with large content marketing agencies like Brafton begins at $10,000 per month. The average is around $4,000 - $6,000 per month.
  • It still requires some time from the client. We always ask clients to review their content before publication to ensure accuracy.
  • Some ramp-up time is needed to learn the company, products, and services (but likely much less than a freelancer would need).

Typical Content Marketing Agency Services

Again, I emphasize that no two agencies provide the same services, and the final list of services an agency recommends for your company's needs may vary from another company's list. It's all in the goals: What do you want to achieve? Then it's about the audience: who are your customers and competitors, and what will it take to reach them?

Strategy and Planning

  • Developing a strategic content marketing plan
  • Creating an editorial calendar or content calendar
  • Competitive analysis
  • Persona identification and mapping

Creation

  • Researching and writing content
  • Identifying target keywords
  • Optimizing digital content
  • Graphic design of content

Amplification

  • Promoting content across various channels (social media)
  • Guest posts and article placement
  • Advertising content on search engines and social channels

Other

  • Reports and metrics
  • Other marketing services: brand consultation, digital marketing, direct mail marketing

Do You Need a Content Marketing Agency?

A content marketing agency offers a comprehensive suite of content marketing services: strategy, planning, competitive intelligence, SEO, creative design, writing, and promotion - the marketing of the pieces themselves. Agencies also provide reports, coaching, and guidance on various marketing disciplines.

Content marketing agencies may work across both B2C and B2B companies or specialize in a specific niche: beauty and health products, medical or health, technology, manufacturing, and more.

Agency-Client Fit

Finding the right agency to fit your goals, needs, industry, and audience is essential. Part of your due diligence is to ensure a good agency-company fit. This means meeting with the company's team - perhaps the account executive you'll be working with and other key players who will be hands-on with your projects.

Experience Match

Take time to ensure that your expectations align with their experience. Don't try to fit a square peg into a road hole. You may like how an agency approaches its graphic design, but the ramp-up time may be significant if they don't know your industry very well.

Time Investment

Be ready to invest over 6- 12 months with a content marketing agency. Most will require that much time to get content planned, created, and promoted. It is unreasonable to expect results within weeks or months. Good content marketing takes time to develop, time to index by search engines, and time to be found and appreciated by customers.

Ready to Get Started with Content Marketing Services?

Are you looking for content marketing agency services? We're happy to help. Please contact us after you've reviewed our prices and services, and we can discuss your goals and needs.