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Content Marketing: The Next Level

Content marketing has been one of the major buzzwords this year. While Bob Hoffman (The Ad Contrarian) seems to think that nearly every firm is focusing on content the wrong way (read here), and that the firms already getting their Marketing strategy right will continue to do so even with content, he's missing out on the fact that content need not just be online.

Content can be everywhere.

Content can be in everything a firm does and not just restricted to their online marketing efforts. This is evident from the latest efforts by Marks & Spencer. They're spending precious marketing dollars on a campaign that might actually end up curtailing demand for their products. In the short term. They've taken up an initiative to recycle old clothes, and are urging everyone who wishes to shop at Marks & Spencer to take a look at their closet, and bring in a piece of clothing to be recycled for every new piece of clothing that they wish to buy. Have a look at the ad:

This is content marketing outside just the digital realm. People are growing more environmentally conscious by the day and Marks & Spencer is providing a very good outlet for recycling old clothes. This is not unlike what Nokia did when it started a campaign asking people to turn in their old phones for recycling while buying a new one. I see this catching on with other major retailers as well.

The idea behind content marketing is that a brand should provide valuable information to customers/potential customers at regular intervals, building their brand equity along the way. This is a buzzword today because this is felt to be more effective than traditional (intrusive) advertising.

So why stop at delivering value online? Brands should make delivering value a standard operating procedure. The mere fact that this is not done by most brands today will give positive media attention to those brands that take this route.

It is a commendable initiative by Marks & Spencer in taking content marketing to a new level. It is good to see a brand focusing on the long term, even if it is at the expense of some short term profits. 

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