In today’s increasingly digital environment, marketers have moved towards content marketing – a strategic approach that emphasizes the brand over any single product which that brand sells – as the best way to boost demand and increase sales. This requires engaging and relevant content in order to succeed and, in recognition of this fact, marketers have ventured into the fields of storytelling and consumer psychology. Marketing Magazine, picking up on this trend, went so far as to name these the “must-have skills” for marketers in 2014.

Death of the Campaign?

Experts believe that the key to success with content marketing is to create content that does more than facilitate short-term sales. Rather, the goal is to craft a narrative that sells consumers on the value of the brand in its totality and facilitates the development of long-term relationships with consumers.

In a blog post, Jake Sorofman of Gartner has gone so far as to claim that “the ascendancy of content marketing will match the gradual decline of the campaign.” Arguing that traditional marketing campaigns are disconnected, time-bound and sporadic attempts at injecting demand to increase sales, Sorofman sees in content marketing a highly fluid approach that emphasizes the values of the consumer over the values of the marketer.

Although his view highlights major strategic differences in the two approaches, it seems a bit far-fetched to claim that the marketing campaign is on its deathbed. Campaigns continue to chug along as excellent drivers of engagement and, while there is certainly a need for continuous and consistent stories, all signs point to the fact that there is ample space for a dual track approach to establishing a brand’s identity.

Campaigns and Content's Complementary Relationship

By combining these two marketing approaches, firms can establish foundational tracks which focus on building the type of compelling, consistent and continuous storylines that are vital to content marketing while including timely digressions which temporarily bring fresh brand perspectives to the consumers.

The coexistence of these two strategies will offer marketers the ability to build campaigns on a fundamentally customer-centric premise, while still offering the ability to push particular products. By doing this within the context of a greater narrative, organizations will have enough wriggle room to offer a given product without compromising the core of their story.

Samsung’s recent “Football Will Save the Planet” campaign, for example, was a blockbuster success that pitched the company’s wide range of digital technologies as viable and trendy sporting devices. Despite casting their products in such a particular light, Samsung was still able to maintain its image as an international telecommunications and consumer electronics giant.

A well-executed marketing campaign that seems disjointed on the surface could alter perception and consumer behavior. In all likelihood, it would serve as a necessary reboot to undo the brand fatigue that is all too common in this day of communication overload.