The Gigantic Wrap-up: The Content Experience in Pictures and 8,000 Words

August 30, 2017 Uberflip Hub

Exactly four months and twelve days ago, the marketing team at Uberflip was challenged to change the name of our inaugural content marketing conference, and all of its associated branding, messaging, and packaging. What was The Uberflip Experience transformed into Uberflip Presents: The Content Experience, which took place at CBC’s Glen Gould Studio.

The best marketers in the business converged over two days of extremely informative, insightful, and entertaining presentations that gave a very promising glimpse into where marketing is at today and where it’s going. This summary post covers what we saw, learned, and laughed about. Though we’ve done our best to capture highlights of the very best moments, there’s nothing quite like being there in person. See you next year!

The Content Experience 2017: Photo Gallery

The Future of Content Experience
Yoav and Randy, Uberflip

Our co-founders Yoav and Randy kicked off the conference with their introductory keynote on the future of content experience. Here are some of the main points they discussed with their opening remarks.

What Experiences Mean

  • We’re all here to discover this idea of experience.

  • We talk about experiences everywhere these days.

  • With all the obsession around the experience, it only makes sense that we extend this concept around the content experience.

  • Space has always been a part of Uberflip branding, since day 1.

  • We love the spaceship because it’s always about exploring.

  • We operate under the Four Pillars of Content Marketing: Creation, Experience (spaceship), Distribution, Insights.

  • It’s about uncovering the unknown.

Today’s Problem: The New Content Blackhole

  • “Houston, we have a problem.”

  • We have this problem of generating information and making use of it. This problem is only getting worse.

  • As marketers, we have to make sense of content, and be able map the journey.

  • Yet we’re getting sucked into this content black hole.

  • We’re producing so much content, we can’t even use it all.

  • Historically, in terms of content production, we were bound by constraints.

  • For examples, with old film cameras, we were bound by 24 exposures per role of film.

  • Today, the only constraints we have are in the amount of hard drive space we have on our devices, even without factoring in the unlimited storage capacities of the cloud.

Surfacing Content at the Right Place, at the Right Time

  • Snap and Instagram have figured out how to surface content at the right place at the right time. We need to address this very issue as marketers.

  • It used to be so much easier to discover content. E.g. Going into music store to browse albums. Or, Randy’s old mixtapes, where you could only fit 12 songs on a tape.

  • Today, with services like Spotify you have no constraints. Yet you can’t discover it all.

  • Perhaps, in the future, the concept of music will discover us.

Today’s Marketing Process and Tomorrow’s Future

  • In the past, generating leads was a finite process, with archaic form fill outs via snail mail.

  • Today, we still have this limiting process of gating content and waiting for it to be delivered.

  • In the future, marketing won’t be so much about lead generation, but about creating great experiences.

  • Marketers have the problem of catering to up to seven people involved in the buying process.

  • How do you ensure you’re creating a great, personalized experience for all these buyers?

  • How do you personalize after the industrial revolution? Everything is pretty much the same, and not built specifically for you.

  • In the future we will take everything we learned from mass production and include personalization. For example, Coke’s recent campaign of creating names on its bottles.

  • In Marketo's latest The State of Engagement Report, irrelevant content is cited as the #1 reason content is not performing.

  • How do we leverage both humans and machines?

  • We have realized the promise of bringing the future to today, through Uberflip AI.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Today’s Content Blackhole: We have this problem of generating information and making use of it. This problem is only getting worse.

  2. In the future, marketing won’t be so much about lead generation, but about creating great experiences.

  3. How do we leverage both humans and machines? We have realized the promise of bringing the future to today, through Uberflip AI—the ultimate blend of art and science.

Challenge Your Content Marketing Assumptions (and Get a Free Puppy!): An Intervention
Ann Handley, MarketingProfs

Ann Handley presented a very fun and unique talk on challenging marketing assumptions, that asked us to dig deeper as marketers, to change how we get things done.

Challenging Assumptions

  • What are the assumptions we are making at as marketers in 2017? How do we challenge them?

  • 73% of us are producing more content in 2017.

  • Only 35% of us know that our content strategy is effective.

  • We’re producing more and more stuff, but just 1/3 of us think we’re meeting our objectives.

  • 72% of us are looking for long-term relationships with our customers.

  • 32% of us think we always focus content on our audience.

  • There are three major assumptions to challenge:

    • Squad.

    • Story.

    • Speed.

Challenge what we Think we Know About our Customers

  • We strive for a deeper level of knowing our customers, based on data, behavior and conversations.

  • “We need a piece of content for...” This scenario is the worst place to be in.

  • Instead, we should ask, “What does our customer need from us?”

  • Challenge your organization with squad goals.

  • The source of a squad is pathological empathy. Empathy is at the level of the heart and nervous system.

  • “To catch the squirrel, you must become the squirrel.”

  • Ann’s example of how to set squad goals was through Plum Organics and their “Do Your Partner” campaign that strove to connect today’s modern parenting couples with each other.

  • They leveraged a researcher, Esther Perel, and her findings, among which she found that 70% of parents feel guilty when they're away from their child for a night out.

  • Plum Organics wanted to change the narrative: More sex means happier parents, who have more kids, who eat more baby food.

  • This is a different kind of narrative. It’s not a one-off campaign, but part of a broader story of “parenting unfiltered,” which creates an open dialogue about the real lives of parents.

  • It wasn’t just B.S. marketing-speak, but data, combined with listening, combined with great marketing instinct.

  • As marketers we should listen to our own instincts. This is the “art” aspect of marketing.

  • Plum Organics really “got it.”

  • Their messaging and communications via “team parent” was peer to peer, not brand to customer.

  • They generated knowledge and camaraderie with the consumer, as a parent and as a person.

  • They chose a smaller SQUAD over a broad AUDIENCE.

Challenge Your Story

  • Out of $358billion, less than 1% goes to animal-related causes.

  • The Humane Society of Silicon Valley wanted to change the narrative “From people OR animals to people AND animals.”

  • Their Eric and Peety video garnered 75 million views and more than 550,000 shares.

  • It resonated with people because it’s how animal and person help each other.

  • They ended up with 400 #mutualrescue stories.

  • What story does your data tell?

  • By accessing Google Analytics, Levenfield Pearlstein law firm found that their lawyer profiles had the most views.

  • They took the opportunity to tell a bigger, more robust story that reveals more about the lawyers through video.

  • The approach showcased that they are a different kind of law firm, with video telling a story about who they are.

  • They leveraged data to inform their content.

Challenge Business “Innovation”

  • What innovation matters to your customer?

  • One shouldn’t simply chase bright, shiny objects.

  • Ann used the example of GUSTO HR company, who state that, “We believe that humans aren’t resources.” “When we come to work, we don’t leave our humanity at the door…”

  • Ann tested their chat bot to find that it wasn’t a bot at all, but one of their executives, Chad, who gave real answers to real questions posed by people.

  • Chad on the chat was an executive of growth.

  • A “What not do do” example closed the show via Barilla Pronto Pasta and their convoluted and confusing mobile app.

  • As a marketer, you must know when to say no.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Great marketing is data, combined with listening, combined with great marketing instinct.

  2. Leverage data to inform your content in a meaningful way and tell a better story.

  3. As a marketer, you must know when to say no.

His Story
Cameron Hughes, Head Cheerleader

Cameron was a surprise hit for many of us in the audience, with his infectious energy, amazing dance moves, and overall performance as a “hype man” getting us on our feet and pumped up for the show. He gave a brief talk sharing his story, filled with inspiration about seizing the moment, taking a risk and cheering yourself on.

  • Cameron relays how he only won the sportsmanship award when playing team sports growing up.

  • His mother said to him, “Cameron, don’t worry, there are other ways to contribute to the team.”

  • He then told the story of the first time he got up in front of a stadium of fans to move the crowd to a point of spontaneous joy.

  • There will come a time or moment in your life you just have to get up and go for it, and it may take a little bit of a push to cheer yourself on.

  • At that moment, have the confidence to go for it.

  • What have you go to lose?

  • Just go for it that little bit more. Connect with people. Have some fun.

  • “The Power of Cheer” is having the confidence to own it.

  • It’s not about having the initial idea, but what we do with it, creating spontaneous human interaction and generating shared experiences with a community.

  • These interaction remove barriers and create experiences that make us feel alive.

  • Just go a little crazy.

  • And make people come alive.

  • The key is to cheer yourself on, then others on in your organization.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. There will come a time or moment in your life you just have to get up and go for it.

  2. “The Power of Cheer” is having the confidence to own the moment.

  3. Once you seize the moment, you can create spontaneous human interactions and shared experiences with a community.

Super Advanced Content Marketing:
How to Publish More and Rank Higher
Through The Magic of Repurposing
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media

Andy gave a fast-paced, highly informative presentation on his content creation process that incorporates collaboration, repurposing, and SEO.

How to Turn Your Email into High Ranking Content

  • Answering client questions via e-mail can turn into content.

  • By going deep into detailed, thorough explanations, this can be turned into content.

  • Andy has answered 171 total questions and answers that translated into 92 pages of content.

  • This is a book-length manuscript.

  • Think of your e-mails as content.

  • It’s just a process from e-mails, to articles, to headlines.

Write for the prospects in your sales funnel

  • Never waste a conversation by having it in private.

  • Think of your writing as consultative sales. Address objections and use-cases.

  • If you have 3-5 asking questions or objections, it’s an opportunity to write content.

Build Your Referral Network

  • You can find anybody you can imagine.

  • Pick a referral source via social media. It’s the world’s greatest phonebook.

  • With LinkedIn, you can connect via industry and connect via location.

  • Having a lot of LinkedIn connections is good for promotion.

  • Conversion rates from LinkedIn tend to be very high.

  • Use the Chrome Extension for LinkedIn and social contacts: Rapportive.

  • Collaborate with your prospects and potential partners.

  • Write something together with your prospect or referral partner and leverage the networking benefit “zero waste marketing.”

  • This leads to better traffic, better quality content, and more fun.

Testimonials

  • E.g., Jen Havas says to include a headline above your testimonials

  • 7 elements for every testimonial

    • Logo

    • Headline

    • Picture

    • Name

    • Title

    • Company

    • Keyphrase

  • “When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof.”

  • How many people are waiting for your article to go live? Don’t publish an article without somebody else involved.

  • “If you’re not making friends, you’re doing it wrong.”

SEO via Topics

  • Semantic SEO: Google is about topics.

  • Use the semantically related topics and include in a list. Use keywordtool.io

  • Target the topic, not the page.

  • Update old posts, rather than writing something new

  • You don’t need 1000 articles. You need 100 great articles.

  • Never half-ass two things, whole ass-one thing.

  • Do not change the URL and use evergreen words without numbers.

  • If you’re total traffic is declining, it’s due to the overall impact of all posts cumulatively performing.

  • Make a diagram in your article and leverage that as an image source link to boost your SEO domain ranking.

Document then Delegate the Process

  • Delegate content promotion by documenting and then handing it off.

  • You need to invest in creating the instruction set for your social promotion.

Big Time Repurposing

  • Think of the content you produce in terms of “LBOW,” your Lifetime Body of Work.

  • It could be The “Andypedia” or something like it.

  • Make an outline of all the things you know, then blog about it.

  • The blog can then become the book.

  • Be more structured, be more persistent, and plan your content.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Write for the funnel: if you have 3-5 asking questions or objections, it’s an opportunity to write content.

  2. Quality over quantity: You don’t need 1000 articles; you need 100 great articles.

  3. Think of the content you produce in terms of “LBOW,” your Lifetime Body of Work, plan around it, and write about it.

Time to Leave the Lead-gated PDF Behind:
How More Engaging Content Can Transform Your Lead Gen and Accelerate Growth
Aaron Dun, SnapApp

Aaron shared his insights on the state of marketing today, with the bold claim that the era of the white paper is effectively over. We need new kinds of content experiences that resonate.

Today’s Marketer’s are Overwhelmed

  • The scale of what we need to achieve as marketers is rising exponentially.

  • It’s no longer possible to think about incremental growth.

  • The marketer’s job is to find 10X change.

  • Expectations / Reality = Disappointment

  • “The Struggle is Real.” It’s the struggle to scale that is real. Incremental growth just doesn’t happen by doing more of the same.

Problems with the Traditional Approach

  • The traditional approach to marketing doesn’t scale.

  • The amount of white papers being produced is going through the roof.

  • All of it looks like PDFs that are gated.

  • After conversion, usually the reader doesn’t become a buyer.

  • The current prospect scoring models are based on looking to ensure a marketing qualified lead, but sales will still need need to qualify them.

  • Yet sales qualifies everyone! They do a lot of cold calling.

  • The era of the white paper as an early stage research tool is over.

  • Research shows that for millennials, the preferred early stage research tools are social media properties.

Lose the Gate, not the Leads

  • In a life without lead gates, you align content and campaigns.

  • You deliver engaging experiences that resonate.

  • You score, nurture, and qualify based on criteria relating to experiences.

  • What is an experience?

  • It’s visual, interesting, dynamic.

  • It encourages input from viewers.

  • It provides value worth engaging with.

  • It connects deeply and resonates with the user.

Avoid the Content Commodity Curve

  • As everyone starts publishing more and more, engagement drops with market saturation.

  • There are no random acts of interaction.

  • Design your campaign strategy around the stages of the buyer’s journey.

  • Create interactive elements at every stage. This translates into real lift.

  • For example, Paycor generated 25% of its revenue target in two months using interactive experiences.

4 Things you can do ASAP

  • Identify your key sales criteria.

  • Ungate your PDFs and focus on the next action.

  • Produce something other than a whitepaper.

  • Test ungating for free with LeadREV.

  • Final Exercise: Write down one thing you are going to ungate.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The era of the white paper as an early stage research tool is over since millennials prefer social media for research.

  2. In discarding the old sales funnel and model, you score, nurture, and qualify based on criteria relating to experiences.

  3. Create interactive elements at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Is Artificial Intelligence the Future of Content Marketing?

Panel Discussion with Dale Durrett, Bombora | Ramy Nasar, Quarry | Sinan Ozel, Uberflip | Yoav Schwartz, Uberflip

In this fascinating lunchtime panel discussion, the panelists explored both theoretical and applied perspectives on artificial intelligence used within industry.

Where is AI Doing Very Well

  • Where we’re going a good job is in aggregating data and getting that data into systems.

  • Where we’re not doing great is executing on that data in a very sophisticated way.

  • One area to move forward is on how scoring relates to a number of different topics, in terms of refining uses cases via data, first-party data, scoring, etc.

  • Another key area for AI is in orchestrating campaigns. For example, Based on the engagement with content.

  • A specific use case is a telecommunications company leveraging AI in their retentions department.

  • They created a pre-retention department that looks at predictive indicators for customer churn.

  • For example, they looked at internal data, 3rd party data sets, and social indicators that tie into social feeds.    

  • They were conducting anticipatory marketing where they reach out to you before your churn.

Explaining AI with Food

  • A chocolate chip cookie analogy. Observe the cookie for key characteristics. It is 3 inches in diameter, with 8 chocolate chips.

  • With machine learning we are training the algorithm based on set criteria for identification / calculation purposes without actually “telling” the machine explicitly what to do.

  • Panera Bread is an example of where automation makes sense. The ordering process was automated, but the human interaction element was attended to by the on-site staff.

Making Better Decisions with AI

  • We should think about replacing the word “artificial” in AI with “augmented.”

  • By using machine intelligence, cognitive analytics, and data that we collect, can we make better decisions?

  • In medicine, AI doesn’t yet make diagnostic decisions, but we are using machine intelligence to get initial assessments.

  • By using those initial assessment, we can automate the lower level tasks, and put more “human” effort in the final 20%.

  • With AI, there is an opportunity to automate the majority of inquiries, in terms of mundane tasks, so we can focus on the more human involved processes.

AI and the Future of Marketing

  • In the future, we can let AI guide the process of content creation based on what audiences want to consume.

  • It’s not so much about algorithms that can write content, but in terms of the customization and personalization of it.

  • We can look at the activity of persons across the web, take the signal and apply at the account level.

  • This give you the ability to place content in a strategic way, at the account level, that also ties into the individual level of preferences and behaviors.

  • There are a lot of things in which manual process can be removed via AI, such as such as out of home, TV, etc., where automating process via AI can do it better

  • AI will enable people to focus on the more important things

  • The augmented intelligence systems still fall short in terms of their “reasoning.”

  • Content recommendations have existed before, but now we are leveraging engines, where we have algorithms to serve the content.

  • In 10 years the more interesting question to think about is how marketers will change their discipline because of AI.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Currently in AI, we’re doing a good job of aggregating data and getting that data into systems, though  we’re not great at  executing on that data in a very sophisticated way.

  2. With AI, there is an opportunity to automate the majority of inquiries, in terms of mundane tasks, so we can focus on the more human involved processes.

  3. The interesting question is is how marketers will change their discipline because of AI.

Interactive Content in your Marketing Strategy

Panel Discussion with Aaron Dunn, SnapApp | Matt Ley, The Streaming Network | Dana Harder, Content4Demand | Tyler Lessard, Vidyard

Some Approaches to Interactive Content

  • Repurposing: Taking content and making it interactive.

  • The interactive first approach: Creating content experiences designed to be interactive.

  • If we don’t gate content, how are we getting leads?

  • If your content is right, it will be a lead engine, but you need people to lean in first.

  • Emails drive action. A possible first touch could be an email with interactive content.

  • We hate the term Download Now.

Trends to Watch with Webinars

  • Webinars should be built around engagement and Q&A.

  • We, as marketers, have created a webinar template that we don’t step outside of.

  • How do you use various interactive features and layer them throughout the webinar conversation? Embed them during the webinar experience. It should not be an afterthought.

  • The average webinar view time has grown over 30 minutes. This means you have their attention, but how do you ENGAGE? How do you drive ACTION?

  • Make your presenter go on camera if you can. You want to drive 2-way conversations.

Sales Enablement

  • Real-time feedback content vs. pages long PDFs for sales enablement.

  • What are we measuring? Shouldn’t just be MQLs. Align with your leadership, the quality is not in the numbers.

  • MQLs don’t matter. It’s opportunity creation.

  • Interactive content enhances reporting quality.

  • Interactive content can help you measure the rate of content consumption. As people consume content, interactive features are able to help you report on how much and where they consume.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. If your content is right, it will be a lead engine, but you need people to lean in first.
  2. Embed various interactive features and layer them throughout the webinar experience. It should not be an afterthought.
  3. As people consume content, interactive features are able to help you report on how much and where they consume.

The Future of B2B Marketing is Account-Based,
and it's Personal
Peter Herbert, Terminus

Peter gave an upfront talk on the challenges faced by Terminus within their competitive space and how account based marketing led them to success.

Committing to ABM

  • A recent survey showed that 4/5 B2B marketing teams are currently working on or executing an ABM program.

  • How do you work economically and efficiently in order to grow and increase the size of your deals and go after larger accounts?

  • There were several big challenges to overcome Terminus.

  • They weren’t at the global level.

  • They faced very large competitors.

  • They were included in the Gartner magic quadrant, but the other companies were large enterprise players.

  • By adopting ABM, by end of their year, 88% of accounts targeted were engaged with them.

Why ABM is Critical for Marketers

  • Less than 1% of all traditional leads turn into customers.

  • Traditional marketing is misaligned with sales, requires form fill outs, is inefficient, and overly broad.

  • It isn’t personalized or, it’s only superficially personalized.

Flipping the Funnel

  • ABM flips the funnel and creates a different model, which is as follows.

  • Identify: Start with best-fit accounts.

  • Expand: Focus on people in the same roles.

  • Engage: Use the right content, in the right channel.

  • Advocate: Create raving fans.

  • Measure: Gauge the results and adjust.

  • Before, they used to track marketing by the number of leads generated.

  • Lead-based marketing focuses on capturing an individual in a generic net

  • You have essentially created a time based limit.

  • With ABM you, are engaging the entire buying center, with all the people involved in the account and having them engage with you over time.

  • With ABM, we are looking at engagement and the overall experience.

  • You are focused on the best accounts where you can orchestrate an experience.

  • Create raving fans, by creating a relevant, personalized experience, so these contacts advocate for your brand.

Keys to Success for ABM

  • Be a leader. You are changing your fundamental processes.

  • Attack ABM in sprints.

  • Align marketing and sales.  In the ABM process, if you haven’t aligned marketing and sales development, you’re not doing it right.

  • Enable your SDRs. Work with your SDRs on a regular cadence where product and content teams meet with sales every week to train each other on ICPS, personas, and challenges for content.

  • Measure, starting from Day 1. Track it and be able to reference it going forward.

  • Get data-driven. Use the data you have, leverage intent data, and creating content based on certain intent keywords.

  • Get personal with content and plays. Discuss where the content is to be created and intended to fill the account.

  • Create great content experiences via personalized plays.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Traditional marketing is misaligned with sales, requires form fill outs, is inefficient, and overly broad.

  2. By adopting ABM, you need to be a leader since you are changing your fundamental processes.

  3. Align marketing and sales where product and content teams meet with sales every week to train each other on ICPS, personas, and overcome challenges for content.

The Dynamic Content Possibilities of Marketing Automation
Jordan Hellyer, Marketing Automation Canada

Steps to Achieve Personalized Content

  • How can we use marketing automation to achieve a level of personalization?

  • Next level-personalization means via Amazon / Netflix that tailor’s itself to your interests.

Step One: Data quality

  • If you can’t trust the data, you can’t get very far.

  • Take an inventory and identify gaps; e.g., validating fields, etc.

  • Update processes to improve quality.

  • Identify potential content points to personalize around. Customer? Past interests or purchases? Location / language? Title? Industry?

  • All of these can be leverage for micro targeting.

Step Two: Use Data to Identify Opportunities for Personalization

  • Find approaches to personalization that are scalable.

  • Find a balance between personalization and the art of the possible.

  • Target what’s within grasp for your resources / staffing.

Step Three: Identify Sections of your Marketing Automation that will be Personalized

  • Use page sections or segments to include different kinds of personalized copy.

Personalization Pitfalls

  • Creepy personalization

  • Inaccurate personalization.

  • Data quality needs to be protected. We need to be able to rely what’s in our database.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on the quality of your data so you can trust and rely on it.

  2. Find approaches to personalization that are scalable.

  3. Avoid creepy or inaccurate personalization.

Customer First! How to Build an Amazing Customer-Centric Approach to Content Marketing
Amanda Nelson, Salesforce

In her high-energy talk, Amanda presented a plethora of visual examples of what best in class content marketing looks like at Salesforce, and how she gets it done.

Start with Customer Marketing

  • Content marketing and customer marketing work together well.

  • How do you do content marketing when you are targeting customers?

  • Today’s content marketing landscape is based around leads.

  • Traditionally, with customer marketing, there is a lot of cross-selling and less emphasis placed on creating great content.

  • Why do we target prospects when the majority of our revenue comes from customers?

  • Have a vision statement. For example, “Excite and entertain customer trailblazers with head-turning marketing to drive success with apps.”

  • Great examples of customer marketing:

  1. Leverage 3 simple ROI stats to include in landing page. Turn these stats into into slides / cards sized for all platforms.

  2. Apptales: A game to tell your own stories.

  3. A Flipbook year end recap.

Content Marketing Should Cover all Stages

  • Plan and organize content by stage: Awareness➔ Assessment→ Alignment → Activation → Acceleration

  • You already have this content

  • Engage customers through in depth interviews. Ask the same questions to all customers in a survey.

  • Remember to keep the tone “from custom to customer,” use multiple formats, and focus on what works.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The majority of our revenue comes from customers, so they should alo be the focus of great content.

  2. Have a vision statement to guide your content and message.

  3. Focus on what works and iterate.

Powering Experiences Through Video Content
Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts

Beverly Jackson kicked off Day 2 of The Content Experience showcasing best-in-class use cases of video for marketing and advertising that’s optimized for all channels. The high-level of marketing sophistication put on display was seamlessly melded with her down to earth style of presentation. It was definitely one of the gems of the conference.

Putting the “Wow” into Experiences

  • 70% of MGM’s revenue is non-gaming and experience driven.

  • Their goal is to create experiences across all of MGM’s properties and to elevate the guest experiences.

  • Their series “Afternoons with Lilli”  was based on a strategy that keeps content aligned with the brand.

  • Entertainment is a fundamental human need.

People, Processes, and Tools

  • They are using their portfolio of properties to showcase a wide variety of experiences across the world.

  • They have a culture of data, which they use to mine insights and generate content via people, processes, and tools.

  • The processes are never so rigid so as to keep from being nimble.

  • Bev built a fully experienced team with 21 people.

  • Tools used: Slack, Basecamp, Trackmaven, Adobe Analytics, Sprinklr

  • These tools allow Bev to communicate effectively during crisis.

Video Strategy

  • Their video strategy is to focus on trends, and feature episodic content, live video, leverage influencers, and ensure performance ties back to KPIs.

  • They are looking to find quicker ways to tell stories.

  • Episodic content works well to keep people coming back.

  • KPIs keep the money flowing.

  • Video works. It’s sticky. It brings people back. It’s fun.

  • Organic content resonates and has very high engagement rates.

  • Effective content is relevant, timely and authentic.

  • To leverage video trends, tell the story that’s of the moment. For example, Facebook live is trending.

  • Every piece of content gets leveraged multiple times. They even leverage content scraped off of the editing room floor.

  • Video is created with all screens in mind, from the big screen to the mobile screen.

  • Ads run on television and then are respun for mobile and retargeting.

Bringing the Rest of the Organization on Board

  • KPIs matter.

  • The c-suite is presented metrics for all channels.

  • Content helps to drive the booking engine that makes the properties run.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Adopt a culture of data, and use the data to mine insights and generate content via people, processes, and tools.

  2. Video works. It’s sticky. It brings people back. It’s fun.

  3. Video is created with all screens in mind, from the big screen to the mobile screen.

Everything You Need to Know to Finish Your Book this Year
Zach Obront, Book in a Box

Zach’s talk was built on the premise that writing a book can supercharge your marketing efforts, but most people will never publish one. He shared an approach he honed by helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and professionals write and publish their books.

Everybody Wants To, Nobody Does

  • While 81% of the US population say they want to write a book, only a fraction ever get published.

  • Something about the publishing industry scares people off, but we don’t have to follow the publishing industry’s rules.

  • Almost all business or self help books are 300 pages. But this is completely arbitrary, and was dictated to increase the size of the spine, and thus the book’s marketing real estate on the shelf.  

7 Author Challenges

  • The biggest challenges that stop people from writing books include:

  • What should I write about?

  • Which publishing path should I take?

  • When is the right time for me to do this?

  • What if nobody cares?

  • How do I find the time to make it happen?

  • What if it’s bad?

  • How do I make the most of it?

Deciding What to Write About

  • There’s no clear roadmap or framework.

  • Start with your own personal goals and determine what you need to accomplish to make this a worthwhile venture for you.

  • Determine who you need to reach in order to accomplish your goals.

  • After that, zero in on what you know that you’re about to teach -- what expertise or experience do you have that your selected audience could benefit from?

  • While many authors try to squeeze too much into one book, remember to remain focused on the reader and one set of problems you’re trying to solve.

Targeted vs. Mainstream Audiences

  • Traditional publishers need to reach the masses in order to make money. They see typically $7-10 off the book price.

  • An author freed from those constraints provides deeper value to a smaller number of people.

  • For example, Surgeon Dr. David Kashmer  wanted to write for young surgeons. Rather than focusing on the number of copies, he published for a very specific audience of recent medical school grads.

Making It Happen

  • Many people don’t have the time or skill to write. And the ones that do may get writer’s block. But nobody gets talker’s block.

  • Talk it out when writing isn’t working for you.

  • Surround yourself with a support network that will enable you to get your ideas out

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Write what you know.

  2. Zero in on a smaller, targeted audience that you can help rather than trying to please the masses.

  3. When in doubt, talk it out.

How Cleveland Clinic Built an Award-Winning Content Marketing Powerhouse
Amanda Todorovich, Cleveland Clinic

Amanda’s presentation showed everyone in the audience just what it takes to be named 2016 Content Marketer of the Year. She presented a wide array of insights on method, execution, and strategy that was nothing less than inspiring.

Cleveland Clinic’s Goals: Brand Awareness + Relationship Building

  • When you need someone to take care of you, we want you to think of us.

  • We cannot create demand for sick people to heal, but we can provide credible information and become a source of truth.

Define a Strategy and Stick to it

  • They launched a blog in 2012, known as the Health Hub, and initially had a lot of content that went unused.

  • Yet five years later, they are still following the same strategy, to engage users in daily conversation using health, wellness and clinical content that is unique to Cleveland Clinic.

  • They focus on using a conversational tone. e.g., “The color of your pee” rather than the color of your urine.

  • They use everyday language used to discuss health problems.

  • They create content that helps people stay healthy.

  • These things do not drive revenue, but they matter to people.

  • They use expertise to provide content that is unique to them. The content is not about their services.

  • This is about the user and trying to make things helpful.

Make the Customer your Universe

  • Know them. Personify them.

  • Help them solve problems and make decisions.

  • Provide value, whether they buy your product or not.

  • Listen to them. The data tells you everything

  • Their target audiences are “Judy” / Grandma, who is concerned about her health. She is a worry wart with issues. Content is designed to make her life easier.

Find Magical People

  • They started with a team of 3 people, leveraging only their Health Hub blog and social media.

  • Now they have a team of 25 people and they made the move to strategically align disparate functions.

  • The creative team is part of the content marketing department. This was game changing for them.

Process and Cadence

  • They publish 3-5 articles on health essentials, 3-5 articles on physician blogs, plus more projects.

  • They are bringing storytellers together and creating content via data.

  • The way people engage with content is constantly changing

  • Jay Acunzo says, “The best part of eating ice cream is the process of eating ice cream.”

  • The content creation process should be this way. Make it amazing. The process matters,

  • They post 15 times a day on Facebook and approach social media like a publisher.

  • This is their sweet spot. They have tested all the variables and iterated for the platform.

  • Content is evergreen so they have the ability to constantly resurface items from their archive.

  • Focus on BETTER, not more.

  • Stay on track through consistency. Stick to the same ed cal cadence and distribution.

Pay Attention to the Data and the Details

  • They eat, sleep and breathe data. E.g., Food pics with the spoon or not? They A/B test. “Think about the sprinkles.”

  • Throughout the process, there are micro decisions that can make a big difference. You can test these things when you have to make everyday, repeated choices.

  • Mind the data. Does it actually translate into changing your work? It matters. Listen to your audience / customer. What you learn from your data, make it actionable.

  • You have to share “the why” behind the data.

  • Their newsletter is based on the best performing content. They do not create new content just for the newsletter.

Be Bold and Brave

  • Have the courage to ask. Present the possibilities and take the risk. Arm your execs with small stories.

  • Content is their #1 source of brand awareness.

  • They are now competing with other organizations who have presence on a national scale.

  • They will bring in $1M revenue via content through advertising.

  • They are also generating revenue via syndication, providing health and wellness based content on 3rd party platforms.

  • Revenue generated is syphoned back into content creation.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Stay on track through consistency. Stick to the same ed cal cadence and distribution.

  2. What you learn from your data, make it actionable

  3. Have the courage to ask. Present the possibilities and take the risk.

Data-Driven Design
Oli Gardner, Unbounce

Oli educated the audience on his take on data-driven design with characteristic drama and flare for getting the point across. He presented a new and original framework for solving design problems and optimizing for conversions. We encourage you to work through this framework using his own Conex 17 Resources

  • 65% of marketers said they don’t have enough data to do their job effectively.

  • Design decisions need to be informed by data, not by trends.

  • Marketing teams are dysfunctional and don’t work well together.

  • By “design” we mean experience design.

  • Designer say, “Writers want me to start designing before they give me content.”

  • We need to really understand how we work together.

  • Are you a designer? We are all designers. We are problem solvers.

  • We need to start looking through the lens of optimization, of making experiences better.

  • Design = empathy

  • Designers are full of empathy, not about copying other people and trends.

  • Oli dove deep into his new methodology and framework using conversational forms (forms that use a script to present a chat-like experience) as a use case.

  • The data-driven design process:

    • Consult 3d playbook

    • Collect data. See where it comes from and what it looks like.

    • Make observations. This is the beginning of empathy.

    • Assign micro metrics. Every observed pain point needs a corresponding solution.

    • If you can measure it, you can optimize it.

    • Leverage “Design Card” mockups.

    • Test and measure micro metrics.

  • Data-driven design is an iterative process, like all optimization.

Three Key Takeaways

  • Design decisions need to be informed by data, not by trends.

  • We need to start looking through the lens of optimization, of making experiences better.

  • Observations about design are the beginning of empathy.

Connection in the Engagement Economy
Lara Shackelford, Marketo

Lara presented a wake-up call for all marketers creating irrelevant content that doesn’t match up to the expectations of buyers. In The Engagement Economy, it’s crucial that we tell better stories together with the right tools, to build relationships with customers over the long run.

Consumers and Buyers have High Expectations

  • 87% of buyers measure all brands against a select few: Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks.

  • 63% of buyers feel annoyed when they receive the wrong communication.

  • We’re connected like never before. It’s time to move from volume to value.

  • We want to be connected as humans.

The Engagement Economy

  • The Engagement Economy is where we engage as humans at every touchpoint, where the brand experience is so much more than a logo.

  • It’s an experience at every touchpoint.

  • Irrelevant content is the #1 reason that consumers don’t engage more.

  • Focus on the value of conversations for further engagement with the buyer.

It’s Time to Listen, Engage and Learn

  • We have limited resources to engage with buyers on a human level.

  • Uberflip provides consumers with a better experience.

  • It alleviates the pain of not knowing whether content will perform.

  • It helps CMOs become strategic advisors to their CEOs.

  • With Marketo and Uberflip, we can tell a better story together.

  • Aligning the engagement economy with partner apps and building a best-of-breed stack.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. We’re connected like never before. It’s time to move from volume to value.

  2. The Engagement Economy is where we engage as humans at every touchpoint, where the brand experience is so much more than a logo.

  3. With Marketo and Uberflip, we can tell a better story together.

SickKids VS Apathy
Mark Jordan, SickKids Foundation

When you think about charitable giving, the easiest thing to do is nothing at all. Mark gave a passionate talk about the SickKids VS campaign -- the single biggest fundraising campaign in Canadian healthcare history. He told the story of how SickKidsVS was born, the results to date, and how they intend to use the brand to help unleash the full potential of SickKids.

Why a Charity Needs a Strong Brand

  • Strong brands tell stories, and fundraising relies on storytelling to engage donors
  • Developing a brand for a charity lends credibility and opens doors, while advertising drives brand equity and donations.
  • Donors feel a sense of pride for supporting a cause they care about and being associated with a strong brand.
  • Building and presenting a strong brand, as a charity, attracts talent.

What They Set Out To Do

  • SickKids was about to embark on the biggest fundraising campaign in Canadian healthcare history and they needed a new brand idea.
  • Their strategy was to tell a different side of the SickKids story in a way that makes the community sit up and take notice, and make potential donors jolt into action.
  • This required a shift in thinking. They needed to move from a charity brand to a performance brand, from “keeping up” to winning. No longer would their CTA be “Help Us.” Instead, they would ask people to “Join Us.”
  • They wanted their audience to feel that they are winning, but they won’t stop fighting until every kid is a healthy kid.
  • What they came up with was SickKids vs. The Greatest Challenges in Child Health. It would be more than a one-off campaign. It would be a long-term platform for patients and partners.

Campaign Results

  • The campaign generated impressive results: Trending #1 in Canada on Twitter and #8 on Youtube. The brand story was picked up in 17+ countries within 24 hrs and generated 5M+ views. Cross platform and earned media drove the bulk of the views.
  • They received local top tier and international media coverage and ignited the conversation.
  • They created a movement that sold 4,000 T-shirts, and attracted a younger and male audience.
  • The sentiment? 10,000:1 for positive vs negative.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Lead the category by redefining it. Be bold, take risks, and reap the rewards.
  2. If there is some negative feedback, stay the course.
  3. While Twitter was the best channel and video the best medium for getting their story out there, earned media provided remarkable digital amplification.

The New Marketing Stack: Today’s Toolkit, From Content Strategy to Marketing Automation

Panel Discussion with Frannie Danzinger, Integrate | Justin Gray, Lead MD | Caryl Mostacho, Perkuto | Andrew Sinclair, Lane Four

In this panel discussion, the audience learned from marketing technology experts about the buying process, ROI on technology solutions and the role of today’s CMO.

How the MarTech Buying Process is Changing

  • People are a lot more cautious about buying new tech.

  • They are already invested in an an ecosystem that is not producing 100%, and data quality is lacking.

  • There is currently a bit of a backlash against the way we buy SaaS technologies.

  • Small teams in startup culture tend to act fast and neglect people, process, technology.

  • There’s also reluctance among individuals who bought something that didn’t succeed. They may feel burned by the process.

  • You’re afraid to go talk to your CMO.

Defining ROI

  • We expect straightline attribution models that don’t really stand up to scrutiny.

  • ROI analysis is a large exercise for evaluation, etc.

  • What matters in ROI has changed.

  • Most are focused on opportunity size to revenue. The straight line doesn’t work anymore.

The Role of the CMO

  • Sales and marketing teams need to be aligned with the core goals that CMOs are setting for their organization.

  • Today, the barometers for success are much higher for CMOs.

  • They fundamentally don’t understand all the marketing technologies out there and how they lead to ROI.

  • The most successful CMOs really take the time to understand why their teams are recommending and implementing certain technologies.

  • The CMO often has a specific number or revenue target to meet and team members must solve for the goals set by higher ups.

  • You have to be able to defend your numbers and own all the sources and not just rely on tools.

  • Most CMOs that are successful are at ground level with the rest of their team.

Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome

  • Some organizations still purchase technology even while knowing they’ve been advised otherwise.

  • Some companies think a single solution will solve all their problems.

  • How do you know when an organization is ready for a piece of technology?

  • Through defined goals, KPIs, as well as alignment; and knowing the shortcomings of the stack as it stands today.

  • Most tools require operational follow through and those are the ones that tend to succeed.

  • The best implementations are just what people do, where ownership over the martech stack is a good indicator of success.

  • The smaller players / tools tend to integrate with all the big players.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Sales and marketing teams need to be aligned with the core goals that CMOs are setting for their organization.

  2. The most successful CMOs really take the time to understand why their teams are recommending and implementing certain technologies.

  3. The best implementations are just what people do, where ownership over the martech stack is a good indicator of success.

Talk Triggers: How Content Clones Customers
Jay Baer, Convince & Convert

The best customers are those you get for free. In his hilarious presentation, Jay explained how to create remarkable content and customer experiences that compel word of mouth.

The Lie We Tell Ourselves

  • Every content marketer tells themselves that prospects and customers are too busy to engage with their content. But it’s not true.

  • “Too busy” is code for what you provide isn’t relevant enough. When you give someone the content they want, in the format they want, in the moment they need, the time necessary to consume it magically appears.

  • We confuse reach with relevancy. But creating more content, and promoting more content doesn’t make us more relevant.

  • It’s time to stop marketing at people and start marketing with people.

  • With trust in companies at an all-time low, we need to rely on people to help us market, because our prospects and customers will trust people more than companies.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

  • People are the key to marketing success. Word-of-mouth marketing is the least expensive and most effective form of marketing, yet most companies do not have a WOM marketing strategy.

  • Talk triggers are remarkable experiences that compel word of mouth, that make it involuntary.

  • One such example is Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. Their talk trigger is vats of free sunscreen and unlimited free soda. And even though they are in the middle of nowhere, they have a TripAdvisor rating of 5 stars.

  • 20% of all considered purchases are directly caused by WOM.

  • The Cheesecake Factory spends 5 times less in advertising and marketing. Instead, they have created an enormous menu, large portion sizes, and 33 kinds of cheesecake to compel WOM.

  • Customers create customers via talk triggers. They clone each other. “You will not believe what happened to me when……” The ellipses are your strategic differentiator.

  • WOM is 20x more valuable for b2b than for b2c. 91% of all b2b buyers are influenced in some way by WOM.

  • WOM only works if you have content to draw attention to your unique point of difference, like the case of “The Coolest” -- a cooler that can do everything. It compels WOM because of the content that shows you everything it can do.

4 Talk Trigger Requirements

  1. Must be remarkable. Whatever you do must be different/special/interesting enough to tell somebody about it.

  2. Must be repeatable. It has to be available to all customers, and easily accessible. Inconsistent customer treatment breeds contempt. Be careful before you start treating customers differently.

  3. Must be realistic. Can’t be too big. Can’t be too grand to cast suspicion.

  4. Must be relevant. If it’s not relevant, then it won’t work.

5 Categories of Talk Triggers

  • Remarkably human, being so human that your customers can’t believe it.

  • Remarkably useful. Enterprise will pick you up.

  • Remarkably generous. Give back and see dividends. E.g., Tom’s Shoes, Warby Parker, Trello

  • For the other two, email: Bonus@jaybaer.com

Three Key Takeaways

  1. People have the power and your buyers’ trust. Turn your customers into volunteer marketers.  

  2. Content powers the success of Talk Triggers, and vice versa. If you have no differentiator in your product marketing, then you can’t do marketing well.

  3. Be relevant, targeted, and remarkable. Same is lame. You can’t “outvolume” mediocrity.

The Power of Truth: Real Customer Stories of Digital Transformation
Grad Conn, Microsoft

In the closing keynote session, Grad Conn shared his marketing wisdom accumulated from his years at P&G, in startups, and at Microsoft, compelling marketers of all stripes to wake up and see what’s happening around us and run towards the future.

Grabbing the Future and Running Towards It

  • Make sure you stay technical and absorb technical things because marketing is turning into a technical discipline

  • It’s hard to know when you’re in the middle of transformation.

  • If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

  • Customer lifecycle: Anonymous→ Interest→ Engaged→ Evaluate→ Buy→ Fan

  • A lot of conversation happens around Microsoft products at 150 million mentions

  • A system of insight. A dashboard of all metrics

  • Systems of nurture: Advertising Automation→ Marketing Automation→ Field Marketing Automation→ Sales Automation→ Commerce Services→ Customer Service Software

Upcoming Trends

  • Today, each tool has its own set of IDs, UIs, and databases. If you have a bunch of different IDs, you can’t have a singular customer experience.

  • A goal Microsoft is working on is to create a common customer ID across industries. Then we can use any tool we want across the board. There will be no vendor lock. We can then unify all of our systems and have a single point of view.

  • The next wave is the interaction cloud. McCann Millennials used AI to generate advertising.

  • Bitcoin and blockchain are also the next coming trends.

  • To understand today’s changing behaviors, look at Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

  • 20% of all queries are all voice.

  • The #1 social activity is gaming.

  • Companies are always behind the actual behavior of consumers.

  • It’s hard to see when you’re in the middle of a revolution.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

  • We have created a planetary computer. We have, for the first time, unlimited computing power.

  • The tactics change over stages. From door-to-door, to direct marketing, to mass marketing, to mass-direct.

  • Today, we have the measurability of the direct age, combined with the mass persuasion qualities of the mass age.

  • Today you’re buying experiences.

  • We want the machines to conform to us. Multi touch interactive displays, augmented reality and smart rooms will change marketing radically.

  • Where do we want to go? Voice, gaze, gesture.

  • If you’re a smart marketer, you’re going to run towards this future as fast as you can.

  • You will be aggressive in understanding where computing is going because it’s going to change marketing radically.

  • In B2B buying, the buyer is buying your product service for their own career success.

  • How do you make people feel when you’re selling?

  • Grad closed his presentation showcasing how Microsoft organizes and executes its marketing.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Make sure you stay technical and absorb technical things because marketing is turning into a technical discipline.

  2. Companies are always behind the actual behavior of consumers.

  3. If you’re a smart marketer, you will be aggressive in understanding where computing is going because it’s going to change marketing radically.

​Interested in what you missed at The Content Experience 2017? Watch the conference sessions now available on-demand.

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