Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

Marketing and advertising has shifted. The old-fashioned “Buy Me Now!” message doesn’t resonate as well, and is often seen as intrusive. Consumers respond better to a message that either entertains or informs them. That’s why we advocate a marketing strategy of “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” The gun of course, is the “hard sell” – and the cannoli is something sweet to offer your audience.

For our technology clients, the cannoli usually takes the form of information-based marketing. If you are in the market for a new router, an advertisement that screams “Call now! Operators are standing by! Call within the next five minutes and get a free set of steak knives!” isn’t going to compel you. What you really want is information about the technical specifications, some case studies that show how other companies have deployed it, how the product compares with other routers, and maybe some in-depth white papers on how to most effectively set up a small office network. The router company that offers that information is going to get the sale.

Now the question is, where do you get the cannoli? In other words, where does the content come from? Now I don’t think you would want to give the Godfather a cannoli from Wal-Mart, and you don’t want to give your potential clients content generated by an amateur. This is where caution is important. There are so many “content providers” advertising themselves on the Internet. Now if you look at a Wal-Mart cannoli and a cannoli made by a skilled baker from a real Italian bakery, on the outside, they may look pretty similar, but once you taste, the Italian baker who specializes will come out the clear winner. The same thing is true with content providers.

Let’s look at who provides this type of content. First of all, there are the freelance writing sites like Elance, Guru, and Freelancer.com. There is simply no way to really vet these providers, and many of them are casual, part-time, unskilled, and uneducated, and many simply do not have adequate command of the English language to get the job done. Many will even refuse to talk to you except through email. The advantage of these sites is that you can get content written cheaply, but beyond that, there is little advantage. In fact, cheap content will harm your company’s image. On the other hand, many companies resort to using in-house staff with spare time on their hands. Now having your marketing content written by your receptionist may sound like an efficient use of time, but again, it’s not going to get you the results you need. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to pay a little more to get content that works, is written by people who understand your industry, and who understand marketing.

Give us a call. We don’t know how to make a cannoli, but we do know how to write content that gets results.