It’s selling without hitting someone with a sales pitch.
I like the way Lukas Kircher defines it:
A brand’s communication must be so interesting that the target group uses it voluntarily. Instead of interrupting what people are interested in, marketing must become what people are interested in. (my emphases)
Amazon is famous for being customer-obsessed. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said this:
When things get complicated, we simplify by saying ‘what’s best for the customer?’ And then we take as an article of faith (that) if we do that, it’ll work out in the long term.
It occurred to me recently that the two things intersect whenever I do a rough sketch.
Here’s one for a children’s theater company. They asked me to design a poster for their production of The Elves & The Shoemaker:
It’s content marketing because I’m trying to sell an idea by making it interesting and attractive. (Instead of saying: This is what you need. Buy it.)
It’s also a chance to demonstrate my expertise: to show I’m good at coming up with ideas, laying them out, and doing the actual drawing.
Here’s another sketch showing a different title placement. I was told the set of the play would include pictures of “famous shoes” hung on the walls of the shoemaker’s shop.
Here’s where customer service starts coming into play: because a big part of customer service is making the customer aware of possibilities.
I might walk into a hardware store with a vague idea of how to solve a problem. A salesperson could present me with several better options. That’s great pre-sale customer service. I’m trying to do the same thing with my sketches.
Here’s a completely different take: kids playing the part of the shoemaker and his family, the elves standing on a shelf with their shoe-making tools.
My client liked the “shoe pictures” design best, but he also liked the idea of putting “and the” on a thimble. I just incorporated the one into the other.
We decided to use a computer font to make the title easier to read. We also put the name of the theater company at the bottom. Here’s the final:
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