15 July 2015

Marketing Insights for Reaching the Military: What is Content Marketing?

David Yoo, RallyPoint Civilian Careers.

Content Marketing Military

"Give them quality. That's the best kind of advertising," said Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey Foods Corp. 

Hershey, in the 19th and 20th century, was speaking about the market he was catering to (at the time, fans of chocolate and sweets) when he acknowledged that the quality of the product being delivered would result in a positive feedback loop. Happy consumers buy chocolates for themselves and for family and friends, who all learn about the delectable treat packaged by Hershey's company. 

But times are different now, and although word of mouth remains powerful, mass media has made advertising both easy and difficult for companies to market their products to target consumers.

This isn't to say that Hershey's advice has withered as a result of changing social and business environments. In fact, Hershey's advice is more relevant today than ever. The quality that Hershey was referring to is now applicable to the content being produced by marketers in order to attract consumers, not simply the quality of the product itself.  As Danielle Sacks correctly pointed out, "the Internet has turned what used to be a controlled, one-way message into a real-time dialogue with millions." Gone are the days where marketers flash their products on newspaper ads.

Marketing to veterans and members of the military is no different. The insight of 21st century digital marketing is that there is an ever-growing emphasis on the quality of the content being created. 

Content Marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Some of the forms used to create this type of content includes infographics, webpages, podcasts, videos, books, ebooks, blogs, apps, white papers, presentations, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

A sample infographic created by RallyPoint.
The simple key to understanding the core of content marketing (and thus attracting prospective consumers) is value

What makes something valuable

What is valuable content marketing, anyway? 

Content is valuable when individuals want to read/watch your content. 

Old Spice Content Marketing: Commercial Video Campaigns

For example, millions of people have gone on YouTube to watch the "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" video. The commercial has garnered more than 51 million views, and its content was brilliant, humorous, attention grabbing, but above all else, valuable to the consumer. Old Spice has been able to attract the attention of thousands of consumers on Twitter due to its approach to viral marketing using valuable content. Old Spice's social media presence has grown due to a series of numerous commercials starring Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews. One thing is certain from their marketing campaign: consumers found value in watching these commercials and many undoubtedly keep the brand name in mind when they browse through the aisles of a supermarket or other health and pharmaceutical retail chains.

As you may be able to glean, this type of focus on producing valuable content has become an increasingly important and necessary component of many companies' marketing strategy. Take another example of a hugely successful content marketing campaign which, on top of appealing to the general public, has also branched out to targeting military families and veterans. 

Lego Content Marketing: Successful Film Campaign

Do you remember watching The Lego Movie in the theatre? You essentially paid to watch a 101 minute commercial for Lego brand toys. Pablo Smithson from The Guardian made the point that "As a product, Lego is for kids, so the Lego marketing team's main challenge [was] to make their products appealing to children; however, it is the parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and godparents who hold the purse strings. This is where the joy – and the genius – comes in: The Lego Movie is a ripping adventure for kids, but is also great fun for adults."

The rave reviews that the film received and the ensuing craze for Lego clearly boosted the company's sales. According to the Wall Street Journal, "revenue in the first six months rose 11% boosted by 'The Lego Movie' products, making it the biggest toy company in the world by revenue and profit, ahead of Barbie-maker Mattel Inc."

As for targeting military audience, especially successful was Lego's strategy of coupling the film's success with its special discounts and free admissions to various Legoland amusement parks for veterans and service members. This was particularly successful because, as a joint research study by Stacy DeBroff and MilitaryOneClick revealed, "military families seek relaxation and rejuvenation through destination vacations to resorts or amusement parks, and nearly 60% head out for vacation time one to two times per year. Moreover, half of all military families will plan their travel based on the availability of discounted pricing for service members." 

Now, you might be thinking that your company or department cannot afford to spend millions of dollars on viral content marketing campaigns like other larger businesses.

The good news is that you don't need millions of dollars. You just need to create content that is a valuable source of information or inspiration to your consumers. There are many different avenues that improve your visibility, your target, and your mission when it comes to content marketing, and there are many things you can do without a million dollar budget. 

Check out some of RallyPoint's unique Business Services here and have access to more than 740,000 members of the military and former military on our social network. 


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