Guess what? Consumers know that they are being marketed to. In response to this heightened awareness, they’ve even begun to block out the traditional world of marketing. Their DVR has given them the power to skip television ads. They’ve become numb to banners when online surfing, knowing how to take in online information without becoming distracted. Instead of fighting this, brands need to embrace a new approach to marketing.
Content marketing is a technique of creating and sharing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage with a brand’s target audience. It appears less self-serving—it goes beyond traditional promotions and new product news. Instead, it’s content that is informative and entertaining that your customers truly need and want.
Many restaurant brands are already integrating this into their overall marketing strategy but only a few are doing it really well. The key to getting it right is first understanding your customers and their needs, as noted in a recent QSR Magazine article.
Joe Pulizzi, a content marketing consultant and founder of the Content Marketing Institute says many quick serves jump into content marketing and create content because there are so many channels available. “That is the worst reason in the world to create content,” he says. “You need to really figure out how each piece of content you create is going to help your customers improve their lives.”
Chipotle, the darling in the fast-casual world, best exemplifies brands that are embracing and succeeding with this approach. Ever heard of a little video called “Back to the Start” or “The Scarecrow?” These short animated videos have both been viewed over 7 million times online. The only mention of Chipotle was in the closing credits.
Beyond their success using videos, Chipotle just hosted their third annual Chipotle Cultivate Festival in Chicago, San Francisco, and Denver. The purpose of the event isn’t to sell more burritos but rather to encourage discussion about sustainability and food impact while promoting the efforts of local artists, culinary and beyond. From chef demos to family activities to indie rock performances, the event attracted tens of thousand of festival-goers.
“It’s important that any form of content marketing is used genuinely, rather than as thinly veiled advertising attempts,” says Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold.
So take a cue from Chipotle’s playbook, make it your own with your customers in mind first and foremost, and do so with honest intentions.