As marketers, we know the pressure that comes with communicating your message through advertising — balancing the sales push with providing value. But with banner ads dying and a growing mistrust of advertising brewing, it’s hard to make an impact while continuing to grow your business.
A long-time client of ours, Leggett & Platt, an S&P 500 manufacturer that introduced the bed spring more than 125 years ago, faced the same problem. Leggett & Platt didn’t take the most obvious approach to selling its products, buying ads on relevant websites and shoving its products in front of its target audience. Instead, the company focused on engaging and educating its customers through a thought leadership strategy.
The following is an excerpt from “Time to Flip the Mattress: How Leggett & Platt Reinvented the Bedding Industry Through Content Marketing.”
At its core, content marketing is moving away from talking about products and services to talking about how you can add value to your customers and prospects.
By “you,” that means you as an individual, not you as a brand.
According to a Nielsen study, 85 percent of consumers turn to expert content before making a purchase decision. Thought leadership content allows your company to showcase the people behind the brand and demonstrate true expertise within your industry.
For those who have been in the business for a while, this shift is a little unsettling.
“Great,” you think. “Thought leadership — yet another thing I need to learn about.”
But the good news is that you’re making this shift early, while there’s still enormous opportunity to develop a platform that will give you a leg up on the competition in the long run.
By becoming a thought leader now, you’re laying a foundation for your company that will be relevant for the next 10 years. If you don’t begin building this foundation, your brand will have to fight to gain a share of voice in the cluttered online landscape.