“If you build it they will come”, is a famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams. It also seems be the mantra for marketers. I am not sure when it first started, but I remember this feeling with websites in the late 90s, social media just a few years ago and now the craze of content marketing. I am not a fan of content marketing. For those who know me, this might be a shocking statement.

I do content marketing and currently use HubSpot to push out content regularly. I also tell others that if they are not using something similar to it like InfusionSoft, Pardot or Marketo then they are insane.

So how could someone be against content marketing, and promote the use these tools that preach content marketing is the savior of the marketing world who has come to redeem marketers of their erroneous ways.

It’s simple. I am a fan of marketing that connects. This can come in so many ways. It can come in the form of blogs, emails, and social media. That subset of marketing that connects is called content marketing. But there is so much more that can be done to connect brands to people. A pure focus on content can mislead you and distract you.

Recently Starbucks announced that they are adding wireless charging stations for mobile devices. I shared this with my wife and she was all over it. Why? Because it’s a pain to carry around a charger everywhere. They dangle, get tangled, and take up room. We all love this idea. We can charge our phone on these Powermat spots, enjoy a snack and do our thing.

Here is what is really interesting about this story though. My wife does not drink coffee. She never has and never will. (We’re Mormon) So I continued to ask her. If you don’t drink coffee why would you go there. The answer was simple, because “they make it easier to be there than at another place that serves pastries and juices.” I’m in agreement and that is why Starbucks is my favorite office when I’m on the road.

That my friends is called marketing that connects.

I hear all the time, why are we writing about things that having nothing to do with our core business? Why would we do this activity that does not directly relate to what we sell? The same could be said of free wifi, wireless charging stations, and power outlets at a coffee house. None of those things have anything to do with coffee, juice, or muffins. One of them is food. The other is technology.

Creating marketing that connects makes it easier to bridge the existing gap between you and your target audience. For those of might be thinking what Starbucks is doing is not marketing, but operations or something else- you’re wrong. Marketing happens whenever your brand intersects with your audience or customers. So yes, marketing is pervasive in every aspect of you business and may be manifested in the most subtle and direct means.

Following the example of Starbucks you can begin with the question, “How can we make life easier?” This is different than the question, “How can we make buying easier.” There is a fundamental difference.

We all know this and maybe sick of hearing it, but Apple is a great example of creating marketing that connects. They live by the creed to be a natural extension of peoples lives. Who would have thought in 1984 that Apple would own (what we would have called back then), the walkman segment? Or forever altered the music industry? Apple has connected what we already do to what they do and from that was born revolutions in multiple industries – many of which they do not even profit from.

So let me ask you – what can you do to connect with your target audience? Consider everything, not just what you sell. Just find out how to connect. The answer may be online, the answer may be offline and it may be a combination of the two. Once you get the answer go and do it. Go and say it.

I’m curious – what are the questions you will ask to get there? Share them with me and others.