There are a few types of native advertising. One of them is advertorial, which like the word, is a combination of advertising and editorial content. It is designed to fit the style of the publication in which it appears. For example, an ad for a frosty beverage could be embedded within editorial content describing famous beaches of the world appearing in a travel magazine. Advertorials normally contain a call to action.
Online publications utilize sponsored or branded content consistent with the theme of the magazine in which there is no call to action. In fact, often, the only way to recognize that it is branded content rather than an actual article is that it is labeled “sponsored content”. Just as companies sponsor television shows, they can also sponsor entire issues of a magazine. One example of this was when Target purchased all the ad space, and even the cover, of an issue of The New Yorker.
Product placement is another kind of native advertising. Companies pay to have their products appear in movies or popular television shows. A good example is that all the judges on American Idol drink from cups with the Coca-Cola brand logo. The most important difference between native advertising and content marketing is that in content marketing, the company itself is the publisher.
Research shows that organizations that have a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to succeed in increasing sales. It also shows that the effectiveness of B2B content marketing declined from 38% in 2015 to 30% in 2016.
Some experts believe that there are two major reasons for this. One is that many companies conduct short-term campaigns rather than long-term programs. The other is that too many publish brand-focused content when they should be publishing audience-focused content. A Forrester survey revealed that a mere 8% of marketers were able to both define their consumer personas and identify their needs.
Knowing your audience and understanding their needs is vital to successfully guiding and documenting a marketing strategy. Above all, successful content marketing requires consistency, and documentation is what makes that possible. One of the most important trends of 2017 will be the practice of utilizing big data to better understand and positively respond to current customer bases, as well as create new ones.
Integrating Sales and Marketing
One of the best ways to learn more about your audience is by integrating the sales and marketing teams. According to MarketingProfs, companies that did just that generated 208% more revenue. Sharing information, goals, and metrics is a smart way to make the most of today’s technology.
While marketing teams focus on lead generation based on data gathered from potential customers, it is the sales team that gives that data a human face through human interaction. By marketing and sales teams exchanging information and experience, companies are better able to learn what types of interactions customers prefer.
Just as prospecting leads is less difficult when salespeople have all the information available, marketing is more effective when marketers have the experiential information that only salespeople can provide. The better the understanding of the customer, the more both customers and companies benefit.
Technology and Software
Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software provides many useful tools for helping businesses better serve their customers. It frees employees from repetitive, unproductive, yet necessary, tasks. Client data is protected by highest level of security, yet can be accessed from anywhere on multiple devices. Creating customer lists for sales promotions or rewards programs can be done with just a few clicks of a mouse. That leaves more time for meaningful interactions with customers and creating innovative ways to attract new ones.
Another reason CRM software is so valuable is that like technology, we humans change over time. The data a company gathered two years ago may or may not reflect who that customer is today. Through the miracle of automation, companies can maintain consistent contact with their customers over time and see those changes. One of the fastest-growing trends is practice management software designed for specific professions.
Successful marketing, in any day and age, requires a combination of innovation and the all-important human touch.