Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Your Brand Stategy: Six Flags or MoMA?

In Innovation on May 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Every day I become a bigger believer in content marketing. I’m still exploring what it means, or can mean, so I end up trying out a lot of analogies. This morning on the way in to work the following occured to me:

Traditional Marketing is like Six Flags, Content Marketing is like the Museum of Modern Art.

Traditional marketing so often relies on the Big Event. A launch with a celebrity, a big payoff at the end of a promotion. It can be like a ride on a rollercoaster for consumers. It’s exciting, then there is a big drop off; then it’s exciting again, then there is a drop off. Up and down, hot and cold, engagement and then no engagement.

Do you want your marketing to look like her...

Do you want your marketing to look like her...

And of course no trip to the amusement park would be complete without cotton candy. No nutritional value, no real anything except a sugar rush (and the subsequent crash). Sort of like those clever TV adverts with talking animals or other CGI graphics that you really enjoy, but can’t quite seem to remember what brand it was in support of.

Then, as you’re just about ready to leave Six Flags you stop to get a souvenir. Maybe a pin or key chain, or one of those wacky hats with a crazy brim. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the key chain ends up in a junk drawer and the hat is in the back of the closet.

Now of course, there’s the long drive back home. Plenty of time to think about the high cost of going to the amusement

...or this guy?

...or this guy?

 park. For a family of four admission can be $160.

When your Six Flags program is over, consumers might have had a good time, or they might have gotten sick on the teacups. Chances are they won’t give your brand a whole lot more thought, at least not until you figure out a way to get them back to the park.

But what if your marketing program was more like an art museum? What if, instead of putting your consumers on a rollercoaster, you walked them through room after room of deep, contextually-rich content? So much content in fact that most people couldn’t even take it all in in one trip? No long line to ride Colossus, just a leisurely stroll, at your own pace, engaging with the content.

Now take it to the next level – don’t just let your consumers wander aimlessly, provide them with an audio tour – a podcast if you will – or even better have a docent that can answer any questions (kind of like a Twitter feed).  Layer more content on top of the content, further deepening the connection with the consumer.

Now, before they leave, consumers should stop off at the museum store. No junk there, just beautiful books that they’ll leave on their coffee tables or fine art prints they’ll proudly hang on their walls. With the museum located in the city, it’s not too hard to get to, and kids under 16 get in free at the MoMA, so just $40 for the family. (Pssst, go on Friday night, 4-8pm and the whole family is free!)

But this isn’t about Six Flags and MoMA, it’s about content marketing and eveything good about Social Media: relevant content, engagement, sharing, even the free economy.  The amusement park model of marketing is broken, it’s time to provide museum-quality content and interaction.

Come back tomorrow, I’ve got an idea on how to radically re-think the amusement park by making the focus on content.

  1. […] This post was Twitted by Sirjohn_writer – Real-url.org […]

  2. Rick…I really like this. While reading it, I was thinking more of the campaign mentality of the many large marketers out there. Content marketing is a continuous informational flow to customers, so it naturally falls outside the traditional campaign. That’s why many marketers and agencies have trouble grasping it. What? Not part of the campaign?

    Whereas a campaign usually revolves around a product or service offering (as you note), content marketing is all about the customer’s needs, and the positioning of valuable, relevant and compelling content that solve customer challenges (positioning you as a true resource, solutions provider, leader, etc.).

    Great stuff Rick!

  3. While I fundamentally agree traditional marketing is making way for a better model, you unfairly compare the worst of traditional marketing with the best of social media. At its best, social media is a welcome change. At its worst, well, I get that cotton candy taste in my mouth again, don’t you?

  4. Hamilton,
    You raise a fair point, and certainly there is a good amount of traditional marketing that is good and effective. But conceptually, I think a lot of it takes the shorter term approach.

  5. I for one am glad there are a lot less beautiful art museums than brands as I could never get to, or through them all – a neverending frustration! And to be honest, I don’t want a guided tour from my brand of garbage bags, but I’d welcome one from my favourite brand of high end clothing.

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