Monday, September 29, 2014

Help vs. Hype

Social and online content that helps, rather than sells, is the best way to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Especially in modern business, when there is huge competition for attention, how you build your business in terms of trust and consumer confidence matters.

Jay Baer is a New York Times bestseller, marketing consultant and the second-most retweeted person by B2B marketers. In a nifty little podcast, he explained the difference between the two social media marketing approaches, and here is my summation:

Utility, or as Jay coined it "youtility," is key. If you want your brand to stand out, provide tools or content that helps your consumer make educated decisions or access crucial information. The target audience should find some use or benefit in your offering, whether or not its directly related to your product or service. The preference for your useful content can drive the consumer toward a preference for your brand.

According to Jay, brands tend to shy away from providing an adequate level of helpful marketing for free for fear of losing proprietary stock or competitors imitating content. However, withholding your "secret for success" is working actually against you. There are no secrets, and if you don't provide helpful content for your consumers, someone else will. Just because you have all the ingredients and a recipe, doesn't make you a chef. Finesse and focus make all the difference. Successful brands hone in on a niche audience or content type/style and give away all they know bit by bit.

Helpful content also facilitates trust between brand and consumer. Brands that capitalize on help-centric marketing are confident in their own thought leadership and are comfortable when other people begin to advocate for and tell the brand story; a hallmark of a thoughtful and mutually beneficial relationship.

On the other end of the spectrum, hype marketing is essentially tooting your own horn. It's the intent to sell without any depth, youtility or consideration of the end-user. Hype casts a wide, overly-optimistice net and lacks focus; a marketing interaction that consumers tolerate, at best.

Jobseekers, apply Jay's thoughts on helpful marketing to yourself and your job search. Don't just tell 'em, show 'em.

Jason Swenk featuring Jay Baer article here.

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