“Panty Dropper.” It was the late 1990s and those two words were stenciled in Old English font on the back of a lowrider. This truck definitely deserved that title. The long, sleek truck had hydraulics under the tires and three sets of wheels on the back axle. Eight sexy tires hitting the pavement on chromed out rims. Blue lights under the body of the truck and velvet covered seats on the interior.
Yes sir, this car was a panty dropper if there ever was one.
You didn’t get much sexier than that.
I parked my car next to that truck almost every day for the two years that I was working at a heating and air conditioning company in Northern Virginia. While I was focused on driving millions of dollars of new revenue, Travis was one of the technicians servicing our clients. Apparently his truck was getting him laid a lot more than me and my Honda S2000.
Remember those days? The days of The Fast and the Furious — the original?
We dropped our cars to the ground and added shiny rims, lights, and a custom paint job. And boy did the girls swoon. (“Ooh La La” as Britney says.)
But it didn’t take long for us to move on to something else. And now the days of the lowrider are all but gone.
It’s not sexy anymore.
￼And my buddy Travis isn’t driving a truck with the words “Panty Dropper” anymore.
That’s pretty much the world we’ve come to when we talk about content marketing. Do you remember when you first heard the words “content” and “marketing” together?
Probably on a webinar, right? Maybe at a trade show or a conference that you were attending.
But do you remember how sexy it sounded the first time you heard it? It kinda took your breath away, right?
But think about it now.
It’s kind of like Travis’ lowrider. It’s not sexy. It’s not dropping panties.
It’s become stiffly formulaic, manipulative, and self-serving. It’s hard to have a healthy, sexy relationship that’s based on cold formulas and selfish behavior. It’s not good for the bedroom, and it’s not good for the boardroom.
But that’s the status of content marketing right now.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are a few things to think about:
1. Patterns matter. But people matter more.
It’s pretty damn incredible that our technology lets us analyze the number of links that prospects click on in the emails that we send them. It’s pretty cool that we know when someone opens an email and at what time and where they’re at when they do it.
That’s cool. But a lead score in an emotionless CRM isn’t the same as a heartbeat. Truly effective marketing isn’t just about lead scoring. It’s about love — which is why the best content you can deliver is a smile, a handshake, a kind word, a full response — not a hurried “get off my support queue” message.
Take time to engage your community. They are people with opinions, problems, feelings, and a need to be heard. They aren’t just targets you can manipulate into giving you money.
2. Results don’t lie. But conclusions do.
Usually, the numbers you’re looking at in your marketing process are the right numbers. They add up. The results that you are getting are the actual results that you are getting.
However, the conclusions you come to looking at those results are not as clear.
It takes a lot of time and commitment and creativity to build thought leadership in any industry. It’s insane to think that you can create a PDF or an infographic or a blog post and immediately get the undivided attention of your ideal customers.
Remember, it always looks like what you’re doing isn’t working until it starts working.
The numbers might say “No”, but the right conclusion should be “Not yet”. That’s important to remember.
3. Delight is more charming than determination.
It’s easy to write content that sends drip emails to your prospects on a regular basis.
You are determined to stay in front of them — and that’s a good first step. But it doesn’t make prospects swoon. In fact, it’s all too often annoying, condescending, and downright enraging.
Focus on being unexpectedly delightful.
What can you do that completely disrupts your prospect’s negative perception of being manipulated by you? The rest of your industry is sending “Last Chance” emails and “3 Hour Only” discount parties that are just confusing and distracting your ideal customer.
How about a human to human discussion about how you can help? People want to know that they matter — and not just as a dollar bill in your bank account. Create marketing content that is educational — but most of all “delightful”.
Feel it. Push it. Run. Do it.
Helen Keller is often quoted as making the observation that “the most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or heard, only felt.” Without much scientific evidence backing that up, most of us would agree with her.
Understand the emotions of being appreciated and the value of feeling loved and respected. There are moments when our emotions are so all-consuming we are left speechless.
If you were around to see Travis’ “Panty Dropper” lowrider in the 1990s, you might of had a moment like that — where all you could do is shake your head and marvel at the tradecraft you’re looking at.
It’s time to turn the discussion around content marketing to getting back to “sexy”. It’s time to care more, be more, show more love — to make people feel special again.