These days you hear a lot of talk about content marketing. Generally, the talk focuses on a company’s online marketing efforts, but the fact is, whether you’re using direct mail, email, or online platforms, what you say is important.
That’s why you’ll hear marketing experts and gurus say things such as “Content is King.” They’re right, of course. If you have the wrong content—if you’re talking about things that aren’t interesting, pertinent, or helpful for your target audience—you’re wasting your time and your money. On top of that, you’re probably creating a poor impression with the very people you’re trying to win over.
That doesn’t mean, however, that your presentation (how you deliver your message) isn’t important. It is. Let’s take an example from the retail world. If you look at the way Nordstrom’s presents their message it’s quite different than the way Walmart does it. Guess what? Both companies are very successful—because they know their respective audiences and deliver their (different) content in very different ways.
It’s not just your audience, however, that shapes the way you present your messaging. Sometimes it’s the message itself (the content) that helps shape the way the information is delivered.
If you’re communicating with an audience that already knows you and trusts you (and that could be current or past clients, or even prospects who have responded to past marketing efforts), you can use email to inform them about special events, or to direct them to a specific offer on your website, or to opt in for more information. It’s a quick, inexpensive, and minimally intrusive way to further engage with people who have already told you they are interested. If you try the same thing with an audience that doesn’t know you or trust you, your message won’t make it through.
Another example of the message shaping the presentation might be a “Save the Date” card mailing. This is something that can apply to everything from retail to non-profit organizations. People expect to get invitations in the mail. It feels right. Plus, a physical piece of mail (a card or an invitation) has a certain amount of “stickiness.” People will hold onto them and keep them on their refrigerator at home or on their bulletin board at work (something that an email or a Tweet just can’t match).
So, which is more important to your direct marketing success: Content or presentation? The answer of course is that both are important. Start by making sure that your content (your message) matches what your audience really wants to hear. Then makes sure that the way you deliver that message (your presentation) fits both your audience and the message you’re presenting.