Holistic content marketing successThe ultimate goal of content marketing is to increase profit. Sure, the ways to do that have changed. The number of content formats people value has exploded. The days of using one channel to reach an audience are over. The ways customers inform themselves, buy, share and interact with each other, businesses and content have evolved.

Content marketing success requires us to take these changes into account and focuses on what a specific group of people needs, wants, values or simply likes. In that sense, it’s not different from what good marketing has always been about.

Content marketing success: relationships and the customer lifetime value

A marketing relationship – using content – is one that runs over a longer period of time, in correlation with the entire customer life cycle and – from a measurement perspective – the customer lifetime value. It can include short-term actions/tactics and it can take many years, content formats, techniques and touches. Just think about how the content created for tomorrow’s consumers of a brand, youngsters, can cause a shift of perception today that results in more business…tomorrow as Danny Devriendt tackles at the Content Marketing Conference Europe 2014: shifts of perception, the brand, the total lifecycle, the role of social, etc. It is all connected.

A marketing relationship – using content – can also include many intermediary steps and goals (from short-term to long-term) such as growing a fan community, establishing a strong voice in any chosen topic, raising funds for a CSR initiative or building brand affinity. It is all connected too..

However, in the end, the ultimate goal of a business – and marketing – is to increase profit through all the well-known ways (and some lesser-known ways). If the profit is not there, there is nothing to do brilliant stuff with or to even pay employees. Pure and simple. Short-term, mid-term and long-term. Using more ‘direct’ techniques as in demand generation and less ‘direct’ techniques as in building loyalty and even advocacy through a multitude of initiatives and involving ‘the audiences’ – simply said, people – themselves.

Build your content marketing around mutual profit: for your business AND for your customers, in the broadest sense of profit and customers.

All the different “forms” of using content for marketing purposes – from custom publishing to search engine optimization, demand generation, etc. – are part of a puzzle to reach business goals by creating value for different audiences, regardless of the nature of that value (answers to pressing questions, solutions to challenges, the need to connect or just have plain old good fun). Again, it is all connected and plays – depending on your individual context – a key role towards content marketing success.

Know what your customers value

All the different typical elements in content marketing – from organization and planning to execution, optimization and measurement – are part of that same puzzle to achieve the different intermediary and final goals in tune with the intent, quests, needs and perceptions of the various audiences involved directly and indirectly. Usefulness or Youtility as one of the drivers of content marketing success (and overall marketing success) and as Content Marketing conference Europe keynote speaker and Youtility author Jay Baer calls it. Indeed, it is connected.

The key in it all? Know your customers. Know what they want, need, like, value. Know what convinces them. Know what moves them. Ask them, measure it, find out, involve them.

Build your content plan and content marketing strategy around it, in alignment with your brand’s value proposition as crystallized in its’ narrative, storytelling approach in a content marketing context, (re)sources, brains, voices, ears and hearts, while striving for – mutual – profit: for your businesses and your customers, in the broadest possible sense of profit and customers.

Content marketing success and customer (experience) success are two sides of the same coin.

Once more, it is all connected ‘en route’ to content marketing success. With a connected audience/customer/person at the center of it all because customer success is the best way to overall business success. Putting the customer first with a clear focus on invoking reactions through understanding and empathy and until that final reaction is reached.