Customer-centric content: Are you marketing or making friends?

It may have been that marketing patterns have changed, or they stayed the same. As far as I'm concerned, online marketers are not paying as much attention as they should. I'm talking about the constant question of how to produce content that people will actually read or seek online. There are thousands of ways to generate content. But what is it that people are really looking for?

Skift.com puts it succinctly in its latest trend report: People go online to be informed, entertained, and inspired--not sold.

Enough said, right? Any good online marketer worth his/her salt should understand how online users behave.  If information is what they're looking for, why not provide it? But here's the catch. There's more to information than meets the eye. Many will go beyond providing information to actually reaching out and helping online consumers with everything that boggles them.

It's called customer service, dolt.

And this year, Mai Tai Media will focus on this plain and simple aspect of online marketing that many professionals in the industry neglect.

Social media is one of the top ways to provide virtual customer care. Statistics say that a third of people who go online visit Facebook or Twitter in order to communicate with companies, versus calling or emailing. It just makes the whole process more humane.

The good thing about providing online content geared to customer care is that it gives you an awesome feeling that you're not just trying to inform (least of all sell). You're actually helping people realize their goals--using the Internet as the ultimate resource.