New Research Reinforces Old Notions About Content Marketing

Sep 28, 2018


Article ImageContent marketing has been heralded as everything from the best way to win brand loyalty to the way to reach web users who employ ad blockers. According to a new Clutch survey some of that hype is warranted. Researchers found that the “value customers experience from content marketing influences whether they purchase from a company. Over half (55%) are likely to research a company after consuming content marketing, and 86% have at some point purchased a product due to content marketing.”

Those are the kinds of statistics that have had so many brands eager to try their hands at content marketing. But not all consumers are on the content marketing bandwagon.

Content Marketing Skeptics Remain

Plenty of consumers remain skeptical about content marketing—even if their actions don't match up with what they say. The research found that nearly three-quarters of people (73%) have purchased a product as a result of content marketing, despite thinking it has no value. At first glance this stat might seem a bit odd, but there is a relatively simply explanation.

Grayson Kemper, senior content developer and marketer at Clutch, says, “People shop with intent– so, if you are intent on buying a company's products or services and you encounter marketing content that exaggerates its benefits or value, it appears you are likely to still complete the purchase.”

Biased Content Turns Off Potential Buyers

Clutch research found that 49% of people who think content marketing is biased and unreliable are likely to research or consider a company’s products. “Put another way, overly promotional content eliminates more than half of potential customers (51%) from researching or considering purchasing from your company,” according to the report.

How does a marketer figure out where to draw the line when creating content? “I think the distinction between 'overly' promotional and just promotional is in the eye of the person consuming the content and often may relate to value,” says Kemper.

If you encounter marketing content that has a clear promotional slant but is still informative and engaging, you are more likely to value it and may further research the company that produced it,” Kemper adds. “On the other hand, if you encounter content that glosses over basic facts or reasoning in efforts to promote a company, you will find little value in it and develop a negative impression of the company that produced it.”

Age Influences the Content You Consume

The kind of content—and how you view it—is also likely to be influenced by what generation you fall into. Clutch found that baby boomers consume reviews (31%) the most among all business content. Millennials, on the other hand—who we're told value authenticity above all else—prefer blogs and articles (30%). Kemper thinks there are a few factors at play here. “Reviews definitely provide authentic insight, but people typically actively search for reviews before they read them, meaning they are reading them for a specific purpose,” he says. “They also mostly read reviews toward the end of their purchasing process.” 

Another factor that could be at play here is how they are encountering content,” Kemper adds. “It's unlikely that you come across reviews when perusing social media, while it's incredibly common to find an article or blog someone in your network has shared. Since millennials are more likely to use social media to find business content, it makes sense that they would consume blogs or articles rather than reviews.”

Bad Content Marketing Ruins It For Everyone

If there is one thing to take away from Clutch's research, it might be this: Content marketing best practices hold true. Your goal should be to provide value to your audience, and win their loyalty—and hopefully their dollars—not shamelessly promote your products. Or as Kane Jamison, founder of Content Harmony, a Seattle-based content marketing agency says in the report, Give value first, and once people get that value, they’ll start looking more into the company itself or researching [your company’s] products.”

Too many companies eager to exploit the content marketing phenomenon have rushed to market with the same old promotional content that worked for them in the past, instead of reimagining their messages. The more content brands create that don't measure up to content marketing best practices, the more we'll see consumers growing skeptical—and the sooner we'll all have to move on to the next big thing.

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