Caffeinated ideas and views on marketing communications

word of mouth

Is content marketing necessary to business success?

Content must be the buzziest term in the communications /marketing field right now. Everywhere you turn it seem you find discussions of content strategy and marketing. There are articles on how to create  or re-purpose content. There are discussions on what is the best content and what channel is it ideally shared on.

But is content marketing absolutely necessary for you to achieve your business objectives?

 What is content marketing exactly?

First let’s start with a definition of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute (I highly recommend you check it out for its excellent and useful information), content marketing is:

 the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.

Basically, you create content in order to sell something (your ideas, your product, your service) or obtain something (support).

I agree wholeheartedly with the theory that you should be providing information for your potential customers or supporters to make informed decisions. I am a huge fan of blogs in particular as an easy way to create and share content.

But, what about those that don’t  “do” content

That said, how do you explain the success of a content strategist I know who doesn’t even have a website, much less “content”? Or the digital media expert who has so much work she hasn’t blogged in months? Or the public relations agency that last tweeted in 2012?

And then there are the many successful small businesses (e.g., plumbers, caterers, etc.) that may have websites but that don’t usually have the staff, budget or time to handle blogging, tweeting, creating infographics, etc.

Another type of lead generation

What do these non-content producers have in common? Positive word-of-mouth. These business thrive on referrals and generally  do not rely on internet searches as their main source of leads.  (As an aside, there are referrals that come in the form of online reviews, and this is a subset of search engine optimization that relies on local search.)

Whispers by coolio-claire on Flickr. Creative Commons license.

Content is not always online

Here’s the other thing: content is not always online. Content— a fancy word for information—can be shared face-to-face, in person. What you say to others about your business helps to market your business. This is why we develop key messages and elevator pitches. This is why we attend networking events. This is why we host coffees and get-togethers.

 Yes, content works to achieve business objectives

The bottom line is that content marketing works, but it is not always the online and social media versions that are the most successful.

What are your thoughts? How much content do you produce? Is content at the heart of your marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

Are you reinforcing your message?

I had a conversation with a potential client the other day, and she was saying she wasn’t sure she needed to continue advertising as most of her customers came from word of mouth/referral.

Word-of-mouth and referrals are very powerful marketing forces, but they do not operate in a vacuum. Most people take their time making a decision, even when they have a referral (or referrals) in hand.  People often like to do some research themselves, even when they have glowing recommendations (just because a hair salon did wonders for straight-haired Jane does not mean they can do wonders for curly-haired Joan). This is why you need to reinforce your message.

Often, you need to remind your potential clients/customers of why they should consider working for you. You also need to let them know the basics: how to contact you, where you are located, who you work with, how much you charge, what your services/products are.

How do you reinforce your message? You can do it several ways:

1. Have an updated, attractive, easy-to-navigate website.

2. Have marketing materials such as ads, brochures, etc. as necessary for your target. For example, if your target audience reads specialized journals, it makes sense to advertise there. If your target walks past your store, it may make sense to have brochures or information cards available.

3. Have an updated, complete LinkedIn profile and on other social media channels as appropriate.


Relying on word of mouth without reinforcing the positive referral will not always result in business for you and could actually work against you.

What are you doing to reinforce your message?

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

The best marketing

The best marketing is positive word of mouth, no doubt about it. Think about it: If  a trusted friend raves about something or someone, you are more likely interested. Even if your friend just gives you a name without a rave, you are more likely to check it out.

Companies do not seem to grasp the importance of positive word of mouth and instead rely on expensive ad campaigns. Take Comcast for instance. They spend mucho dinero on all sorts of  print and broadcast messages, but everyone knows someone who has had a bad customer service experience with Comcast. In fact, Comcast probably NEEDS to spend that much money to overcome all the negative reviews out there.

On the other hand, no company should rely solely on word of mouth. For instance, near me there is a pizza shop. It is always jammed at lunch, which is a good indicator. However, the store does not list its hours. It doesn’t have a website, or provide menus, or have flyers in the local coupon book. Unless you are in the know it seems, you don’t know.

What are your thoughts?

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


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