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September 18, 2017
Content Marketing Panel featuring Chris Schermer at #MNMKTG

While content marketing may be a relatively new term, the idea has been a core aspect of our work since day one. Our fearless leader, Chris Schermer, shared some industry tips during the Minnesota Marketing Summit’s Content Marketing Panel.

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How to Budget for Content Formatting

Content formatting is the one thing that never gets properly budgeted. When you begin to strategize, consider all off the content formats you’ll need. As the campaign begins, you can evaluate which formats are performing well—and not so well. From there, you can decide which formats to blow out. This is the part that busts the budget. Plan for it, and keep a slush fund for production.

What B2B & B2C Learn From Each Other

Until a couple of years ago, it was nearly impossible to convince business-to-business clients to invest in social media marketing. Then, suddenly, the demand arrived. We’ve had to shift our mental model away using content marketing to support the sales funnel. Now, the content mindset is “how are we ever-present?” and “how are we ever-purposeful?” That combination allows us to think differently and holistically about the experience.

We previously depended heavily on white papers and reports. While they’re still key parts of our strategies, we’re now experimenting with other types of content, such as Facebook Live. We’re also serializing events for our clients. Instead of doing one event, we’re asking “what’s a serial we can do that creates anticipation and ongoing participation?”

B2B content was originally organized around product. Then, content was organized around professionals and how they interact with products. Today, B2B content intersects with buyers at a personal level. It’s still people talking to people. We’re doing some amazing social stuff with 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes. 3M connects on a personal level with medical professionals in a way that’s relevant and engaging without being intrusive—while moving product at the same time.

Building Brands on Relevance

In B2B, a lot of organizations create content just to fill the space on their channels. There’s no relevance to who they are as a brand, or what they do best. We encourage our clients to find the connective issue that they can stand for in the marketplace. It’s the beginning of becoming thought leaders in their industries.

A great example is our work with Eaton Corporation. They developed a new technology based on the Internet of Things, which we helped them position as “Dynamic Machine Control.” On top of that, we found through research that there was a movement happening in the marketplace—a movement we coined “The Smarter Machine Movement.” Eaton now had an industry movement to which we could tie their value proposition. Because the market movement and value prop were aligned, a flood of content could be created both internally by Eaton, and by Schermer.

To Outsource or Not to Outsource

Content is a critical extension of your brand, and shouldn’t always be outsourced. If you already have an agency working on your brand, and they also create content, that’s great utilization. Conversely, if you’re hiring someone to just write, they may not understand your brand or your customers. Allowing writers to interview your in-house subject matter experts helps those writers attune to your target audience and brand.

“The Research Process is Too Long”

One thing our clients challenged us on was the time it took to conduct the full research process. Today, we’ve embraced agile research and insights, using a streamlined qualitative, quantitative, and analytics methodology. We did this for a 3M Littmann branding strategy. Through social media especially, plus owned properties like web and email, we expedited the research time. After surveying our target audience, we were able to provide the insights to our client immediately. This allowed them to use the findings to influence business decisions internally and allowed us to apply the findings to our strategies before the branding project was even completed.

We enjoyed our time at the Minnesota Marketing Summit, and took away a lot of key insights. See what they were here >>> Top Takeaways of #MNMKTG

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Panel Moderator:

Jay Porter, President, Edelman Chicago, Edelman

Panelists:

Jenifer Hagness, Sr. Director of Marketing and Product Innovation, Caribou Coffee

Chris Schermer, Chief Executive Officer, SCHERMER

Krysta Larson, Director of Global External Communications, C.H. Robinson

Kara Wallace, Director, Strategic Marketing, Mortenson

Todd Cywinski, EVP Client Strategy, Imagination