2-Tier Content Marketing Strategy

This post goes along with our buyer persona article. Just as marketers generate a buyer persona for each ideal customer, in order to create campaigns targeted toward them, they also create campaigns targeted to different segments of their customers. This strategy is called 2-tier content marketing.

You can become a master of content marketing strategies with our whitepaper, “Introduction to 1:1 Engagement,” and our content scorecard, which shows you if your website’s content and branding is earning you the traffic it should. We’re got a brief rundown of 2-tier content marketing below.

Why use 2-tier content marketing?

2-tier content marketing is particularly useful for companies that want to expand their products’ appeal to different audiences. Whether you’re a niche business looking to broaden your customer base, or just seeking new ways to market your brand to new audiences, using 2-tier content marketing allows you to gain new followers while remaining loyal to your core consumer base.

According to the Houston Chronicle, 2-tier marketing became popular in the early 2000s, when the American middle class began to change significantly. Distinct high- and l0w-middle class segments developed on either end, so “companies that once wanted to appeal to the middle class in general found that marketing separately to both ends could be more profitable.”

You can see this trend in the downturn of sit-down casual dining restaurants like Applebee’s and Red Lobster. These kinds of restaurants—a cut above McDonald’s, but not exactly five-star dining—were designed to appeal to the middle class. Now, however, restaurant groups have discovered that “fast-casual” restaurants like Chipotle and Panera, which don’t require waiter service, are more popular, so that’s where they’ve focused their marketing efforts.

Examples of 2-tier Content Marketing

Luxury vs. Low-end

Segmenting goods according to different classes is one of the most common forms of 2-tier content marketing. Think of high-end designers like Isaac Mizrahi or Jason Wu. Both have designed outfits for movie stars and first ladies, and their clothing is in haute couture boutiques all over the world. However, they both have designed affordable clothing lines for Target, at the opposite end of the spectrum. These kinds of collaborations have been massively popular—Target’s Prabal Gurung line sold out one day after it premiered—but they don’t cheapen the original label. The people who can afford to still buy the expensive version.

Although marketers tend not to drastically change their content for boutique and larger stores, you can see subtle changes. For example, look at how the prices are clearly highlighted in the Altazurra for Target collection:

2-tier content marketing

There’s no prices at all for this collection display on Altazurra’s website:

Screen shot 2014-11-05 at 11.52.15 PM

“Freemium” Services

This kind of service has several tiers, with different features. The bottom tier is free of charge, but the more you pay, the more features you get.

Take a music service like Spotify; it has more than two tiers, but still functions in the same way:

  • The free version has ads and restrictions on how many songs you can skip, regardless of which platforms you use.
  • The unlimited version uses ads and restrictions on mobile usage; you can skip as many songs as you want and listen ad-free on your computer, however.
  • The premium version places no restrictions on your songs; you can listen ad-free on any platform.

Spotify markets its premium service in ads that play to users with unlimited and free versions. They’re giving you a taste of what you can have with premium, and they want to make sure that you know it.

Businesses vs. Consumers

Some companies offer separate versions of their products for the general public and the professional crowd.

Clorox, for instance, has a wide range