Tulip Day: The History and Importance of Nature's Best Marketer
Every year spring brings the promise of new life with buds and blooms aplenty, and May 13th holds a special place in the hearts of flower enthusiasts as Tulip Day.So what makes the tulip different from any other flower?
Tulip festivals are held across the country around this time to celebrate this flower, which has maintained its popularity for over a thousand years.
Approximately 100 species and more than 3,000 varieties of tulips exist today, and many of these have been created by gardeners and scientists to appeal to the public's tastes. The popularity and versatility of this classic flower over the years also holds a lesson for content marketers trying to stay relevant in today's ever-changing marketplace.
The Origins of the Tulip
While they can be found across the world today, tulips originally grew wild in Central Asia, until being first cultivated by people of Turkey --as early as 1,000 A.D.-- for their medicinal properties. However, it wasn't until the tulip came to Holland in the 1500s that it began its rise to fame. Carolus Clusius, a botanist at the University of Leiden, is largely credited with bringing the world's attention to the tulip.
Look at these clever tulips.
By the mid-17th century, "Tulip Mania" had taken hold of Europe, and the popularity and value of tulips began skyrocketing. Tulips became one of the main subjects in the art world, starring in paintings by Judith Leyster and Hans Bollongier, and were celebrated in the first-ever tulip festivals.
Around this time, tulips also became a sort of status symbol, and gardeners began to experiment, creating new hybridized versions and ever more colorful varieties of the flower. These mutations carried a higher value and were viewed as status symbols--the newer or rarer the tulip, the more affluent and influential the person. Bulbs sold for what would be hundreds of dollars in today's prices, and they even became a type of currency of their own.
However, "Tulip Mania" was a short-lived craze, and in 1637, the market crashed. Traders and those who had invested in bulbs went from rich to poor nearly overnight, as prices dropped to more reasonable levels. This crash was so dramatic that some consider "Tulip Mania" to be the first economic bubble to burst.
Today, tulips are often ranked as one of the most popular flowers, standing among the likes of roses, carnations, and daisies. New varieties continue to come on the market in response to the consumer demand for brighter, bolder colors and new hybrid versions of this iconic flower. The "black tulip," for example, was the result of more than 400 years of study and work. While the variety is really a very dark purple, it holds great appeal for landscapers who are always on the lookout for the exotic.
What Content Marketers Can Learn from Tulips
While content marketing may involve more writing than digging, content marketers can still learn how to adapt to their customers' changing needs by looking at the tulip's rise to popularity and its continued demand. Over and over, research has shown that the key to successful content marketing is to deliver a steady stream of fresh, useful content to consumers.
Your specific audience may determine whether you increase your social media presence or focus on building brand loyalty--after all, Millennials and Baby Boomers are looking for different things--but keeping a finger on the consumers pulse and changing your content strategy accordingly can boost a business from startup to successful, or simply increase brand awareness and conversion rates for established companies.
However, just knowing what your consumers are looking for isn't enough. You have to act on it, and to do this, you need to be prepared. Carry out research and find out what other companies in your industry are doing that's working--or not. If you're part of a niche market, you may need to look at big-name brands in other fields and develop a content strategy from there.
Maybe your target audience is responding more to visual content than long blog posts. That's your chance to try out new content marketing avenues, such as infographics, instructographics, and video content. Make sure you know what you want from your content as well. Wanting to increase brand awareness by upping page views, social media shares, and mentions? Or is your bottom line the main focus, and you're looking for better conversation rates and increased sales?
Whatever you do, don't forget to go back and see how your new approach worked. If you are putting your content out there and moving on to the next, you're missing a key opportunity to learn from your own attempts and adjust moving forward.
But take a lesson from the tulip and don't go too crazy. The flower is known the world over for its classic style and instant recognizability. Don't change your content so much in a bid for new business that you alienate your current customers. Once you have created a solid brand message and core values, it's important to keep to that same foundation as you adapt your content strategy and try new formats to appeal to modern consumers.
It's a balancing act to stay true to the foundations of your company and branch out into new territory, but the tulip has proven it can be done.
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