Home-Grown Content Marketing: Everybody’s Got Time For That
A couple of years ago Google completed a study that sought to shine a spotlight on a revolutionary shift in the way consumers make buying decisions and, in tandem, dictate our economic conditions on a daily basis. ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth as the study was coined, was presented as an update on a Proctor and Gamble study from the 80’s, which itself had been built around the notion that product placement was critical to successful brand engagement.
The enormous valley between Proctor & Gamble’s focus on product shelving and Google’s own emphasis on a new, far more educated consumer base, was wildly celebrated and literally gave rise to a new wave of digital marketer. Ironically, this focus on the consumer over the technology was actually a kind of “back to the basics” approach, when viewed literally. Sure, the technology acts as the lens through which Google views the consumer, but at its core, the Zero Moment of Truth study defines consumerism as a choice made by intelligent, informed people, in the same way the Proctor & Gamble study demonstrated the power of convenience over intellect.
But in truth, consumers are demonstrating the new model in a much deeper and dynamic way than ZMOT even recognized in 2011. While the study still has merit and Google has done a good job keeping it relevant with updated statistics and intellectual tie-ins, in the two years since its publication, buying habits have only become more one-sided as consumers strive to take complete control of their journey from Interest to Decision.
Overwhelmed by the ease and accessibility and conflicting nature of digital information, it is as if pre-packaged marketing has reached critical mass and consumers are actively rebelling. Not that they are rebelling against marketing in general, but against marketing that they weren’t invited to help create. In the age of Twitterization, in which opinions flow in 140 character bursts, consumers are so eager to take control of brand building, they devote time (everyone’s most valuable commodity) to being included in the creative process.
This desire to help fabricate the world around them (and make no mistake; marketing IS the world around us) has helped to make Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing the cornerstone of the new consumer decision making cycle. While content may be important, it’s entertainment that is truly king. Today the most impactful marketing isn’t the funniest 30 second spot during the Superbowl; it’s the most creative, funniest, unnerving or touching (certainly engaging) content that can be linked on Twitter or shared on Facebook or pinned on Pinterest or…whatever.
Dos Equis social media campaigns in which consumers are invited to become “The Most Interesting Person In The World” or Dominos Pizza’s use of Facebook to expand upon the brilliance of their reinvigoration through traditional media are hints at this new marketing universe that consumers have agreed to create. Five minute coffee breaks have become opportunities to publicly ridicule the new Brad Pitt cologne commercial while celebrating the cute home-shot two year old that sinks a couple hundred baskets in the new wireless spot.
And the more consumers agree to participate in the creative process, the more brands will ask them to do so. One has to wonder where the boundaries will materialize. How much of themselves and how much time are consumers willing to invest into their favorite brands? At this point, it appears as if everybody’s got time for that…