content marketing beats advertisingTraditional advertising is feeling the heat from content marketing! Let's get them both in the ring to fight it out. But before we sound the bell, let's introduce both contenders. Advertising - the incumbent heavy-weight world champion of brand building. It usually exits in the form of static advertisements, either in the shape of a page in a magazine, a roadside board or short clips that are mostly seen on TV or even as other audio-visual channels. Advertising hardly needs an introduction.

Content Marketing - the light-weight challenger, known for its agility and ability to share information in order to attract and engage customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action, retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.

Round 1  -  Cost-efficient vs. Cost-intensive

Traditional advertising is costly. It makes up for a great deal of the marketing budget and since marketing managers are always keen to get bigger budget allocations, advertising is big business.

In contrast, content marketing is very cost efficient and roams freely around the media as its users share the information with each other.


Round 2  -  Measurable vs. Guessing

Although advertising has become more measurable, the advertiser still needs to choose a medium and hope it will attract the right audience. The effectiveness of traditional advertising becomes relevant after its placement. Advertisers need to carefully craft a message that will resonate, this requires market research. No matter how you look at it, traditional advertising is always a bit of a guess.

Content marketing is measurable in real time because it is mostly shared online. The instant feedback helps the creator adapt the content on the go.

A content marketing campaign is an ongoing effort of producing relevant information around a core message. When the content finds its target audience, it has the ability to turn them into followers.

One of the best ways to organize content is via a blog, which in essence is a collection of searchable keywords and an archive of relevant and specific information. Content marketing therefore has a longer shelf life than advertising

Round 3  -  Media dependent vs. media independent

Why only settle for traditional media when you can create your own channel? While advertising still needs to rent costly space in the media, content marketing aims at creating a medium of its own tailored to the interests of the target audience.


Round 4  -  Interruption vs. Permission

This may sound familiar: you are reading a nice magazine, then there is that ad page, thicker and harder than the rest. It gets in the way and makes leafing through the content slightly unpleasant.

What about those annoying pop-up banners and boxes on webpages or the commercials on TV ?

Interruption marketing is all about trying to win people's attention by getting in the way.

Produce good content and you will earn permission from the audience to continue to provide more information. In other words, your message becomes an interaction rather than an interruption.


Round 5  -  Selling Products vs. Solving Problems

Advertising is built around promoting the features a product or service. In order to identify what customers need, research must be done. As a simple example, an asset manager may be missing out on a trending appetite for higher returns with more risk while promoting safe low-risk products as a result of research that was done during a recent risk-off period.

Because content marketing enables a two-way dialogue in the form of comments, the response on the content is an ongoing real-time interaction.  Based on the instant information from these comments, the marketer can be agile in adapting the product so it can satisfy demand and solve real problems.

With the example above, the asset manager can now feature content about all its products instead of having to chose a single theme to focus on in order to avoid confusion during the advertising campaign. It will be the content that will draw the right audience to the right product or service.


So, I hope you enjoyed the 'fight'. I am obviously cheering from the content marketing corner but I'd love to hear what you think about all of this.