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Customer loyalty is a fickle beast, with only 28% of customers loyal to brands, according to research from Accenture. As a result, marketers are left anxiously fretting over customers’ actions or inactions, much like a teenager trying to decide whether their crush is going to ask them to the homecoming dance.
Successful content marketing starts with a plan, strategy and a deliberate set of actions. However, many
companies report that they don’t have a defined plan for content marketing. Effective content marketing for utilities is driven by frequent posting to blog sites about topics that are keyword-driven and centered on issues that interest both business and residential utility customers. Utility marketing should also take advantage of social media as an additional channel for reaching customers with content that casts the utility as a thought leader.
B2B marketing teams report spending more than 25% of their budget on the creation, promotion and delivery of all forms of content intended to drive leads, enhance brand presence and reinforce their authority.1 Despite allocating more of their budget to content marketing, some companies engaged in B2B marketing don’t always remember that content is most effective when it’s set on a deliberate course. Content marketing tends to be most effective when it is a customer-centric, goal-oriented communication model to attract and retain B2B audiences. Here are 5 reasons that B2B content marketing may be devolving instead of evolving.
Here’s an unsettling truth: There are just as many ways to mess up a marketing communication as there are ways to make it stand out from the rest. Here’s another unsettling truth: Most people don’t need a marketing background to detect a poorly executed marketing communication.
Fast Company1 has published the numbers: Social media is the No. 1 activity on the Internet. Even though social media continues to grow in importance, many utilities are still struggling with the best role for it within their marketing mix. It’s difficult for many utilities to make the connections that will engage customers. Social media for utilities is often limited to notifying customers of outages or potential weather patterns and general corporate information. While that’s a good start, utilities can capitalize on customers’ innate interest in useful, practical and even educational information. This is, after all, the Information Age, and users’ desire for self-serve solutions aligns to content marketing.
The purpose of any marketing game is creating a brand that promises a great experience for the consumer. This was a complicated task even in the heyday of traditional marketing, such as telemarketing, print and television ads. In the current climate, however, it's even more difficult for a utility to get its message in front of consumers, let alone try to build a brand. With Mashable1 reporting 200 million people registered to "No Call" lists and 86% of people skipping TV ads, marketers are left wondering if they’re wasting marketing budget dollars when using traditional communication techniques.
This shift in consumer habits is the reason that digital marketing and content marketing for utilities is emerging as an effective utility marketing tool. According to the Content Marketing Institute2, 86 % of successful marketing departments understand content marketing's value for branding enough to have someone in charge of content marketing strategy. If you're still not sure that content marketing for utilities is the right approach for improving your utility's brand perception, here are a few ways the strategy has already proven successful.
Your company has revamped the website, built up an archive of valuable material, started a blog, launched some landing pages with downloads and created a content schedule to be promoted via social media. Now you're ready to start driving traffic. But how long will it take for that traffic to arrive? For many reasons, content marketing tends to be a mid-term strategy rather than a short-term one. The reality is content marketing can take time to get traction. It’s important to remain consistent through the initial phase and not give up.
Utilities are a need, not a want. Most people don’t think about their utility and the utility’s services except when something doesn’t work (e.g., the lights don’t go on) or when they receive a bill. This means that it can be hard to get customers to engage in energy management and energy-efficiency initiatives, or other programs that require active participation. This is one of the key reasons that utility marketing can be such a challenge.
However, there is a movement of customers becoming more knowledgeable about how they use energy. New codes that require businesses to install equipment that complies with energy reduction standards, consumer interest in greening and general environmental awareness are all contributing to increased engagement around energy management. This movement is opening the door to a new way of engaging customers using content marketing for utilities.
Utility and energy marketers, like most marketers, are constantly considering how to find the optimal balance between traditional and new media forms. With the shift from traditional forms of media, digital marketing budgets have increased. According to Gartner, 25% of the average marketing budget is spent on digital marketing, with almost half of the budget dollars going toward content creation and management.1