Posted in on July 24, 2013

Content Marketing: Conversations not Campaigns, Empathy not Email Blasts

Take-aways from the July 23 Marketo JumpStart Tour

There’s a stereotype that New Englanders like to talk about the weather, so I won’t mention the torrential downpour I drove through on the way to the JumpStart event in Boston yesterday. Or the rain-forest like heat in the meeting hall. Or the synchronized buzz of cellphones receiving emergency broadcast flood alerts …

The event, organized by marketing automation software provider Marketo, promised “actionable tips to improve marketing programs and get up to speed on the latest marketing practices.” It delivered. Following are some key insights that resonated with me and with fellow attendees.

Jon Miller – VP, Marketing Content and Strategy, Marketo

  • Daily, people are exposed to 2904 marketing messages. 52 of those register at all. 4 are remembered.
  • Five steps to break through the clutter. 1) Launch conversations, not campaigns. 2) Be relevant! 3) Think multichannel (your customers do). 4) Score & prioritize interest. 5) Measure the right things.
  • Lead Generation is like getting people to a dance. But they don’t show up ready to hit the floor or to go home with you. That’s why you need conversations, not campaigns:

Lead Nurturing is like flirting. Tweet from #MktoTour13.

  • Marketo’s analysis shows smaller, more targeted — MORE RELEVANT — email sends deliver better results.
  • “Relevance is the intersection between what you want to say and what they want to hear.”
  • I really appreciated that while Marketo is obviously a digital enterprise, they place a high priority on multichannel marketing, including good ol’ direct mail. Miller’s quotable take-away hit home with the audience:

Tweet from MktoTour13 - make every campaign social

  • Multichannel is a reality. Many influencers doing many different activities across many different channels can impact a single sale … Look at both first touch (what generated this lead in the first place?) and multi touch (how many/what types of communications moved them to purchase?).
  • Because the audience was filled with marketers, there was a great enthusiasm for Miller’s focus on metrics that prove how marketing impacts business goals. Rather than focus on Cost per Lead …

MktoTour13 Tweet - investments vs costs


Cate Vanasse – Senior Marketing Manager of Customer Success, Egencia (the corporate travel arm of Expedia)

Egencia Image - relationship between sales and marketingVanasse is a Marketo customer and she did a great job sharing best practices that can be used by all organizations. For example, if someone unsubscribes from your mailings, forward that information to the customer lead. They can reach out by another channel, offer to help, and try to find out what’s going on. Automation can make your sales team look like superheroes.

I’d bet a few readers of this blog can relate to her assessment of the relationship between sales and marketing BEFORE automation, as illustrated in the photo at right.

Cate and I had a chance to chat after her presentation. A big tip was that you need to be constantly training your team on the mindset and processes of automation. No software in the world will deliver results if salespeople hoard “their” contacts and insist on doing things their way.


Ann Handley – Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

In only 30 minutes, and just 3 steps, Handley taught us all how to create EPIC content. Here are the keys:

  1. Put the why before the what — don’t say, I’m going to produce a white paper; think, I want to attract customers by being inspirational and helpful.
  2. Build your audience.
  3. Create content worth sharing.

What will make it worth sharing? First, understand and relate to your audience.

Tweet - mktotour13 - empathy in content marketing

(If your customers would thank you for your content, you’ve shown extreme empathy.) Then, follow this formula from Handley:

Useful x Enjoyable x Inspired = Effective (or EPIC) Content

As attendee Ami Chitwood (@achitwood) put it, “Utility, inspiration and empathy – three things ALL brands can do.”


Your Turn

I was horrified by the stats Handley shared. 89% of marketers they surveyed are using content in marketing. 55% of those marketers intend to up their content budget this year. But only 10% have a strategy for content marketing!

– Does your organization have a clearly defined content strategy?

– Are you still blasting campaigns instead of having conversations?

– What tips can you share for more effective content?

Share your thoughts below!

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