Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity, B2B marketing agency says, “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them. Traditional marketing is focused on direct advertising in a bid to grab the attention of an audience for a brief span of time. However, content marketing is a technique used to attract and engage an audience for the long term by providing them with information of real value.”
Content is (Still) King
Yes, content is still King and likely always will be. Why? Because it’s focus is at the heart of what customers need, want and value. And, in a highly competitive online world driven by SEO (or more appropriately, “brand optimization”), evolving search engine algorithms increasingly favor content that answers consumer questions and solves their problems.
In our two previous articles, we discussed what Integrated Marketing is and the various communication channels that are available to senior living marketers today. Now, let’s talk about the effectiveness of your (consistent) message and how it resides on those channels.
Is What You’re Saying What Your Customers Really Care About?
Years ago, one of my Marketing Management course professors at the Wharton School, Thomas A. Robertson, Ph.D., now Dean of the school, defined marketing as, “the engineering of customer satisfaction.” Implicit in this exquisitely simplistic definition is that marketing is all about the customer and the relevant solutions your customers are seeking. What your customers want and value should be driving your message content!
Dr. Robertson also discussed the value and particular effectiveness of “demonstration” marketing (aka “problem-solution” marketing). With this approach, you identify your customers’ primary needs, problems, concerns, questions and preferences and then demonstrate how your particular brand (or in this case your senior living community) solves their problems or meets their needs – and does it better than your competitors (brand differentiation).
Simply put, your customers’ needs, concerns and even their fears should be at the core of, and the inspiration for, your content marketing. This holds true for both traditional marketing channels, such as print ads, as well as the newer media, such as Facebook and Twitter that enable two-way communication.
What Then is “Context” and What Role Does it Play?
Context refers to the way your message is adapted and fitted to suit the unique characteristics of customers and the various distribution channels, i.e. the media, you have selected for your integrated marketing strategy. Your basic message always stays the same, but the context, or manner in which the message is presented can be customized to particular interests of your customer and the medium being used.
Alex Boyce, Director of Technology and Online Marketing for SageAge Strategies says, “On some social media, there are restrictions on content length. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and not more than 115 if you use an image. Therefore, your message has to be formatted in a way that fits the medium yet is still consistent and compelling. It may not be easy to convey your desired message in only 140 characters, but if that is a medium your customers utilize, the challenge is worth the effort.”
Behavior also differs on social media than, for example, a print ad or a direct mailer. Where an ad or a direct mailer talks at the person, social media should always be conversational and encourage customer interaction and engagement. The beauty of social media is that, managed effectively, it can create familiarity, trust and confidence in your overall brand or individual community.
One definition of context marketing is, “delivering the right content, to the right customers at the right time.” Context refers to a more detailed picture of your customer that enables you to target your message more accurately based on the information about your prospective customers’ primary motivations, areas of interest and point on the purchase continuum. Is the prospective customer just beginning to look into Memory Care Assisted Living or are they at the point of comparing social engagement activities and wellness programming at various communities? Having this context for your messaging enables you to be much more responsive,helpful and efficient.
New online technologies are significantly improving a community’s ability to deliver the the right content in the right context. For example, “remarketing” is an innovation that uses “personal interest coding” technology to send a packaged set of pertinent banner ads to people who have visited your website – unbeknownst to you. Based upon their page viewership, your message context can be personalized to best suit their interests and needs, much like you see with Amazon.com and leading retailers.
Message Relevance + Message Consistency + Message Context = Better Results
The bottom line? A consistent, context-based message that responds directly to your customers’ problems and needs, that is translated effectively across all selected channels and provides your community with a powerful tool for achieving your integrated marketing objectives.
Expert Help is Available
If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in increasing sales through a fully optimized, integrated marketing strategy, we encourage you to contact us for more information. SageAge Strategies is an award-winning strategic growth and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the senior living market and was recently named one of INC. Magazine’s fastest growing companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 / firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us on our website at https://www.sageage.com/.