A funny thing happened on the way to the forum….

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By now you all know we are ‘content junkies’, we make it , we consume it in large quantities and also evangelise about our world of ‘content’. We are not the only ones we know but we try to add a little extra by telling you about other people whom we think are doing a good job….and those who are lacking in the execution.

Many blogs like this one will espouse the virtues of engagement, communication, mobility and the like but often it is merely a re-hash of other peoples research. We like to do to three things with our original content…yep , other than making it original!
Firstly,we have opinions of our own ( not someone else’s) and secondly,we like to make predictions about our future role in this mad world and finally, we like to see what all the theory looks like in practice and showcase it if we can.

Today , I went with my family to Liverpool city center to shop for clothes, no reason to be in awe I know but as we were heading for the parking lot we came across this:

Cool! What’s all this about? well it seems the clever marketing folks at Liverpool City have initiated a series of street based activities designed to bring the city to life and to entertain shoppers like us as we spend our hard earned money.

Now , I must confess, I have never shopped at House of Fraser on a regular basis, more likely to pop in around Christmas looking for something special. The clever thing about this is that I had to go in , speak with the assistants ( who were very helpful and approachable), spend a moment looking around with my wife ( DANGER< wallet was twitching with nerves at this point!) and pick up the equipment for the children to use. No forms to fill in , no e-mail list to 'join' , no special promotion to take part in , no anything except a big smile and good wishes!

I tell a lie!!!! I left with more than that , no not my wife’s shopping, but a hugely positive experience from the House of Fraser…it is just so very refreshing to see a real piece of content marketing in action , to see it blend into the fabric of the place , to see something done to better the shopping 
experience without trying to demand information from you at every turn…well done House of Fraser!

On closer inspection of the table I saw the other sponsors of the project , a QR code which led me to a website , all in all a refined and discrete way of getting a message across. I dictated the interaction from start to finish….take note all ye who harvest customer lists thinking that there is a God given percentage of names on that list who will fall for your ‘special promotion’…… that number is dwindling daily and this is where you should be.

We then carried on after a 10 minute break , a break in which we also noted the existence of a host of other high end stores in that particular area, towards the parking lot. Now this short-cut I often use will be less of a short-cut in future and more of a destination….interesting!

No sooner had I finished chatting with my wife saying what a simple and cleanly executed marketing promotion that was …when we arrived at the top of an escalator to be met with this:

Now this was not a professional pianist paid to entertain the public, this was a project called ‘tickletheivories.org‘ where pianos are left in public places waiting for members of the public to sit down and play. I have seen these in airports where everything is under tight security but not dotted throughout a busy city center……. great idea , again making the shopping experience more pleasurable.

As you might imagine , Liverpool is awash with music and theatre, the locals are very entertaining by nature and there is a buzz about the place but recently the shopping areas have been upgraded to destinations rather than places where you have to go to get your stuff. Restaurants abound , clubs, hotels etc all serve to make the city center ‘the’ place to be…what is great to see is that rather than marketers trying to squeeze every last penny out of people they have opted to enhance the experience and add value to the day.

This is content marketing in practice , this is how it can be done and in situations like this …should be done!

see you on the long and winding road….. Patrick

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