Know your market well enough to give them the bottle, not the money

I was in an elevator recently, listening to two others talk (there was only three of us there so I couldn’t really help it).

The woman said to the man, referring to her feelings about receiving different birthday gifts, “Don’t give me $25 – give me a $25 bottle of wine. If you give me $25 dollars, I’ll be like ‘what the hell? That’s all I’m worth?’ But if you give me a $25 bottle of wine, I’ll be like ‘wow – a $25 bottle of wine – cool!’”

Relatedly, best-in-class content marketing is about providing valuable content (regardless of the type) to your clients and prospects. To be more specific, it’s about providing valuable content as judged by the audience to be valuable, not as judged by the organization providing the content. From the conversation above, we know that the woman (i.e. the audience) attaches a lot more value to a $25 bottle of wine than she does to the money itself, even though each is monetarily worth the same. To her, there’s added value in the bottle.

For content marketers, the only way to figure out this distinction is to know your audience so well that you can clearly distinguish what they value. That will, in part, be determined by knowing what problems they have and how important they are – the more important the problem, the more valuable the solution will be. For the above-mentioned gift recipient, she may have had the problem of either really liking wine but not knowing what’s good OR not being able to justify buying a good bottle for herself. Either way, and whether the gift giver knew it or not, he was solving an important problem for her with the bottle and thus giving her added value.

As a content marketer, it’s your job to figure out the problems your audience has and provide them content that helps solve those problems. If you’re able to really understand those problems and the value to your audience of solving them, you’ll always be able to give them the bottle, and not just the money.