There was once a time that I actually said that “if you are a small local mom and pop retail business, you don’t need a blog or a sophisticated content marketing program”. I furthered that with statements like, “If you are doing an exceptional job on social media, you don’t need a blog.” Years later, nothing could be further from the truth and the data will prove to you that B2C content marketing is required.

Now at the time (approximately 5 years ago), this was fairly accurate. Even the smallest local retailers could be very effective within social media and use it as a part of a silo digital marketing strategy that focused exclusively on social relationships, brand and product promotion. In light of the changes that social media has gone through over the last 5 years as well as the consumers evolving purchase journeys and the growth in the amount of content that is being generated and shared on social platforms, my views have migrated quite dramatically about B2C content marketing.

Even small, local retailers are going to have to make content marketing a normal part of their marketing efforts and do it really well to compete.

B2C Content Marketing Is The Norm

In fact, only 14% of North American retailers state that they are not deploying content marketing. That means that 86% of B2C brands are doing some form and level of content creation as a part of their digital marketing efforts today. Are you in the minority on B2C content marketing? The revealing study reported on by eMarketer shows a continual transition toward content marketing normalization since 2012.

Though it has fluctuated between 90% of brands utilizing some kind of content creation strategy within their retail brand, down to only 76% from 2012 to today, it is clear that content marketing is becoming part of a broader business strategy that is outside of just a campaign focused tactic.

B2C Content Marketing Changing Approach

B2C budgets are showing that they are remaining steady over the past several years. B2C brands appear to be making content marketing a more stable part of their overall digital marketing spend, rather than a campaign driven component. This seems to depict a change in philosophy, where B2C brands are shifting toward making content marketing a normal part of their business approach. In fact the eMarketer report showed that some 75% of brands surveyed stated that they intended to use content marketing as an ongoing business process.

Making B2C Content Marketing Part Of Your Business

One of the biggest challenges that startup, small and mid-sized B2C brands face when implementing an effective content marketing program is resources. The time, expertise and budgets that are required to make content marketing effective across multiple digital channels isn’t as easy as many think. Consistently producing relevant content that is effective requires more than a blog post that your boss or your buddy thinks is “good”.

In order for your retail brand make content marketing effective, it requires a commitment to a few important things:

1- Commitment to a new business approach:

Whether your B2C brand has been toying with content marketing or you have not yet taken the plunge to make it an important component of your marketing efforts, it’s going to take a commitment. If content marketing is going to become an effective part of your company’s marketing, it is going to require that company leadership recognizes the critical role that content marketing plays in today’s digital world, that your competitors are either already doing it better than you, or ultimately will be. Furthermore it will require company leadership to embrace content marketing as a broader part of a new business of approach.

2- Commitment to allocation of new resources:

With the commitment to a new business approach comes the realization that effective content marketing requires expertise. Not any blog post will get attention, rank on search engines and drive traffic into your store on onto your website. There are an enormous amount of details, know how and requirements to creating excellent content. Making the commitment to the required resources, talent and expertise to make your B2C content marketing effective is required.

3- Commitment to building distribution channels:

Content without distribution is like having amazing food without customers to eat it. If content marketing is going to be effective, building multiple distribution channels that gets your content in front of customers and prospects is a must. Building email lists, social media relationships and search rankings are just a few of the distribution channels that require constant attention. A commitment to building distribution channels goes hand in hand with an effective content marketing program and is evidence that your B2C content marketing is becoming part of a larger business strategy.

4- Commitment to multiple digital channels: integrating

Finally, if you are going to make content marketing effective for your retail B2C brand, you are going to have to commit to a larger integrated digital marketing approach. Content alone can’t be most effective unless it is highly integrated with multiple digital marketing channels that are all working together with an integrated and strategic approach. Utilizing multiple digital marketing channels properly, in conjunction with exceptional content creation is the only way to make each component highly effective.

Making the commitment to content marketing in your retail B2C business is no longer something that you can afford to put off. With 86% of B2C brands utilizing content marketing at some level, whether you do it or not is no longer the question. The question you should be asking is, do you have the commitment to out execute your competition online with a highly strategic and integrated content marketing program that is driven by a broader business approach?