Video: Should You Invest In Content Or Advertising?

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt, CEO of Truly, has over 20 years experience in market research and strategy on both client and agency side. She wrote one of the first books on how the social web is changing business, was named one of 2013's Entrepreneurial Women to Watch by Entrepreneur Magazine and one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in Fast Company. She has built an engaged and enthusiastic business audience online of over 345,000 followers, including a significant number of thought leaders. Tara combines a data-centric with a human-centric approach to building an audience, leaning heavily on insights into consumer patterns and behaviors while keeping an eye on online trends and changing expectations.

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I once received a phone call from a potential client who had been sitting on a proposal we had put together at his request. It went something like this:

Him: “I loved your proposal and I’ve been wanting to do a content strategy for a while. I know that you guys are the best…but…”

Me: “Is there a problem? We stuck within the budget you requested…”

Him: “Yeah…so…I also talked to a Facebook marketing agency and am also looking at their proposal. It’s the same amount as you quoted me, but it’s all in ad spend. And they can guarantee me impressions and click-throughs.”

“Is there anything you can tell me that will help me tip in your direction? Maybe you can cut your quote down?”

I took a deep breath and answered: “Listen. We don’t make guarantees, but I do have several case studies that show that our approach to content – that includes paid ads on Facebook by the way (it didn’t only focus on FB, either) – decreases cost per lead and increases qualified leads. We’ve reduced ad spends for multiple clients, while concurrently increasing loyalty and repeat purchases. The quote we gave you was our minimum.”

After we hung up, I sent him an email with actual numbers and proof of what I told him, but I never heard from him again. I assume he put all of his money – which wasn’t insignificant – into Facebook ads.

I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised. I’ve heard this many times over the past few years. “We have no money for strategy building or content,” while they are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads per year. While I understand the desire to get instant results, like any form of advertising, those results decline over time (and go away entirely when you stop paying Facebook). We recommend investing in both content and ads (both of which we do – and we make sure the two tactics complement one another) in order to get in front of your desired audience quicker while connecting and building long term relationships with that audience that go far beyond the end of Facebook.

This video talks to those case studies and brings up the reasons why thinking about this in terms of content OR advertising is the wrong approach.

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