In a world filled with noise, companies large and small are competing for consumer attention. Your message needs to be relevant, or the consumer will simply tune you out. Of course, you also need to make a profit and get in front of customers whenever can – and that’s where marketing and content come in. Some may say they are the same. I’m here to tell you they are not.  

And here’s why: 

The whole purpose of marketing is to get your brand, product and services in front of prospective clients — and that should be the focus of the message. Content, on the other hand, is designed to engage your audience and get their attention. And that attention is not on your brand or products, but on the content. You get their attention as an industry expert and begin to build interest and a relationship of sorts. THEN you can sell. 

Examples of content are engaging social media posts, educational blogs, or video blogs that help position key executives as thought leaders. Once the audience is engaged, and those executives start being recognized as thought leaders, customers pay attention, and everything snowballs into interest in your brands, products and services.   

The problem is that many companies, dealerships included, are so focused on their products, they neglect to offer anything of value to their audiences. They focus most of their attention towards marketing. What if the only thing you posted on social media was the vehicles you have for sale? That would get annoying, right? 

And that’s where many tend to get stuck — repeating the same message over and over, not understanding that it is counter-productive. Just like Gary Vaynerchuk explains in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” you would be wise to stop trying to knock your prospects out with every punch, but rather soften them up with compelling and relevant content (jabs) that the audience wants to read. Then, after you have their attention, go for the sale (right hook) through marketing. Stop trying to beat people over the head with marketing messages. If you don’t they will simply stop listening to anything you say – whether that’s content OR marketing – and you essentially become spam.   

I get it. Everyone thinks their products are better than their competitors and want to tell as many potential customers as possible just how great they are. But are your products as great as YOU think they are? Maybe they are… but perhaps they’re not. Do you know? It’s important to know the competition and put things into perspective.  

If a customer comes into your dealership and a salesperson can’t explain the car they are trying to buy, and why it’s better than competing cars, they will probably head someplace else. Being truthful, transparent, honest and armed with knowledge will go a long way to convincing a customer to give you a shot — and probably close more deals.  

Knowledge of your product, competition and market will give you what you need to create content that will interest your audience, craft more compelling marketing messages AND make the sale. It’s so important to earn their attention through content before marketing to them. And when it does come time for that marketing right hook, delivering a message that is truthful, transparent and believable will win the fight.