The Future of Marketing

Newt Barrett

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The Secret to Skyrocketing Sales by Turning Content into An Asset

brandscaping book cover

Book Review--Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.

Brandscaping, the terrific new book from Andrew (Drew) Davis describes a powerful but practical strategy to engage your customers over the long term with unique and compelling content. This content is driven by partnerships with others whose strengths complement your own. Those mutually beneficial partnerships enable marketers to leverage the content, creativity, and audiences of other individuals, companies, and media outlets.  When these multiple entities team up to create content that resonates with customers, sales and profits can grow exponentially. These tangible benefits accrue to every member of the brandscaping partnership.  As the book suggests, that's the power of a successful shopping mall: Everyone benefits from the lure of carefully aggregated sellers of goods and services. Successful brandscaping efforts leave traditional advertising, PR or marketing in the dust. As Drew emphasizes, brandscaping isn't about vague notions of building awareness but about driving sales consistently over time. As a result, content becomes an asset rather than an expense. As Drew explains,
The simplest way I can put it, is that Brandscaping is a new way of thinking. It’s more than a content marketing strategy or a social media initiative. It’s a marketing methodology that enables you to leverage content as an asset instead of treating it as an expense.
Although Drew suggests that this is not a how-to book but a how-to-think book, I believe he underestimates the power of his content. Brandscaping delivers a clear roadmap that takes you from traditional marketing mindset to a brand-new way of thinking.  You can apply what the book teaches today to make a tangible and dramatic difference in your marketing results. In case you're still skeptical, here are three very different examples that illustrate the profit-making power of brandscaping:
  1. Lauren Luke was a taxi dispatcher in England who also sold makeup on eBay to supplement her income. In 2007, she hit upon the idea of creating homemade videos on YouTube that taught young women how to do makeup that emulated what popular stars such as Britney Spears were wearing. Her videos were not professionally done but they resonated wonderfully with their target audience of young women.  Her very first video has generated 1.6 million views on YouTube; subsequent videos have generated as many as 4 million views and all told topped 111 million views. Is that good? Well, Estée Lauder has generated only 150,000 views with a budget orders of magnitude larger than Lauren's In 2009 the ad agency, Anomaly, was so impressed with her content that they helped her to create her own makeup line. No traditional advertising dollars were involved. Soon, Lauren's makeup line was being sold at cosmetic retail giant, Sephora. As Drew sums it up: Lauren + Anomaly + Sephora = a brandscape.
  2. You might think that IBM and Alex Trebek make an unlikely brandscaping team. Not so. IBM had developed the supercomputer, Deep Blue, to be a Chess superstar. Then, they took a giant computational leap by developing a machine capable of beating the all-time Jeopardy champion, Ken Jennings. IBM documented all the steps along the way, including successes and failures in the development of the computer they called, Watson. The result of Watson'striumph was a 2011 megahit for Jeopardy, which achieved all-time record ratings and heightened global visibility for IBM.  But, much more importantly, IBM attributed a 20% growth in its analytics business as a direct result of Watson's Jeopardy win. IBM was able to prove to customers worldwide the power of its computer analytics, which beat some of the smartest people on the planet.
  3. We all know Julia Child. But, in 2002 none of us knew Julie Powell, as she toiled away as a call center attendant in New York City.  An inspired cook, Julie decided to prepare all 524 recipes from Julia Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  To chronicle her effort, Julie started a blog, www.juliepowell.blogspot.com that turned into a New York Times best-selling book. The book was, in turn, transformed into a hit movie, Julie and Julia with a screenplay penned by the wonderful Nora Ephron. This is brandscaping at its finest. Julie began with a $0 budget and created engaging and enjoyable content that benefited her, but also drove the classic Julia Child book back into prominence.  Julie was able to leverage existing content from Julia Child by transforming it into a blog, a book, and a movie.
In a 1960s Don Draper world, successful brandscaping would have been highly unlikely, if not impossible.  Established media and marketers controlled access to customers.  Although IBM could have broken through, neither Lauren Luke nor Julie Powell would have had a prayer of going from a great idea to generating millions of customers. Today, any of us can replicate their success. Here are some of the key concepts underlying brandscaping that reflect the sound advice delivered by Drew's book.

 6 Core Brandscaping Concepts

  1. Distribution of content once cost 90% of the marketing budget. Today, that has dropped to 0% in many cases. Thus, anyone can distribute to everyone. It's all about the quality of content not the cost of distribution.
  2. Expensive and inauthentic spokespeople are out. Authentic spokespeople are in. And, they can become your brandscaping partners rather than being an expensive cost sink.
  3. In a brandscaping world, the new PR isn't about one-hit wonders. It's all about long-term relationships for which brandscaping is a perfect fit.
  4. Precise targeting is essential.  If you can define a narrow audience that desperately needs your products, you can create content that genuinely resonates with that niche.
  5. Your content must be so compelling that your customers consume it regularly over the long term.
  6. Partnerships build audiences. “Finding your own content partners will not only create a powerful and endless supply of great content, but also exposure brand, products, and services to their audiences.”
Summing up: Brandscaping is a rich and rewarding book that offers a practical guide to creating great content through complementary partnerships that, in turn, will drive sales and profits. Drew's book turns traditional thinking on its head and forces us to adopt a brand-new, brandscaping mindset. Happily, it's also a fun read from 1st to last page. Go buy this book.

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More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.