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Second That Emotion

By tracey

With tech and automation driving more of the marketing process, content marketers must not lose sight of the human at the heart of the strategy, writes Adrian Niculescu.

One of the questions I’m asked most after speaking at conferences and events is: “What’s the next big thing in the coming year?” Because this issue will appear in October, I wanted to address this subject from an unexpected angle. Why? Well, I’m the kind of guy that reads a lot of books. I love doing that but at the same time I teach, coach, write, speak based on my practical experience – the wins but also the failures.

We are living in demanding times and the business landscape is more competitive than ever. My focus is on delivering massive value, actionable steps and strategies that can be applied the next day. You can have the best information but it is only potential power. It becomes actual power only when it is applied.

As marketers and sales people, we are always on a quest to find the next Facebook, the next e-mail delivery system, CRM, automation platform, bot or robot. This is normal, by the way, but we can forget things beyond technology: our end customer, potential business-to-business representative or developer affiliate. We are targeting a human being who sees the beauty of the world, hears the drums of nature, smells the flavours of our planet, tastes Lisbon’s amazing food and touches and feels the curves of reality. In a nutshell, they have these five senses and even if one of them is lost it is immediately replaced by one of the others, which is enhanced. We see amazing developments in robots “using AI but there is a long to go before they match our senses. I love the technology but it comes on top of the basics – and we need to start from there.

During the heyday of MySpace, who could imagine that in few short years Facebook would transform it into a virtual ghost town? Maybe next year Bitcoin will no longer have 50% of the market and users will migrate to Etherium, Cloudcoin, Ripple or Electroneum. Blockhain could become a fad and be replaced by better systems, such as Raida. Something better than iOS or Android will be invented. Humans are creatures of habit and once we move on from one thing to another it is usually a oneway journey. As marketing and sales people, we must be ahead of times; we must sense these movements and adjust our communication, business strategies and systems to embrace those changes. Next year technological progress will be faster again and the current compressing of decades in years and years in months will be the most pronounced we’ve seen. Successful content strategy must be backed by measurable results – and here are five reasons why.

1. People will listen more to people they know, like and trust and their content, rather than ads Because we are targeted by an average of 700 advertising messages a day, our mind has developed a shield that it is harder and harder for brands to penetrate. We now buy from people and companies we know, like and trust. Content published by influencers drives our decisions. Of course, ads can be used as reminders but they work best connected to a fabulous piece of content rather than a sales page. Building content and optimising it to be found organically takes time and many brands don’t have the patience but this is key to medium and long-term success.

2. The road less travelled is the path to success Creativity is the way out of the trap of being a commodity where there is always a price comparison that ignites the purchase decision. No matter your age and experience, I advise you to adapt yourself, open new perspectives and kickstart creative levels you may be unaware of. Ideas, brands and businesses can be created from scratch – with, as a recent magazine article had it, “three minds and five laptops”.

3. Winners will find a way to transform engagement into sales, revenues and profits Engaging content has to generate certain reactions – a like, a sign-up, a purchase – and be backed by an entire machine that will collect leads, create a customer journey through followups and bring purchases, revenue and repeated customers over and over. A face-to-face meeting is more powerful than a phone call, which is better than an e-mail, which also is more powerful than a social-media share. So the magic will always be in the strategy and execution of what happens after the amazing content is built and is the only thing the stakeholders of the business will see and judge.

4. Knowing about your customers more than they know about themselves is vital The most savvy marketers know their target market more than the people targeted know themselves. This helps them design the profile of the perfect customer or business partner. And while the process of building what is called a buyer persona is a complex process, the following eight core elements are vital: age, gender, marital status, education, industry, occupation, location and salary.

5. Authenticity will beat rigid tech and marketing automation While marketing will be driven by technology and automation, there is one thing that can’t be replaced by bots and machines: pure emotion. Emotion starts wars, makes us get married (or divorced) or move to another country. It is essential that every brand creates a positive emotion to spark decisions, sales and continuity for customers. That is a very specific skill but what you wear, the phone you use, the car you drive, where you live all stem from positive emotions. Think about how you can use this understanding in your marketing to drive sales. In 2019 and beyond, a sale is a way to help the customer, not just an exchange. A great, measurable content-marketing strategy will build unshakeable businesses.

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