Content communication is marketing’s lifeblood — you can’t market without it
Ask seven different people about marketing and you’re likely to get seven different answers. But when you break it down, marketing is purely about content communication and how much and where you deliver it.
What is marketing?
What is marketing … exactly? As a B2B content marketing agency, we’ve been asked this a few times over the past year, and we thought we would present the answer in a more scientific way than the typical agency hyperbole.
Marketing is often described as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. And while that is accurate, it’s a vague, broad, and evasive answer. Another popular explanation is to give a lengthy hit list of marketing tactics such as advertising, promotions, social media, influencers, lead generation, SEO, etc. These types of answers by a marketing agency can sometimes come off sounding highbrow or flaky because it’s not helping the client understand how marketing works.
And that’s what we think clients are actually asking: How does marketing exactly work?
How does marketing work?
You might be surprised to know that marketing has a good chunk of psychology and science behind it. In 1950, psychologists discovered that, on average, the most extended sequence an ordinary person can recall on the fly contains about seven items. This capacity is referred to as the brain’s working memory. (1)
That number seven is more of a heuristics than an actual mathematical law. But it quickly became a shortcut that allowed businesses to make judgments swiftly and efficiently. Product Managers realized they could recognize patterns in their production lines and began using this theory for quality control. Companies began to understand that when prospects persistently heard about a product (seven or more times), it created buzz and led buyers towards purchasing. Marketing professionals began referring to this as the Rule of Seven. (2)
It means marketing works when you communicate to your consumers a lot–persistently, seven times over –helping them to recall your message on the fly.
And all that content communication– it is not as simple as you might think.
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What it takes to communicate
Communication is the use of words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to exchange information, ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else. And that’s what marketing is all about–expressing ideas to consumers.
So let’s break down how we communicate, specifically how we learn to communicate.
From day one, your brain learns how to communicate through observations, experiences, and feedback.
- At birth, babies learn the power of speech by the reactions of adults around them.
- At three months, babies listen to voices and sounds heard around the home.
- At six months, babies respond to their names, recognize their native language, and understand tone.
- After nine months, babies can understand a few essential words like “no” and “bye-bye.”
- By the age of five, a child will learn approximately 5,000 words. (3)
By the age of five, a child will have experienced 1825 days while learning approx three words per day.
Parents are taught that a child needs to hear a new word 4 to 12 times before it is added to the child’s vocabulary. (4) Education experts found that for a new vocabulary word to make the journey into the brain’s long-term memory, a student must be exposed to a word in timed intervals, 17 timed intervals to be exact. (5)
So that Rule of Seven is really more like the Rule of 17.
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It becomes harder to learn around the age of 12 because the chemicals in the brain change during puberty. By the time one reaches 25, the brain patterns solidify, and learning becomes even more difficult. (6,7)
The brain continues to learn almost one new word a day until middle age. Then vocabulary growth basically stops. (8)
What this means for marketing is that repetition is necessary for recall. If you want adult consumers and prospects to remember your name and information about your products, you are going to have to invest in content communication efforts, probably way more than you thought.
Now that you understand the importance of repetition, let’s talk about getting someone’s attention to listen. This is where marketing gets a whole lot harder. Marketers today are challenged to gain consumers’ attention in a highly distracted world – full of mobile devices, social platforms, and videos at their fingertips.
And here’s the catch: a consumer’s brain can consume only so much information before it becomes fatigued.
Every day a person consumes 105,000 words.
Although one can’t read 105,000 words in a day, this is the estimated number to be reaching the eyes and ears of consumers every day. Your brain is consuming approximately 23 words per second every day. After adding pictures, videos, games, etc., the brain absorbs a volume of 34 Gigabytes of information per day on average. (9)
Now, think of the brain as a massive connect-four game with 105,000 open slots and every word being a disc dropping into an unfilled column. As marketers, we compete for space in those 105,000 slots–in every one of your consumers and prospects. And your competitors are trying to gain those slots too.
Want to know what 100,000 slots look like? 100,000 dots
Thank goodness for that Rule of Seven and the fact that we only need a rough handful of those 105,000 open slots. Seven doesn’t sound so bad now.
As marketers, it’s our job to communicate and gain the attention of your consumers, express ideas to your prospects, and repeat the message enough times as necessary for them to recall your message on the fly.
Content communication is queen*
Engaging content should be everywhere your customers are – social media, newsletters, blog posts, case studies, videos, whitepapers, webpages, and infographics all fall under the content communication marketing umbrella.
When this task overwhelms you, we are here to help develop content and more. Blue Star assists marketing departments with conceptualizing, building, and implementing online marketing campaigns. We produce rich blog content, comprehensive social media strategies, and creative eBooks to attract customers to your site.
Contact us for more information on how to get started today.
*We’re a female-owned, female-led B2B content marketing agency