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On Marketing: Content marketing makes your advertising work

by Josh Gordon Published: September 29, 2016 1:12 PM

Let's talk about autopilot advertising, and advertising equity.

Autopilot Advertising

Earlier this week the guy who handles our pest control came through the office. The office was abuzz with our usual chatter and meetings and whatnot. In our focused state, it was very easy to not notice that he came through, did his job, and left.

It's fair to say that this total lack of interaction is ideal when it comes to controlling pests. No conversation, no problems.

The trouble is, there is a lot of advertising that is just like a pest control guy. It runs, and then it's gone. Its impact isn't really felt.

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Guess what? Your audience can tell when your ads are lazy, under-thought, and routine. In fact, they are kind enough to tell you by not buying what you're selling, entering your store, or generally acknowledging you exist.

Earning the respect, and the business, from your target audience means you cannot send them messages that are on autopilot. How do you know you have autopilot advertising? Here are the most common indicators:

You haven't changed your ad creative or ad messaging in a long time.

You haven't reviewed details on who the target audience of your business is in two or more years.

You haven't found new ways to reach your audience, or you are reluctant to try new forms of marketing because you are afraid you do not understand them.

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Ads that used to work are just not getting the same reaction they used to.

In a bout of objective honesty, if you correctly diagnose your business with autopilot advertising you have two options.

Option one is obvious: Change up your ads. Sometimes this is more complicated then swapping a picture or tagline out. Really examine what you have been doing and balance that with what your audience needs. Understand if their needs have shifted, then develop a plan and messaging strategy that delivers on what they need.

Option two for addressing autopilot advertising is less obvious but it makes a much bigger, more long-lasting impact: Make your new primary marketing tactic content marketing, and earn advertising equity.

Advertising Equity

"Content marketing is the°marketing°and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content°to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly°defined and understood target audience -- with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

That definition is straight from the Content Marketing Institute. Yeah, there is an institute.

The Journal of Advertising recently published a study that scientifically proves the value of content marketing for companies and, more specifically, for advertising. The study reveals that if a company regularly publishes information its audience wants to read (in articles, a blog, Facebook and other social channels, etc.), the likelihood that the audience will take a favorable action -- i.e., buy something -- because of its advertising is higher.

Content marketing delivers advertising equity. Ads get noticed more by the people a business cares about most -- folks who are already engaged with your company because they read the information you share with them. That makes the ads more meaningful.

The principle is simple. If you exclusively speak to your audience when you want something (advertising), they are a means to an end. And they know and feel that. Eventually their interest wanes. These conditions are where autopilot advertising forms.

Earning advertising equity makes all of your messages more relevant, timely, and meaningful. The study proves that advertising equity has a positive impact on sales.

Build the respect of your community by demonstrating your expertise. Publish what you know, and then advertise. This combination breathes life and meaning into your ads, and revenue into your business.

Autopilot advertising is not a death sentence or permanent condition.

Are you on autopilot?

Josh Gordon is an award-winning marketing communications professional and President of Full Spectrum Marketing, a full-service advertising agency with digital roots based in Kent, Ohio and Wooster, Ohio. You can reach Josh at jgordon@fullspectrummarketing.com.

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