Part II of this article starts off much the same way part one did: with raisins. Dried fruits are a simple concept, but from a marketing standpoint, can be a bit of a challenge. Dried fruits don’t exactly sell themselves. They are basically ugly, dried up and wrinkly, even dead-looking, compared to their hydrated counterparts. They are often perceived as less healthy too (which as you learn in the eBook, is simply a matter of water weight).
How then to market dried fruits like raisins? You tell a story. Building a narrative around your product/service that appeals to your target market, called content marketing, has proven a very effective strategy.
As discussed in Part I, content marketing is particularly suited to millennials, who consume content and make purchasing decisions based on their sense of self. At a rudimentary level, this means they prefer to educate themselves, at their own pace, until they are ready to buy (as opposed to being “sold to”). They do this by consuming content from a variety of channels (search engines, social media, mobile), avoiding traditional advertising by choosing to receive their content on-demand.
Small Business Can Do It Too
Content marketing is wonderful because it is highly scalable. You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to implement a content marketing strategy. When eating my Sun Maid raisins and seeing the 100 Anniversary free eBook message on the packaging, I was naturally intrigued. What is this multinational company worth billions of dollars doing publishing an eBook, something my firm does for clients that net sometimes not even $1 million?
Why didn’t Sun Maid create a big advertising campaign for their 100th anniversary? 100 years as a company in America? That’s a big deal. The answer is simple: Sun Maid knows the 21st Century consumer. Sun Maid knows the millennial.
Sure, when you look at the eBook you can tell it took some planning and investment. It’s wonderfully produced, branded well with over 100 pages of content. It’s likely Sun Maid completed this all in-house, with only minimal outside input, probably saving a boatload of those always scarce marketing dollars. The great thing is they can have it sitting online, still receiving downloads several years after the initial release. In content marketing, this is called evergreen content and is a great tool in lead generation at very low incremental cost.
Not every eBook is as elaborate as the Sun Maid eBook, but they don’t have to be. Creating an eBook isn’t necessarily difficult. Sure it’ a longer form of content and has to be designed well and in a way that produces business, but any business that maintains a proper budget should be able to afford the resources to put something like this into practice.
Content Marketing Highlights of the eBook
If you haven’t had a look at the eBook yet, you really should. The Sun Maid brand is represented very clearly throughout. There is good text to image ratio, making it easy and fun to read. There is consistency, but with great design on every page. It builds a wonderful narrative, tying the Sun Maid brand very tightly to the history of America, and showing the importance of raisins and other dried fruits to culture, art and entertainment both historically and at present. The eBook appeals to several market segments as well, not the least of which is millennials.
Chapters 1-3 build the narrative, resonating with baby boomers and subsequent generations while creating context for millennials. It is very clear after viewing these chapters that dried fruits are so much more than wrinkled, seemingly dead versions of fresh fruits.
Chapter 4 is essential to capturing the millennial market, riding the sustainable “farm-to-table” trend currently sweeping the nation. The book as a whole appeals to the masses, but Chapter 4 is clearly designed for the typically younger, more health conscious, socially responsible and globally minded individual. Sun Maid is also very transparent on production and distribution in this chapter, something everyone is looking now with everything they consume, from food to mutual funds.
Chapter 6 contains the CTA, or call-to-action, although it be a very covert one. What better way to get someone to buy your product than to show them exactly how to use it in a beautiful way? The section contains recipes for almost anyone, from international cakes and breads to snacks and side dishes, appetizers and entrées containing raisins. All of the ideas are portrayed wonderfully with vivid and vibrant images.
The CTA is important in (content) marketing. You can educate all-day long with beautiful, informative content, but how will it translate to action? The Sun Maid CTA is brilliant. It’s not, “buy our raisins.” It’s “use these recipes to cook delicious food.” With the all the ingredients and directions listed, and enough ideas to impress the in-laws for the next several years, you won’t even think twice about buying Sun Maid Raisin now, or likely ever again.
If you are looking for a perfect example of content marketing in 2015, look to Sun Maid. They utilize a variety of forms of content, including eBooks, on several different channels. There is even a Facebook Page for the “Sun Maid Girl” now. By fully embracing the new purchasing behavior of millennials, staying on top of market trends and leveraging multiple content distribution channels, Sun Maid has positioned it self well to be found, and found appealing in 2015 and beyond.