Aug 7, 2018

Content Shock Is a Branding Opportunity

We are living in an interesting time. There is more digital content being produced every day then there are human hours available to consume it.

Mark Schaefer predicted this would happen in 2014 with his seminal article, Content Shock. He wrote, “The amount of available web-based content (the supply) is doubling every 9 to 24 months … However, our ability to consume that content (the demand) is finite.”

Content ShockContent Shock is changing our consumption behaviors. Not too long ago, let’s say 2015, it was common practice to subscribe to email newsletters, “Like” Facebook Pages, and follow people on social media. This was driven by FOMO, fear of missing out. A steady stream of content was helpful and even entertaining.

Fast forward to 2018, FOMO isn’t all that influential, at least from a marketing context. We’re overwhelmed. Instead of subscribing we’re unsubscribing, deleting, and filtering our inboxes. There’s just too much content being thrown at us on a daily basis.

Instead of subscribing, customers are bingeing.

In 2016 I noticed that customers would binge before they buy. I wrote, “When a buyer has a major purchase to make, they read everything! They download your white papers. They watch your videos. They search your blog. They engage with you on social media. They read the review sites. They binge on everything.”

Customers binge before they buy to mitigate their buying risks. It’s like putting on armor. The more you know, the more secure you feel.

I am now noticing a new behavior. Bingeing is becoming a standard part of buying, and even mundane purchases can trigger a binge.

I became acutely aware of my binge behavior when my wife incredulously asked, “Are you seriously watching beard videos on YouTube?”

In my 41 years I have never once attempted to grow facial hair. Sure, I’ve let it grow for two or three days, but never as a fashion statement. I was just being lazy. But this summer I decided I was going to doing it. I was going to grow a beard.

I won’t bore you with my beard journey story. It’s really quite lame. But I did notice I was going to Google and YouTube to answer my naive questions. How do you avoid the itch? How do you trim your neck? How do you avoid looking like a douche?

Of all the sites I visited one brand stood out, Beardbrand. They had tons of YouTube videos and content that answered all of my questions. Soon I found myself bingeing on their content. I was learning stuff and it was entertaining. I was also buying.

Beardbrand incorporates their products into their content in both product placements and advertisements. They are unabashed at promoting their brand, but it works. The content is great and the products are relevant, and as a result I followed their recommendations and bought their products.

You can do this too.

Companies that facilitate the binge are creating a competitive advantage:

  1. It’s a branding opportunity. You create trust and build relationships when you offer valuable content that answers your customers’ questions.
  2. It facilitates the sales process. Content is fulfilling the role of sales people. It’s educating customers and guiding them towards purchase decisions.

Both behaviors help to grow your brand and drive sales. This is very effective, tangible marketing that solves a defined customer need — the need to binge.

Binge behavior started with big ticket or high risk purchases, but now we’re seeing buyers binge on the littlest things. Like me bingeing on $15 to $50 purchases of beard oil and clippers.

This is creating a substantial opportunity for every brand. How can you help your customers get educated and answer their questions before they buy? The brands that do this best are achieving a competitive advantage.

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