As retailers compete for consumer time with a seemingly never-ending sale season, there are so many competing deals it’s almost crippling. But retailers take note; flooding consumers with cheap offers will not win you favor in the Millennial market. Smart companies have turned to content marketing, producing wonderful pieces of content that are shared and distributed by a loyal following of brand advocates, creating compelling reasons to come back again and again, and hopefully nurture lifetime value. When done right, content marketing can help your brand stand out like a shinning star through the fog of competition and connect with customers on their terms, not your own.
Here is how it works.
- First, understand your customer.
- Two, develop a piece of content that is tapping into this ethos.
- Three, use all your distribution channels to spread the word.
Smart retailers are investing in pieces of evergreen content that consumers can easily discover, share, and interact with. While this concept is nothing new, the Internet, and especially mobile and access to Internet-everywhere, has greatly decreased the price of distribution and increased readership.
Here is a strange fact: Millennials don’t want to buy from you; they want to hire you to solve a problem. They want to belong to tightly knit networks of interest groups, and connect with brands and retailers who speak to their core values. Content marketing, at its heart, is an understanding of the interest groups (both aspirational and actual) and a reflection of who your customer is trying to be and why. This strategy builds enjoyable, authentic content that isn’t trying to measure your clicks and push you towards a purchase.
It is, instead, a mutually beneficial relationship. We read your content, you present your value, and we most probably will make a transaction.
Here are three online menswear companies that are building sustainable competitive advantages using content marketing.
Mr. Porter – “Award-winning global retail destination for men\’s style, combining the best international menswear with editorial content.”
Perhaps no one more beautifully exhibits a well-structured and keenly executed content marketing plan than Mr. Porter, a division of NET-A-PORTER. Tapping into both the aspirational ethos of its customers, and defining what it means to be a well-dressed world traveller, Mr. Porter uses its weekly Journal to harness a community of devotees. From impeccably shot photos of men of the moment (all paired with choice selections from the current line), to working with outside contributors to document the current state of Made in England manufacturing, Mr. Porter shows a mature understanding of not only who their customers are, but also who they want to become.
Apolis – “A socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide”
Apolis shows the potential of a commitment of resources to content marketing can both help define what your brand stands for and also let you test a growing suite of product offerings to a niche community — built from the ground up. Long before content marketing plays were in trend, Apolis expertly identified who its core user was, and dedicated wonderfully crafted pieces of storytelling, documenting adventurous world travellers who care for function and form. Apolis, itself defined as a global citizen with a conscience, uses a combination of travel pieces, interviews, and testimonials about how the gear stands up through the far reaches of the world. The result? Apolis has created an elite community of enthusiasts, all of whom feel they are in on a secret no one knows about. As Apolis has grown from offering a few products to a full range, its content has worked as an R&D pipeline of referrals and feedback to make sure they continue to deliver on their brand mission. That mission? “Harness the power of business to create social change, founded on the simple idea that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace.”
Articles of Style – “A full-service menswear shop combining educational content, personal style advice and a hands-on fitting process.”
Dan Trepanier, aka the style blogger, recently launched Articles of Style. He started by building a devoted community of aspirational dressers who wanted to learn more about fit and the traditional rules of dressing well. Dan and his team crafted highly shareable, addictive pieces of content, beloved by a growing demographic of Millennial men. He was able to use this community to generate his own business thesis: There was a hole in the market for aspirational young dressers, who while striving for the luxury and quality offered in traditional bespoke, were priced out of that market. Because Dan was able to amass a giant community of potential customers with shared interests, he developed an online, Made in the USA, bespoke experience, pivoting from a content provider to full-on tailoring house. And so far, all that work developing content and engendering trust seems to have paid off. He recently sold out his entire collection almost immediately and has a waiting list any retailer would be salivating for.