Should Content Marketing be about Brand or Sales?

According to a new study by the PRCA, 91% of Comms Managers view the purpose of content marketing as ‘customer engagement’. Building on that, Marketing Week’s analysis (incorporating the PRCA’s findings) is unequivocal, concluding: “Customers trust businesses providing useful content that informs and educates rather than interrupting their lives, but it must be linked to brand and not sales objectives.” Marketing Week’s analysis will be music to the ears of every PR, Marketing and Brand Manager but is that a case of turkeys voting for Christmas? Ask a CEO and I’m pretty confident that he or she will say the role of Marketing is to help deliver sales, whether that’s directly or indirectly – in which case the role of content is indirectly linked to Sales objectives. No buyer will ever want to make a purchase decision without being informed first and content fulfills that need throughout a buyer’s journey all the way to an outright purchase. At each step, relevant, engaging content that educates is a ‘must have’. Each time a potential buyer consumes this content, it should reinforce the Brand objective – however, all of this has to be in the context of making a sale somewhere down the line, otherwise what’s the point of the business? In most B2B organisations ‘Brand’ objectives aren’t directly linked to ‘Sales’ objectives which is to the detriment of Marketing’s position in the business. Content Marketing must be about both Brand and Sales. By using content marketing to connect ‘Brand’ to ‘Sales’, businesses can align the needs of Sales, Marketing and the Board in a way they haven’t been able to do so before; to create a very measureable and very powerful outcome. To find out how you can connect Brand and Sales in your content marketing programme, try out the Octopus Group Content Marketing diagnostic.