The phrase “blunt force marketing” sounds awful, doesn’t it? But that’s still what so many businesses do – they club their customers over the head, trying to compel them to action. Not exactly the way to build a long term relationship.

The big boys of marketing –the beer companies, fast food chains and lizard-infested insurance companies that spend nine figures annually – are accustomed to winning just because they outspend everyone else. They dominate the media landscape through sheer force. They spend so much damn money that they can’t help but be top of mind for the consumer. Many marketers would tell you that is exactly the point – they’re driving sales.

That’s true to a certain extent. Blunt force marketers have spent huge sums of money in order to create awareness. And so you, the customer, are aware. But do you trust them? Or have they simply created the path of least resistance by bludgeoning you into submission?

LetsstopbluntforcemarketingIf you’re simply overwhelmed by the sheer force of advertising jammed down your throat, you might buy from a blunt force marketer. They could make the sale. But will you buy from them a second time? Have they built a relationship, or simply made a one-time sale?

Buyer’s today have an entire globe of options for making purchases. They scan the Internet searching for the perfect solution for their needs. That makes commerce, both B2B and B2C, more competitive than ever before. And customers are buying from companies that give them a little something extra, that demonstrate a commitment to helping them.

That’s really want content marketing is about – delivering extra. Through audience-focused content, organizations help their customers by providing analysis, thought leadership, and even entertainment. The goal is to build a better, longer-lasting customer relationship built on trust.

Today’s buyer’s journey is social, self-directed, trust-based, and transparent. The first thing a brand must do is acknowledge that the journey is self-directed by the buyer. The customer is in charge of this journey – she determines the pace, the path and what influences the twists and turns of the journey.

The brand should serve as a guide along this path, providing guidance and insight. The brand should nurture the relationship, focusing on the long-term rather than the quick sale. Only fools rush in.

(Quick aside: check out this report from the Altimeter Group’s Rebecca Lieb and Susan Etlinger. It focuses on the need to track areas other than revenue when judging content marketing effectiveness. The report focuses on the need for patience in content marketing, acknowledging that it’s a relationship-building effort.)

The size of your budget shouldn’t be the only thing that determines your success. Yes, it’s important, and a bigger budget enhances your chances of success. But if you’re just throwing money around and trying to beat your brand name into your customer’s skulls, you’re never going to build that longer term relationship.