Content marketing – mention the term in most countries and business environments and you’ll usually get mixed reactions. It ranges from frenzied enthusiasm (marketers and web writers) to rolled eyes and dismissive gestures (traditional marketers) to confused looks (business owners who don’t really understand what it is) and various combinations of all three.
Whether you love it, hate it or don’t understand it, the reality is that it’s here to stay. Many large and well-known international brands have embraced it and have devoted significant resources and budgets to it.
However, the use of content marketing is not limited to international brands. South African companies are also slowly but surely venturing into this area, as are companies in many other developing markets.
Are coattails doomed to extinction?
It’s unlikely that content marketing will ever completely replace creative advertising. But more and more brands and businesses are no longer relying entirely on traditional marketing methods and are investing varying amounts of effort, time and money to participate in and master content marketing.
The marketing and advertising landscape is changing rapidly, largely due to the widespread use of the internet, the popularity of social media channels and the ease with which content can be viewed, commented on and shared by users (customers).
Smart marketers will find ways to combine traditional and content marketing techniques into one highly effective advertising strategy. In many cases, this means challenging internal structures and entrenched traditional marketing practices, not to mention changing the mindset of many executives and business owners.
Size doesn’t matter
In order to stay relevant and engage with a younger generation of tech-savvy customers and prospects, all South African businesses, large and small, need to adopt a content marketing program.
One advantage of a content-based marketing model is that it is accessible to companies of all sizes and types, from large multinationals with a branch or subsidiary in South Africa to small and medium-sized businesses.
Another advantage is that it allows companies located outside of the US, UK, Western Europe and Asia to showcase their products and services to the international business community without incurring huge costs or over-complicating their existing business model.
Sharing fresh, relevant and original content is a great way for any business in South Africa or any other developing country to increase engagement with and loyalty from existing customers, as well as raise the company’s profile and awareness.