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Aligning Brand Goals and Customer Needs: Does Your Content Marketing Pass the Test?

A solid brand strategy is key in helping distinguish your product from the competition. And your content is what puts it all in motion. To strengthen and grow your engagement and sales, your content marketing strategy must stay true to your brand, while meeting customers’ needs.

What buyers want vs. what you’re delivering

According to the 2018 Sprout Social Index, social media marketers’ assumptions don’t line up with consumer preferences. Social marketers are focusing on content that educates (61%), tells a story (58%) and inspires (53%), while consumers are looking for discount/sales (73%), showcasing of new products/services (60%) and videos that teach them something (59%). We can see why the biggest challenge for 27% of social marketers is determining what content to post.

Discounts are a great way to drum up business (who doesn’t love a good deal?), but you can’t build strategies exclusively around promotions. While sales may lead to conversions, they don’t always lead to lasting, high-value relationships.

How does your brand give consumers what they want without constant product mark-downs? Whether you have three seconds of customers’ attention via a Facebook ad or two minutes for a branded game or quiz, it’s about being strategic and using data-driven marketing to add value.

A little entertainment goes a long way

ROI isn’t based solely on your brand’s goals. It’s defined by what your customers want and what drives them to click the “Buy” button. When it comes to social media, one in five consumers say graphics and images drive their purchases, and 17% prefer produced videos. This is where storytelling approaches can be most valuable and effective.

A prime example of brand storytelling is the Dr. Pepper Fansville campaign. As a sponsor of the college football playoffs, Dr. Pepper introduced a season-long series of six commercials set in “the ultimate college football town – Fansville.” The commercials parodied the relatable highs and lows of die-hard football fans using offbeat humor — and a welcome break from run-of-the-mill TV commercials. The series kept the audience on their toes anticipating the next installment. And it was all done without a blatant product push.

No matter the avenue you’re using to reach your customers, consider the following:

  • Start by vetting your buyer personas. What issues and struggles are unique to each persona? Does the content help them solve a problem? Would they find it interesting? Entertaining? Educational?
  • Leverage data. Pull data to find out what content consistently performs the highest in terms of engagement to better pinpoint what types of stories will resonate with them.
  • Add a human element. From personal experiences to relatable humor, include messaging that makes your audience say, “Wow, that’s so true!”  
  • Don’t just win over their interest, maintain it. What about your story makes your brand memorable? Make your audience want to learn more (and give them the resources to do so).

You don’t need to recreate your brand’s own version of Fansville to keep your products top of mind and your customers entertained. Explore other creative channels, such as:

  • A Facebook Live behind-the-scenes tour of the corporate office
  • A casual Q&A with the CEO
  • A live product demonstration
  • Video testimonials from real customers

Fuel your online marketing with authenticity

Every brand has a story and a brand voice in which its told. The next step is parlaying that language and style to your customers in a way that satisfies their needs across all touchpoints. Here’s how:

  • Share your vision, mission, and values. Consumers want to do business with brands that share similar ideals, so communicate your brand’s identity, its beliefs and the causes it supports. Everything your company stands for should come alive within your communications and throughout interactions with customers.
  • Benchmark your brand against competitors. To better align your brand with buyer needs, find out why customers choose competitor brands over yours. The 2018 State of Market Intelligence report reveals that 91% of companies monitor direct competitors, and 82% also monitor their own company to get a bigger picture of how it’s performing in the market.
  • Turn to former customers for intel. Survey customers who have fallen off to find out why they ditched your brand and what it would take to win them back. Regardless of whether they make a new purchase, you’ve just gained additional insights to improve customer acquisition and customer retention going forward.
  • Don’t just implement an omnichannel system, monitor it. You want a digital marketing strategy that supports your customers across different media, and that includes keeping tabs on all the channels where your brand is present. Customer comments and transaction histories will enable you to consistently gauge how they’re feeling and what they want from your brand.
  • Remember, there’s always room to refine. No brand strategy is set in stone. Use metrics to test, experiment and adjust your efforts to make your content as effective as possible.

Customer expectations are higher than ever. Aligning your content to satisfy your brand values and your customer needs can be a challenge. Find out how d3 Specialists can help your brand tell a cohesive story throughout your digital marketing campaign.

Related Questions

With so many buyer personas, how can I create a cohesive customer/brand experience?

Customer data speaks volumes and empowers you to create more personalized experiences. As we tell our d3 clients, leverage your data (or ours) to create market segmentations based on location, demographics, preferences, job titles, location, age, and other factors. This way, you can ensure that your social media strategy — along with your list-specific emails, geo-targeted coupon, and dynamic landing pages — will resonate with the intended audiences.

What are some quick fixes to add personality and interest to a bland brand?
Pumping some personality into your brand doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul. By incorporating clever and less formal language into your copy, giving your graphics a tweak and using emojis in your subject lines, you can easily liven up your customer-facing communications.

Kathy Hermann
Kathy Hermann
Digital Product Guru

Kathy Hermann has 20 years of experience in the marketing field with expertise in new business development and strategic partnerships. She has worked with an impressive client roster over the years, and integrates all digital and traditional marketing tactics for maximum results. Kathy is known to work around the clock, but when she does take a break, her husband, 4 kids and new puppy keep her plenty busy.

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