A blog series on Shopper Marketing

By Cyndi Pyburn

In my last blog, I shared some great examples of how successful brands connect with their customers with valuable and entertaining content that often goes viral (enviable outcome). Brands benefit from exceptional social media planning and content in terms of awareness, affinity, respect, awe and hopefully sales.   I hypothesize 2015 likely promises to be a year where brands more than ever seek to create and share valuable content.

Content marketing upsets traditional marketers as it requires a very different way of thinking and operating. It challenges the traditional marketing model in so many ways.

  1. Pull rather than push. No mass advertising but instead attracting the customer to you.
  2. Entertain and educate. Traditional marketing is focused on selling. Content marketing is focused on engagement and creating conversations around the brand.
  3. Ignore product features and benefits. What? You never mention either in content marketing for the same reason above.
  4. You are a publisher. Hardly in a marketer’s zone. Procuring content is critical.
  5. ‘Always On’ – Moving away from being campaign focused to ‘continuous’ marketing turns traditional marketing on its head.
  6. Culture shift. Think publishing culture ….. reporting, editing, photographing, storytelling …. a world away from corporate advertising.

How does a marketer shift to a media mogul?

I gave an example in my last blog of Red Bull which is an Austrian company founded in 1987 and sells the most popular energy drink in the world – 5.4 billion cans as of 2013. Whether you believe in energy drinks or not, they have an impressive following of loyal fans. The brand promises to increase performance, concentration, reaction speed, vigilance and even well-being.

To pull customers in, Red Bull’s international marketing campaign targets young men mostly with extreme sports. These range from mountain biking, BMX, motocross, windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, cliff-diving, surfing, skating, freestyle motocross, rally, Formula 1 racing, to breakdancing. Red Bull uses sponsorship, music and videogames, and has enlisted celebrities.

To entertain customers, it hosts a plethora of events and contests like the notable Red Bull Flugtag (German for ‘flight day’). Mobile games such as Red Bull X-Fighters keep the brand top of mind. They have learned to entertain first.

To tell the story, it is not with taste or flavour claims but a host of sponsorships of people, teams and events that involve people exceling at or appreciating extreme physical activity. Showing the ultimate in “energy” in so many ways, the Red Bull sponsorship program is aligned with the company’s brand aspiration. They create conversations around their brand … by sharing amazing photos and embedding videos that are ‘epic’.

To be ‘always on’, Red Bull sponsors a ton of events that are captured on media. By understanding the re-purposing of content and social networks, Red Bull’s name is across all media channels including social, search, email and traditional mass media. In fact their YouTube channel has over 600 million views putting Red Bull in the top 5 sport producers on YouTube. They are everywhere, all the time.

To shift their culture, Red Bull has become a bona fide media company, earning a plethora of marketing awards.   They have learned to monetize content by licensing some of their images and selling their movies.

Disruption in traditional marketing departments will continue at an alarming pace. Ask yourself: is my marketing role adapting to this new paradigm? Is my brand ‘always on’? If not, it’s time for new ways of thinking.