I recently met with a marcomms Director who admitted their marketing content wasn’t as good as it could be. Internal politics and legacy staff meant their content was, as the ‘youth of today’ call it, “meh”.

“Meh” to those who aren’t exactly down with the kids, is probably best explained by Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, who coined the phrase ‘satisficing’ — the cut and shut of ‘satisfy’ and ‘suffice’.

It’s clear that the client in question has been satisficing. Simply publishing content to get something out. But at what cost? Prospects have the same nose for substandard content and experiences as us professionals. This particular client’s YouTube views confirmed as such.

Whilst writing my new book on content marketing (Donkey’s Unicorns and Rocking Horse Sh!t – The Content Marketer’s compendium – contact me if you’d like a copy) I was inspired to create my own Herbert-esque portmanteau. I coined the phrase ‘Constertaining’. The fusion of considering and entertaining.

A good example of a brand that neither considered or entertained its audience, is Toys R Us.

After eight years of financial loss, the brand finally wound it’s neck in and admitted defeat. I’m no retail or finance guru — but in a nutshell, Toys R Us didn’t excite their audience.

Whilst I appreciate previously strong retailers have been weakened by the strength of Amazon, Toys R Us certainly had the mammoth retail spaces to create in-store experiences where kids (and ‘I just want some peace’ parents) can try before they buy.

When you can’t compete on price, compete on quality. Better still, offer hands-on experiences that online giants can’t.

Even in my childhood, Hamleys was a place of wonder. And let’s not forget Tom Hanks and the giant piano in 1988’s BIG. The business just didn’t have the foresight to adapt either in-store or online.

Some credit Einstein, other’s believe the source is unknown, but the quote

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”

can be applied to the content marketing landscape.

During my previous tenure as Creative Director, I created The Worrinots — a group of characters who help children tackle their fears and anxieties. I recognised that children’s mental health had to be approached in a new way if it was going to be effective. The award-winning app is testimony that taking an alternative approach is often the best route to achieving results with tough audiences.

If your video marketing is going the same way Blockbuster Video did, then it’s time to think like Netflix. Start creating a sustainable series that people actually go out of their way to watch.

If your business bingo-lingo content is boring the audience, start talking their language — not yours.

If your creative agency is churning out the usual cheesy content (that your audience can smell a mile off) then it’s time to cut loose. BTW, if this is the case, we’d love to chat and see if we can help.

Toys R Us’ demise was a slow and painful one — dragged out over eight years. Don’t let your marketing engagement (and prospects) go the same way.

Thanks for reading!

Barry Richardson is the Founder & Creative Director of
BRAVO  : :  Creative Marketing Well Done

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