Nowadays, it is difficult for companies to establish themselves as more and more businesses are emerging on the market. Especially the tourism industry and hospitality industry face constant changes and new trends (Fleischer, Peleg and Rivlin (Byk), 2011). Companies need to manage and invest in their marketing strategy. Moreover, consumers have a large selection of purchasing services and products. Customers are more interested in creating new products and services to meet their needs (Ind and Coates, 2013).
Nevertheless, because of the large number of companies promoting their services or products on social networks, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be exceptional, attract consumers and grab their attention. Technology has given businesses new marketing opportunities, and companies are increasingly using social media and loyalty programs to lure and retain customers (Pulizzi and Barett, 2009).
On the other hand, because of the technological progress, all news is spreading faster, and companies can be exposed to problems on their social media platforms where anyone can read negative things form customers about a particular company. Besides, the rumour and false information that can damage the company's reputation can quickly spread.
This report aims to show what the benefits and pitfalls of using content marketing from an organizational position are today. Also, how co-creation and value creation is related to content marketing, the report will also focus on competitive advantage. All these theories are applied to examples from tourism, hospitality and event industry. The examples in this report were chosen from different perspectives. An example from tourism includes low-cost airline Jet2.com. The second example is from the hospitality industry and focuses on the luxury chain of Marriott Hotels. The last example is an event example that spotlights on a small festival held in Manchester, and it is a Latin Festival. As a result, the report can focus on comparing the use of content marketing by diverse companies.
Traditional marketing has undergone significant changes in recent years. The emergence of digital marketing required a re-evaluation of the company's marketing strategies if they wanted to remain competitive in the new digital era (Patrutiu Baltes, 2015). Rowley (2008) states that content marketing is an increasingly important part of the commercial landscape in business marketing. According to Content Marketing Institute (2019), content marketing is characterized as marketing process for creating and sharing appropriate and valuable content to attract, engage and acquire a clearly defined and understood target market, besides, to drive profitable customer action. Moreover, content marketing enables businesses to create and share content that is targeted at potential customers as well as current customers (Pulizzi and Barett, 2009).
The content marketing strategy can be distributed in many forms, such as print, in person, online, social, mobile, etc. Additionally, these forms can be used at any or all stages of the selling process, from attention-oriented strategies to loyalty strategies (Content Marketing Institute, 2019). According to Stephenson (2019), the main objective of content marketing is to create trust and confidence through every step of the purchasing process. The figure 1 shows how content marketing can influence the buying process in three different stages.
Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004) stated that consumers nowadays have many options in terms of purchasing services or products, so companies need to invest in greater product variety. During content creation, it is crucial to identify factors that influence consumers through the buying process, such as social, economic and psychological aspects. If consumers receive incomplete information, this may harm the purchasing decision. The dimension of negative impact is reduced based on the amount and relevance of the information transmitted through communication messages. The role of these messages is to encourage customers to purchase the respective goods and services. Also, designing effective content and selecting the most suitable communication tools are essential steps in creating and maintaining a product's consumer preferences. The aim of content marketing strategy is to create both short term economic effects and long-term profitable customer relationships. Companies communicate with customers through a communicational message, and so customers respond by buying a product or service. Besides, companies influence consumers' purchase decisions while consumers have an influence on companies through their buying decisions (Mihaela, 2015). Figure 2 below shows which aspects should be taken into considerations while creating content depending on the buying process and decision making of customers.
In general, there are three types of content; licensed content, original content and user-created content. Licensed content means advertising and promotional materials shared by those whose copyright is owned by the licensor. Original content focuses on custom content such as infographics, videos and daily blog posts. Whereas user-created content is any form of content posted by users on online platforms (Perry, 2019). Moreover, there are many other types of content marketing, such as social media content, case studies, blogs, e-newsletters, in-person events, website articles, videos, illustrations/photos, white papers, infographics, online presentations, webinars/webcasts, microsites, research reports, print magazines, print newsletters, digital magazines, mobile apps, branded content tools, books, podcasts, virtual conferences, e-books and also games/gamification (Content Marketing Institute, 2019).
With the considerable benefit of opportunities in terms of digital marketing, many companies have recently increased the use of content marketing tool in their marketing strategy (Patritiu Baltes, 2015). Pulizzi and Barett (2009) agree with Rowley (2008) that technology has moved the market forward and made it more accessible, which is why online marketing is rapidly improving. Also, Patritiu Baltes (2015) mentioned that nowadays, content marketing is not performed only by large organisations but also by medium-sized and small companies. At the same time, the organization has to make additional investments for content marketing to be done correctly and profitable for the organization (Patritiu Baltes, 2015).