3 C-Words That Marketing Clients Need To Understand Now

By Arienne Holland, Raven Tools

Selfie may have been the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2013, but for marketers, the word was content.

Photo credit: Theis Kofoed Hjorth via Compfight cc

Before it even started, Copyblogger’s Brian Clark proclaimed 2013 the year of the online writer, and he hasn’t stopped preaching the importance of content since. Google stepped up its focus on quality content with three updates to how it displays search results. Even Facebook got into the game in December, tweaking your News Feed to emphasize more serious, thoughtful articles than Grumpy Cat photos.

In turn, many marketers added content marketing to the list of services they provided clients. But do clients really understand what content is? If you asked any given client of yours to define it in 10 words or less, could they?

What about other new tech words? Do your clients know the difference between the Internet, the cloud and iCloud? In the rush to embrace social media, did your clients fully comprehend the importance of the call to action (CTA), especially for social marketing?

They should. Clients aren’t likely to pay for marketing that they don’t understand. A little education about these three C-words will go a long way toward getting better buy-in on your proposals — or even securing a bigger budget — in 2014.

Consider this your C-word cheat sheet:


Photo credit: angelocesare via Compfight cc

Definition: A generic word for the parts of a campaign that need to be created, promoted and maintained. Instead of being called articles, videos, photos, graphics, songs, slideshows, whitepapers, polls etc. individually, they’re called content collectively.

What else marketing clients should understand:

People prefer one type of content over another, depending on where they’re seeing a marketing message. For example, on Facebook, photos rule. On a website, you need words at a minimum, but videos can help you sell even more products. If you’re buying advertising online, you’ll want to be sure that the words and images in your advertisement match the words and images on the page that people see when they click the ad.

When any marketing agency proposes to help you with social media or online advertising or a website, ask what content they plan to use. Essentially, you’re asking in more detail what “stuff” they plan to create. Good agencies can answer this question broadly in the beginning, and in specific detail after they have developed a unique plan for you.

Finally, like a garden, content needs to be maintained. What content stays good year after year without much attention, and what content needs to be planted annually? Not everything you plant is an evergreen, so you must have a plan for regular pruning of outdated content. You’ll also need a plan to keep your content fresh and current, adding in new pieces to keep people interested. Who’s going to do that?


Photo credit: nosha via Compfight cc

Definition: The cloud is another name for the Internet.

What else marketing clients should understand:

Yes, it is just that simple. No, the cloud is not a new invention. The cloud a.k.a Internet a.k.a. world wide web is an electronic network created by connections between hardware worldwide. What’s new is the idea that everyday people can access everyday software entirely via the Internet — the cloud — without ever needing to put it on their personal, physical computer’s hard drive.

To be clear, cloud-based software <em>does</em> live on physical hardware somewhere — just not on the individual customer’s computer. Instead, it’s stored on servers that a software company buys and maintains itself, or on servers that it rents from another company, such as Amazon.

Using cloud-based (Internet-based, web-based) software can make marketing easier and more affordable. How? Instead of needing to install software on individual computers or pay for seat licenses with serial numbers, a marketing agency can use cloud-based software to:

  • Store memory-hogging marketing content, such as photos and videos, somewhere that won’t slow down working computers (e.g. DropBox)

  • Share documents quickly with clients, even getting approvals and signatures entirely electronically (e.g. DocuSign)

  • Manage projects and to-do lists (e.g. Basecamp and Wunderlist)

  • Collaborate on email, SEO, social media and other marketing campaigns across a team, with everyone accessing the same data in real time (e.g. Emma and Raven)

  • Even Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator software — the workhorses of marketing and advertising campaigns for years — have become entirely web-based.


    Photo credit: garryknight via Compfight cc

    Definition: An acronym for “call to action,” CTA is the link, button or phrase that encourages a person to do what you want them to do.

    What else marketing clients should understand:

    If your marketing doesn’t have clear CTAs attached to it, then why are you doing it? Marketing needs a purpose, especially social media marketing. Tweak your message or until you get the best possible CTA. If you can’t think of a good CTA, then chances are that you don’t have clear goals for your campaign. Go back and establish goals, then come up with the best possible CTA.

    Because while these CTAs are a good start…

    • Follow us

    • Please retweet

    • Pin this

    • Share this

    …the ultimate goal is to get people to take one of these actions:

    • Buy now

    • Sign up

    • Subscribe

    • Contact us

    At every turn, especially online, you should be encouraging your customers to do something that will help you achieve your business goals.

    Just because a way of marketing to customers exists — email, or social media, or blogging, or anything else — doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Use the marketing method that best achieves your business goals, and make sure that you have the right CTAs to drive the actions you want.

  • arienne

    Arienne Holland is the communications director at Raven Internet Marketing Tools. She divides her time between outreach, email marketing, writing and understanding developers. (The developer thing is a work in progress.) Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. Say hello to her on Twitter at @RavenArienne or on Google Plus at +ArienneHolland.