3 Examples of How Customer Education and Marketing Work Together

Updated  05-02-2018    For years, we’ve believed in Executive Storytelling, and using those stories to help educate clients and customers.  Now, research bears out this positioning.  Don’t simply market to your customers; educate them instead. Now, we don’t mean offering classes and handing out degrees, but rather educating your clientele and prospects about all facets of your brand. Of course, customer education and marketing aren’t necessarily always one in the same, but there is some overlap.

While most tried-and-true marketing tactics attempt to persuade and “sell” consumers, customer education is all about informing them about important topics and trends within a respective industry. Now, part of the aim is to sell consumers on why they should do business with your company, but your content marketing efforts should mainly be focused on thought leadership — aka being seen as the go-to leader in your particular field of expertise.

Indeed, today’s consumers are looking for genuine, informative insights from the companies with whom they conduct business, although that rarely, if ever, happens through marketing alone. Here are three examples of companies that have successfully blurred the lines between customer education and marketing.

1. Educational or How-to Blog Content

Curating engaging, worthwhile website content is an opportunity to grow your business — and a surefire way to find new customers. In particular, blogging about trends and success stories within your industry can help your brand to be seen as a thought leader.

But know that pushing out a blog post or two per month won’t cut it. According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month receive nearly three and a half times more web traffic than companies that publish only a handful of pieces of content each month. But don’t just take HubSpot’s word for it.

Instead, take a note from SoulCycle, a New York City-based fitness company with studios in nine states. In fact, the company has done a great job in building an online community, with its regularly published blog posts covering topics ranging from recipes and health to style and fashion. Plus, instructor and members’ success stories are often featured in these posts.

2. Self-Service Content

Modern consumers are more connected and informed than ever before. Think about it: Seemingly everyone is walking around with what’s essentially a supercomputer in their pocket or purse. Increasingly, consumers are taking it into their own hands (quite literally) to get answers to their burning questions or discover new information.

According to data from Zendesk, more than 50 percent of consumers say they attempt — and believe it’s important — to resolve issues related to a particular product or service before calling a customer service line. Moreover, 70 percent of consumers say they prefer to scour a company’s website to get answers and information rather than by phone or email.

TireBuyer.com has taken these stats to heart. In fact, the online tire retailer makes it a point to update its website with useful content, including information on how warranties work, to help consumers make more informed business decisions. Additionally, the company also showcases relevant products on these web pages as part of its ongoing customer education and marketing strategy.

3. Emotion-Based Video Content

It’s no secret companies pull at our heartstrings through advertising to “sell” us. Of course, this strategy tends to work — and there’s a good reason for these brands to do so. According to Psychology Today, many people rely on their feelings and emotions, rather than information, to make decisions. But this is nothing new. Historically, consumers have recognized six core emotions: sadness, happiness, anger, disgust, astonishment and fear.

For example, outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia uses human emotion to showcase its commitment to and passion for protecting the environment through an educational video series. In “Defend Our Air: Vote Our Planet,” the clip begins with a shocking statistic from the American Lung Association that notes 138.5 million Americans live in areas where pollution levels are dangerously high. However, this content isn’t meant to merely heighten our emotional state; instead, it aims to empower and educate viewers how to drive social change.

Don’t Sell Customers a Bill of Goods

What makes for a good customer? The Simms Clothing company lives by its motto, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” Of course, Simms believes people who are knowledgeable about high-quality clothing will recognize they’re not only buying a superior product, but are also receiving top value in the process.

In other words, educating your customers and prospects isn’t the same as straight-up marketing to them. In that vein, take note of the playbooks of the aforementioned brands. Who knows? You may very well experience similar results.



Some articles are written expressly for The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc., and are posted to our website with links to other products and services.  Any hyperlinks are for the convenience of the reader.  The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc., receives no compensation for these articles.

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