Russell Davies recently wrote about his work with the UK government to make the online experience of the website’s services so simple, enjoyable and convenient that people would prefer to use the site as opposed to, say, visiting a government building, ultimately saving money.
In his post (brought to my attention by this fantastic write up by Dan Hon on digital advertising), Davies states simply that “The Product is the Service is the Marketing,” which can be translated as: If your service is remarkable, you’ll be marketing your product.
Davies does ask the question, “But, what does this mean for BRANDS!!?” with a not-too-subtle “Nothing. Obviously.” Though he does relent on this point slightly, which I am happy to provide my two cents on.
In the world of content marketing, we often think of our tactics in two-step processes in which content is always the answer.
- Build your audience with content.
- Engage your audience with content.
- Get leads with content.
- Create brand evangelists with content.
- Promote products with content.
Content is the answer. The answer being the end of a problem.
But in reading Davies’ and Hon’s posts, I began to focus further down the line when it comes to the content we create. They highlight the middle step, which is Service.
The Product (Content) is the Service is the Marketing.
We should always be asking what the audience wants to achieve when they are seeing your brand online; that’s nothing new. But to think of content creation as a service to an end action that the audience wants to do (make a purchase, learn more or even just laugh and have something to share with their friends), it makes activating your audience easier. In other words, seeing content as a service to the audience’s end helps you create context by which they will ultimately perform your desired action.
It’s beyond adding CTAs. It’s about how you create the content as a whole. It’s a small shift, but an important one.