By Sarah Brooks

Advertising follows us every step of the way, lobbing marketing messages at us throughout our daily lives. But as strategies have shifted over time, so has our ability to side-step whatever is thrown in our path.

Today’s savvy consumers ignore print ads, in part because readership is down, but also because readers are desensitized. Most magazine subscribers are no longer interested in vetting ads before discarding them. It’s almost an automatic reflex sometimes, limiting the effectiveness of print campaigns. Broadcast ads are similarly received, with viewers and listeners tuning-out during advertising segments. Well-used mute buttons dismiss marketing interruptions for television viewers, who are increasingly recording television programs, so they can fast-forward through commercials.

Once hailed for its distant reach, the Web has evolved into a marketing boondoggle, crowded with heavy-handed saturation ads annoying to surfers. Where curiosity once drew Internet users to explore banner ads and other clickable online sales-pitches, the novelty has left the building for most users, now adept at ignoring intrusive online advertising.

Marketers are increasingly leaning on content to add value to their campaigns, reviving a long-term customer relations strategy.

Content Marketing for Deeper Connections

Sellers and service providers remain committed to getting their messages out, but with decreasing interest in traditional approaches, marketers are looking for better ways to connect with potential customers and clients.

Content marketing uses information, rather than calculated sales tactics, to connect with customers. In essence, a content marketing campaign is a sales pitch; without a true pitch. Rather than actively selling, the strategy provides useful content, disbursed among defined target markets. Theoretically, when content marketers provide relevant information, consumers see value in products and services, without actually being “sold.”

While content marketing serves to reinforce brand awareness and consumer relations, its long-term objectives mirror other forms of marketing. By sharing without selling and keeping customers satisfied with valuable information, brands hope to boost sales and elicit loyal behavior among customers.

Content Drives Future Sales

Just about every marketing approach leans on content, to some degree. From traditional public relations campaigns, to SEO efforts driving traffic online; engaging content generates interest among consumers.

While content marketing is nothing new, clearly articulated content campaigns are being embraced by businesses of all sizes. By including such strategies within their overall marketing efforts, companies of all sizes hope to make lasting impressions no longer possible using traditional approaches alone.

As consumer behavior shifts alongside technology and social change, marketers strive to connect in new and meaningful ways. Content marketing is positioned for greater prominence in 2014 ad campaigns, and beyond.

Sarah Brooks,,┬áis a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].