Marketers have been lying to us for a long time. They’ve systematically destroyed our trust. So we stopped listening.
Their response? They doubled down on the tactics and tricks. They keep hounding us and interrupting us with commercials and pop-up ads. Is there any site that doesn’t have a pop-up now? They keep stalking us with creepy banner ads and purchased lists.
There’s no respect, there’s no relationship. They just shout louder and louder in the hopes that someone pays attention.
It’s an arms race of sort, one that doesn’t have a good outcome. More noise, less trust.
We can do better.
Looking back at the first 30 episodes of this podcast, I’ve been doing some reflection. I realize that everything I’m trying to teach here—everything I know about content marketing—it’s all about running your business the right way. It’s in everything you do, from the quality of the product you produce to the way you talk about it. It’s how you treat your customers and how they treat you back.
If done right, marketing is just a story. It’s a narrative that includes you and your customer. It doesn’t have to be about lying or misrepresenting or tricking people into buying something from you. I think that this is why people have labelled it “content marketing,” to separate it from the scorched earth of advertisers’ lies.
Content marketing just “feels” better from both sides. You, the business, are actually doing some good while you’re marketing. Feels good to help people. Your (future) customer is happy to hear from you, because it’s valuable. It’s a nice relationship. Trust builds.
Where’s the marketing, then? It’s simple. People buy from those they trust. Once you’ve earned trust, it’s a logical next step for your audience to start becoming your customer. Yes, it can take a while. But that bond is a lot stronger when you allow people to come to their own decisions.
In the analog world, this strategy would never work, because it doesn’t scale. But that’s all changed now. Network effects are powerful, and if you can move up the chain from awareness to trust to advocacy, your business can explode. Scale is possible without “economies of scale” thinking anymore.
So while the big companies pour money into shouting at people who are not listening, do better. Use the network to connect directly. Make the first move. Do it with a genuine intent to help. It’s a lot more soft-touch, but it’s also a lot more effective too. But the best part is that you can feel good about what you do.