In the crowded online space where consumers really can buy almost anything from behemoth Amazon, what's stopping them from doing that? I think it has to do with the ease associated with Amazon buying.
Take this example. One morning you decide you want a new rug. The in-laws are coming and your place is looking tired. A quick visit to Amazon shows the current trends, what other buyers have picked. You can buy a rug that looks half-way decent with 'one click'. You might even receive that rug the same day, if you're a Prime account holder and live in a main centre like Tokyo. The purchase feels so impersonal and disconnected from reality that when the rug or the thing arrives you might find yourself looking at it rather critically if it's not quite perfect. It's actually too easy to make a purchase you may regret later.
Contrast that with a purchase of a hand-loomed rug that you have been eyeing up for months or even years. Each time you visit the website or get an email from the weavers you fall a little bit more in love with the people behind the intensely beautiful designs. Each smiling face or calloused hand photo that pops up in Instagram makes you lust after that rug more. Seeing it pinned on Pinterest or appearing in a designer's home in your favourite magazine sends you into a frenzy. These rugmakers tell a story, the story of the community your purchase will help support. They share the details, the design process, the painstaking selection of the wool and the dyeing technique. The history of the company and its humble beginnings, the legacy of the founders, the dreams of the first employees, are woven into each rug.
You're willing to pay a lot more for this rug. You will wait for it to be delivered, knowing it was crafted by hand. If it arrives with a tiny imperfection or a bit later than expected you will forgive easily. You've been in love with this rug before it was even conceived.
The Amazons of this world have their place. I don't care who made my printer ink. I just want to get the right ink, at a good price, without any fuss. Amazon will deliver on this promise. I have very little vested in the transaction.
The rug though, that's a different story. It's part of my greater vision for a beautiful home that is comfortable for my family and welcoming to my guests. That rug, it's better with a story. I will love that rug for years, decades even.
If you still need to ask whether content marketing is a must-do for your company then ask yourself this: Are you the Amazon of your industry? Or do you have to work harder to attract customers and win their affection?