your Content Marketing strategy should start with consumer behavior.
However, more often, marketers get caught up in what they want to SAY to the consumer and lose track of what the consumer wants to HEAR. What many of us overlook is basic, freshman-level, psychology that gives us the best window into the mind of the consumer. Once we break it down simply, the best content marketing don't focus on where and when of engagement, but why…
Here is my point. In the 1950’s, American psychologist, Abraham Maslow developed his famous Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy theorized that all people have 5 basic levels of needs that must be met as they ascend to “Self-actualization,” the point where they are physically and spiritually fulfilled. The hierarchy is as follows: Physiological-basic needs of life, food, water, sleep, etc…Safety – a roof over your family’s head, a job, etc… Love & Belonging – Having friends, starting a family, being accepted by a peer group. Esteem – Confidence, achievement and milestones in life, being respected by others. Finally Self-Actualization, Being a problem solver, having strong ethics and accepting the facts of life as they are.
All of your customers exist within the levels of this hierarchy. By exploring the vast differences in these levels, we're going to show you how to improve your content marketing strategies in the most important 2 levels of opportunity.
The greatest opportunity for marketers lies in “Love & Belonging”, the area where consumers are driven by the growing F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) phenomenon. Will your product or service help improve their social standing, give them a greater sense of belonging or offer them something they have otherwise been missing? For this group, your content should try to make a "spiritual" connection to this group, show that you understand their needs.
Another important need for marketers to target within the hierarchy is “Esteem,” which centers around a person’s desire to gain the respect of others, to be confident, and to feel sense of achievement. Car dealers, furniture retailers, real estate agents, and high end retail do well marketing to this segment.
Companies with the best opportunity to market to consumers in this level still seem to make the most mistakes. “But Brad, we are a business owned by 3 generations of my family who give people the best deals. Our staff is the most knowledgeable in the business and P.S….we are really very friendly. This has always been our message.” My answer to this is always the same. That is the foundation on which your business has been established is undeniably superior to most and you should never lose that. However you are dealing with What Can You Do For Me consumers so you have to market to that characteristic.
Here's an example to help illustrate my point. John is a successful, early thirties businessman in the market for his first brand new car. He doesn’t want to hear about your dealership’s low low every day prices, no hassle no haggle policy, or see your kids pitching the dealership. He’s is not looking for a DEALERSHIP, he’s looking for a CAR, and the dealership is just a necessary evil in the process. Your content strategy has to address John's needs. This is the best car you could possibly own, John. You worked hard for this car, you deserve it, and your colleagues will be super jealous...
Great content marketing needs to tell a story, and that story needs to be about the consumer. When it shifts away and the story becomes more about the marketer, it re-crosses the line back into gratuitous advertising. Understand the needs of your consumer. Start engaging them by telling their story and show them what they can gain from your business.