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Goodbye Traditional Advertising, Hello Content Marketing

4 NovemberBy Gigi Marks

Obvious to millennials, but maybe not so obvious to the older generation, content marketing has truly taken over the world of advertising - and it’s making everything a lot more exciting.

What is the difference, you ask, between ‘content’ and ‘traditional’ advertising? Well, in the most straightforward explanation possible:
- Content marketing: Focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and retain a specifically defined audience.
- Traditional advertising: The more classic marketing method that you and I know all too well. This includes mass promotion, advertisements or campaigns via print ads (such as billboards, newspaper ads, newsletters etc.).

Now, of course we do still notice and get intrigued by traditional adverts - that’s their purpose, after all - but I’m a lot more likely to turn over a print ad of a new Mini Cooper than I am to switch off a video of Tom Hardy in said Mini Cooper, going full Italian Job through Westfield shopping centre. It’s all about targetting nowadays, pinpointing who you want your customer to be and bespoking your choice of attack in order to attract them. Goodbye, optimistic billboard by the bus stop that Auntie Mary spotted before heading to Waitrose, hello Game of Social Thrones, emotion-sparking, viral video that 12 of your friends shared on Facey B this afternoon. I’m not saying traditional advertising is dead, it’s just looking very unwell.



For anyone who thinks I’m being a millennial fool and that nothing will ever beat beloved traditional advertising, here’s some eye-opening stats from the Content Marketing Institute:

  • The amount of people using ad-blocking software has reached an almighty 200 million (bad news for your expensive paid ad that looked "so promising" before...)
  • Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3 times the leads
  • 73% of major organisations have hired someone specifically to manage their content marketing strategy

And don’t you dare try and hit me with the old gem of “But we’d rather focus on traditional ads because they've worked for us so well so far.” GET THE BLOODY MESSAGE, PEOPLE. I’m sure you *may* have heard of a company called Coca-Cola, famous for their instantly recognisable branded adverts. Well, do you remember their print ad that was in your local paper last week? No. Do you remember that ‘Share a Coke’ personalised can/bottle campaign they did a few years ago? Yeah. Yeah you do. Do you know why? Because everybody and their Aunt Betty got in on the action. It worked because it made us feel special, something that we don’t often get from any company remotely corporate.

We used to expect to be shown a product, make a choice on whether to engage or not, and then decide whether to purchase or sack it off. Well, move over sir, there’s a new kid in town called engagement. He also goes by the names ‘emotional connection’, ‘innovation’, ‘quality’, ‘relevance’ and ‘value’ (but only by those who know him well). In this day and age, we have unlimited availability of equipment, ideas and resources, so anything is achievable for advertisers that are willing to get involved.

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