It is time to dust off the good old FCB grid, developed in the 1980’s by Richard Vaughn, Senior Vice President of Foote, Cone and Belding Advertising. It can help you fine tune your content marketing strategy and put your efforts where they are likely to do the most good.
HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES?
The FCB Grid is a method for positioning of products or services, based upon what kind of engagement they are likely to activate among customers. There are two axis in the FCB Grid: High vs Low involvement, and Think vs Feel
- HIGH INVOLVEMENT: more research (often expensive products)
- LOW INVOLVEMENT: less research (often cheap products)
- THINK: intellectual consideration
- FEEL: emotional consideration
By plotting your products or services into this matrix you get a visual representation of how people will engage during their buying process. This is very useful when you design your content strategy, since it also indicates how much time people will be willing to spend with your content.
As you can see there are 4 fields in the grid. Let’s take a closer look at the attributes of these fields and how they affect your content marketing decisions.
1. HIGH INVOLVEMENT + THINK (important stuff)
Buying decisions in this field are characterized by serious consideration of pros and cons. Customers invest time to compare different alternatives, but they are not very passionate about what they are going to buy. Example products: banking services, car tyres and vacuum cleaners.
Content strategy: people will be searching for content when they are about to buy, but you can’t expect them to continuously follow your company or your industry. Produce a medium volume of factually-oriented content and make sure to complement organic traffic with paid traffic.
2. HIGH INVOLVEMENT + FEEL (cool stuff)
People are not only willing to spend a time with your content, but they are likely to enjoy it! Your products are associated with pleasure and . Example products: cars, vacation and arts.
Content strategy: This is the sweet spot for content marketing. Customers will read articles or watch videos long before they make their purchase, and stay curious way after (often to seek confirmation for their decision). An “always on” strategy with high volumes of content makes perfect sense, but not at the expense of quality (will have a detrimental effect on the lust factor). Chances of organic traffic are good, but add paid traffic to inspire people who did not yet know they “need” your product. And to ensure you outperform your competitors; you will be up against a lot of great content!
3. LOW INVOLVEMENT + THINK (practical stuff)
People want to pick the right product but decisions are not important enough to spend much time researching the options. Example products: detergents, tools and stationery
Content strategy: This is the most challenging case for content marketing. Neither passion nor importance will make the target audience spend much time with your content. Expect no organic traffic. Focus on creative campaigns that you boost with paid traffic.
4. LOW INVOLVEMENT + FEEL (transient pleasure)
These are less costly products that people like, but don’t care enough about to research. They buy, consume and move on. Example products: ice-cream, flowers and candy.
Content strategy: Produce low to medium volumes of short, entertaining content, reminding people about your brand. Unless your content is so good it may be viral, you will need paid distribution to get sufficient reach. More campaign and less “always on”.
The FCB Grid is not a scientific model, covering all cases. You can most likely find people who are completely absorbed by health insurance issues, and therefore happy to read through every little article on the topic. But the Grid is a fast and easy way to explore alternative strategies, that may not have been obvious at a first glance.
If your content marketing is not performing according to plan, maybe you are producing the wrong content for the wrong situation? Bring your team together for a brainstorming session based on the FCB Grid, and see what new ideas that will come out of it..