Content marketing is an effective and popular marketing method, and it has found its perfect application in the cloud. Practically everyone now acknowledges that cloud computing and marketing are completely beneficial, providing cheaper and more timely services with hardly any downsides of which to speak. The industry itself is showing a steady growth, and there are no signs of the cloud bubble bursting. According to a recent IDG survey, 56 percent of the 1,400 responses said that the cloud "accelerates business value by providing access to critical business data and applications." 59 percent of those surveyed are still in the process of moving aspects of business operations to the cloud, while 33 percent said that they were satisfied with the amount of cloud computing that currently takes place in their organizations. Enterprises that were included in the survey reported that they currently spend 44 percent of their IT budgets on the cloud and predict that this will reach 51 percent in 2015. Businesses that are not taking advantage of the value of content marketing, combined with the opportunities provided by cloud computing, are missing a vital aspect of a successful marketing campaign and losing ground to those companies that are leveraging these tools successfully. The keystone of profitable content marketing is a thorough knowledge of the target audience. Proper market research lets you create content that is interesting, and interesting content is one of the top three reasons why people connect with a brand through social media. Understanding your audience and its buying cycle means collecting both demographic and behavioral information. Once this information is collected, a business can create buyer personas that clearly exhibit the traits, needs and interests of the target audience. What are their jobs, their responsibilities, the size of their organizations? What motivates them, why do they want the product and what do they expect from a company? Creating multiple personas allows a business to craft content that is highly specific and interesting to its target audience. Content, and therefore custom content, comes in many forms: - White papers - Blogs - Product demos - Interviews - Case studies - Testimonials - New features releases - Webinars (using services like BrightTALK, Ready Talk). One successful re-adaptation of its content was reinvented by Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer. Zappos used content marketing to create the massively popular ZN, an online fashion magazine available as an app for mobile devices. More than just pictures and product information, it includes reviews of products and newsworthy stories from the fashion industry. By giving its audience relevant content, Zappos was able to attract more customers and sell them merchandise directly through the magazine. Businesses can produce relevant content using services like Salesforce, a custom content marketing tool built for the cloud. Its new Marketing Cloud has been developed to collect consumer data for businesses, sort it according to metrics like brand and influencer, and respond to online consumer activity. This gives a company the information it needs to create buyer personas, and also guides the development of relevant, interesting content.
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