Of Haircuts, Capes, and Content Marketing
submitted by Tom Marks

I’ve always found the haircut process to be, well … odd. I get about 12 haircuts a year. Except in the 1970s, when it was far less. I don’t have much left on top, so when I skirt out of the office for an ear-lowering, the staff in unison quips, “See you back in 5.” They think it’s hilarious, and I think it’s getting old.

It seems I get my haircut by someone different each time, but that’s OK because it’s the only time I get to wear a cape. I mean, who wears a cape other than the two Jacks — Palance and the Ripper — and they’re both dead. Other than that, the haircut process seems rather benign and always begins with, “How’s your day going?” I usually want to answer, “It sucks,” but I need to be mindful that there’s a person towering over me with a freshly sharpened scissors in one hand and a razor in the other. I can answer the next three questions in the blink of an eye.

“At an ad agency.”

“Yes I am, to a wonderful woman.”

“Hah, four in college.” And so it goes.

So how does this relate to content marketing, arguably the most significant marketing breakthrough of the century? Amazingly it does and that’s what’s so amazing about it.

The first step in any content marketing strategy is to segment, understand and know the type of information your audience wants and needs. At the haircut factory, it’s all men. They like their sports, they’re probably borderline — or full-line — cheapskates, and they’re too busy to make an appointment or they have so much time on their hands, they don’t need an appointment. Mission accomplished.

Next, you need to generate or repurpose some content and distribute it to your audience. No shortage here. There are 14 TV sets, plenty of conversation — had the razor not been inches from my ear, I’d swear the conversation next to me was about the best fast food, but it could have been someone from the west being lassoed. And there are guy magazines, not that kind, but Car & Driver, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine.

And just like good content marketing, there’s a little product selling, but not so much selling as informing. They always ask me, “Would you like some product today?” I should say, “What would I do with it, put in on my legs?” As content marketing dictates, solve the unmet need. They should say, “Tom, I’ve got some product that will volumize your hair, it’s been tested on humans, not animals, and it’s organic, sustainable, and half the profits go to Haiti relief.” Sold. Know thy audience.

In content marketing, you need some type of delivery platform for distributing your relevant information. In this case, it should be a blog. Let’s go with Splitting Hairs (for the readers consumed with detail), or Side Burns (for the angry young man), or Split Ends (for the sports enthusiast), and then there’s always Hair of the Blog (for the morning-after crowd).

The point is this: if the local barber shop has the capacity to be a content marketer, chances are your business does, too. So, it’s time to take a little off the top — the top line of your marketing budget that is — and apply it to content marketing.

Tom Marks is the president and managing partner of TMA+Peritus: A Strategic Interaction Agency.

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