A New Era of Marketing: Help, Don’t Hype

 - November 11, 2013, 10:15 AM

Is your marketing so helpful that someone would pay for it?

In the connected world we live in today, you are constantly vying for attention. The important new marketing campaign that you launched via social media is competing with pictures of someone’s new puppy on Facebook—and with literally millions of other websites, apps, videos and print publications. Smartphones put the world in everyone’s pockets, and with social media and blogs, the lines have become blurred between where consumers go to find social and business content.

So how can you get people’s attention? And what can keep them close to your brand? In a word, help. If people find your marketing materials helpful, they will listen to your message. But if your website is one big bragging stick and your phone app is just a promotional platform, why would people want you in their busy lives?

Sales is an integral part of marketing, since they constantly feed each other, but marketers must stop worrying about selling better and start worrying about teaching better. Sirius Decisions conducted a survey in 2012 and discovered that “B2B customers contact a sales rep only after 70% of the purchase decision has been made.” That statistic alone should make you want to rethink your marketing campaign to focus on educating. Before you solicit sales, you must earn trust.

So how is your marketing campaign helping your customer?

Guardian Jet, an aircraft broker, provides a free Aircraft Value Calculator on its website, enabling users to “Kelly Blue Book” their airplanes. Guardian makes no money on this. Instead, it forges a trust with its market and develops powerful leads.

BDN Aerospace, a marketing firm dedicated to aviation, recently compiled an 18-page list of every aerospace and defense tradeshow in 2014 and uploaded it to the company website. People can consult the list—which BDN makes available for free—to determine what shows will be important for them to  exhibit at or attend. They won’t forget who compiled the list, since BDN’s logo sits at the top of every page.

Columbia Sportswear, an outdoor apparel company, created a free iPhone app that gives step-by-step instructions on how to do 70 rope knots. Because its customers find the app helpful, they will likely look to Columbia for other assistance with their outdoor adventures—and when they need a new jacket.

Notice a trend?

Determine what your customers need, then give it to them. Make your marketing so useful that people might pay for it. But don’t charge them. They’ll pay you later, with loyalty to your brand. Meanwhile, help, don’t hype.