Portrait of Lorenzo di Medici

Internet needs Medici

Botticelli, Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci would not have achieved the things we enjoy today, if it wasn’t for patronage. Why Lorenzo Medici (called Lorenzo the Great) took under his wings the people who made great art instead of just multiplying his — significant already — piles of money?

You can of course seek answers in “higher tones”: his love for the arts or the desire to leave a trace for posterity. But the truth is more complex and in order to see the whole of it, we need to see the “lower tones” as well. And the most important of them is… competition.

Medici family competed for power, influence and respect with the families of Albizzi, Uzzano or Strozzi. Just like you — dear reader — compete with your market rivals. You are offering the same or almost the same, and the customer is making his decision, based on various, not necessarily rational, evidence. Think about it: if you told your customers “Michelangelo’s David was created thanks to us”, would it make them buy from you or would they go away? My money is on the former.

Content marketing is one of the main marketing trends of 2012. The differentiation strategy here is to give your customers knowledge that will help them build their companies, realize dreams or have a better life. If a customer learns something valuable from you, he will look at your products and services with a kinder eye. Especially services that rely strongly on knowledge can benefit heavily from content marketing.

How do companies start their adventure with content marketing? They begin to write a blog that — instead of being a propaganda mouthpiece and talk about the latest rewards that the company had won — describes how to better insulate the house (if you sell house insulation), how to choose the furniture for the kitchen or how to plan a marketing campaign on the internet. They upload infographics that show the most influential people of the industry or the sites that have the most interesting information. Because you need to realize that content marketing is not only about creating content. Users pay with their attention for filtering content as well. If the company looks through all the articles on insulating homes and selects only the most valuable for me, my gratitude will be the same as if they have written these articles.

The problem is that in order to jump on a train called content marketing, you need to have time and someone who can write in an engaging manner. Or do you? Internet is full of passionate people who create content related to your industry. They answer questions regarding house insulation or internet marketing on sites such as Quora or Ask Yahoo!. They create blogs about dog breeding, they publish YouTube videos with advice on how to choose a lipstick.

Why not become their Medici? The competition will not have a chance and you will leave a mark. Victory on all fronts.

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