You may be asking yourself why a book about digital marketing strategy has a chapter about business models and brands. There’s a good reason for that. You can’t really begin to determine your content marketing strategy until you determine how your company generates revenue and retains loyal customers. After you understand that, you’ll know what your customers find valuable in terms of products and content. You’ll be able to deliver the kind of content that keeps your customers engaged and buying.
Oddly enough, some companies don’t really understand the business they’re in. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Your company could be one of them. Many C-level managers fully understand what their product does, but not what “job” (or jobs) it does for their customers. If you don’t know what job your customers are hiring your product to do, you won’t fully understand what your customers want.
Separating Your Business Model from Your Brand
Your business model describes how you make money. This concept is inward facing, meaning that you look inside your company to see what drives your revenue. You consider operations, suppliers, and all the things that go into delivering a sound product.
Your brand is what your company means to your customers. Regardless of how you make your money, your brand is defined by the connections it makes in the minds of your customers. You take into account things like customer data, retention, and buying habits to determine what your brand stands for. You can declare what your brand means to your customers, but you can’t make them believe it. They tell you. On social media, this message is amplified a hundred-fold.
Understanding the business you’re in
To understand the role your products play in the life of your customers, you need to grasp the concept of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD). It was developed by Clayton Christensen, who is well-known for his theories on corporate innovation and disruption. As his website explains, “Customers rarely make buying decisions around what the ‘average’ customer in their category may do — but they often buy things because they find themselves with a problem they would like to solve.”
Christensen illustrates how companies can find the solution to the JTBD problem by detailing how he dealt with this problem for a fast-food company. After analyzing its customers’ demographics and asking them about their favorite milkshake ingredients, the marketing department of a fast-food company still couldn’t figure out how to increase milkshake sales. The company asked Christensen to help.
Affiliates are people who agree to sell a product (or service) online for a fee. The key to creating a successful affiliate business involves developing an audience interested in a particular topic and then finding and recommending products you think they will like. The less work that you put in on the effort, the less likely you will be able to sustain a business that relies on people trusting your recommendations. Affiliates can also promote one specific product and provide content that supports and enhances it
Online retailers are the model you’re most likely familiar with. A vendor offers goods available online and ships them to a buyer. The vendor may also have a group of vendors who supply his goods, which he then ships.