Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Comments on 'Youtility'

I just finished listening to the recording of Jay Baer's keynote presentation, "Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype", at Content Marketing World 2013 and I've got to say, I'm inspired.  I'm a huge believer in 'Youtility'.  'Youtility' is the title of a book authored by Jay, but more importantly, it is a concept or perhaps even a philosophy about marketing by helping people in the target audience be better.  I understand this is a broad definition, but it is a good definition by which to judge your content.  If you ask yourself and your team this question, "will this piece of content help the people in our target audience be better?", it will put you on the right track towards effective content marketing.

These are a couple of key points/quotes I wrote down as I listened to Jay's presentation:
  • Just be useful.
  • Be the best teacher.
  • Those firms who become the best teacher in their competitive space will eat everyone else's lunch.
  • The problem with most content is that it's about you.
I know from personal experience that the type of content marketing described by Youtility works exceptionally well. I recently worked for a global electronics manufacturing company making electronic devices that measured humidity.  How boring is that?  The product was perceived as a commodity in the eyes of the target audience.  Sales relationships were the only differentiators in the marketplace.  Advertisements talked about reliability, accuracy, robustness and global leadership.  Every competitor said the same things about their very similar products.  We shifted from a strategy of promoting products and their related attributes to a strategy of education.  Believe it or not, humidity is a tough measurement. Certain processes like semiconductor or drug manufacturing require very stable environments which require very reliable measurements.  Our customers were frustrated and perplexed with measuring humidity.  We decided to educate the people in our target audience about how to make a better measurement of this pesky parameter, humidity.  The response was tremendous and the business began to grow at a much faster rate! 

This company gained top-of-mind awareness and increased credibility within a commoditized market.  We gave away white papers, application notes, seminars, webinars, calculators and more about how to make a better humidity measurement asking nothing in return.  We didn't talk about the product, we only talked about how to make the measurement.  Our audience loved us for it and it worked to grow the business and gain market share.

Take a look at  your business from a new perspective.  Identify a specific expertise within your company and figure out how that expertise can be given to the people in your target market in order to help them be better at what they do.  You don't have to be the only one with the expertise, just be the best teacher.

One last thing, buy Jay Baer's book, Youtility.  You'll be glad you did!