Facing Content Marketing Challenges? Let the Super Friends Save You

I’m honored and thrilled to announce that I will be a part of the dynamic consultant lineup that the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has put together for its just-launched Consulting business (CMIC).

In conversations about the new business with Robert Rose, CMIC’s first “Strategist in Residence” he was referring to this team of seven individual consultants as the “Super Friends.”  What I loved about the analogy was the fact that we truly do come to this new CMIC team with different experiences and unique ‘superpowers’ – making the group a formidable team as a whole.

The Challenge

And for what better reason to assemble such a group than to take on the mighty challenges of content marketing?  Content Marketing is changing the way companies interact with and create relationships with their customers, and is the fuel that gives social media tremendous power.

When done well, content marketing gives consumers, clients, customers, collaborators and partners a much better understanding of a company’s vision and values and enables the customer to be better at what they do and love.  Said differently, when done well content marketing is both enlightening and empowering!  Something the Super Friends know a thing or two about.

As eloquently stated by Joe Pulizzi, Executive Director of CMI, “Our goals are simple.  We want to help marketers establish great content marketing strategies.   After launching CMI last May, inquiries came pouring in asking how an organization could actually create that strategy.  And when we recognized some of the enormously talented people that we had helping to contribute knowledge – it just made complete sense to combine them into a cohesive, unified consulting practice.”

I could not be more honored to be on the team with:

  • Ardath Albee - CEO of Marketing Interactions, Inc. and the author of the book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.
  • Jason Falls – author of the noted industry blog SocialMediaExplorer.com, and a leading marketing strategist.
  • Jay Baer – Experienced marketer and co-author of the book The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social.
  • Robert Rose - 15 years of content and marketing consulting experience and co-author of the book Enterprise 2.0: How Technology, E-Commerce and Web 2.0 Are Transforming Business Virtually.
  • Mack Collier – an experienced social media consultant, trainer and speaker specializing in helping companies use social media to better connect with their customers.
  • Dianna Huff – president of DH Communications, a B2B Web marketing expert and a frequent speaker on marketing and SEO.

We’ll be providing three core services:

  1. Content Marketing Strategy –assisting an organization to discover the power of their content and how it can help to achieve marketing goals.
  2. CMIC’s Advisory Services; designed for clients that want to engage CMIC consultants for very specific, short-term engagements across the spectrum of content marketing.
  3. Editorial and Content Production services.  For those clients that need to source editorial or writing services, CMI works with its sister company Junta42 to help source the best content marketing agencies for enterprise clients.

If you’re interested in learning more or hiring CMIC for these services please click here and let us know.  Depending on your needs you’ll be paired with one, two or several of us who will help you achieve your goals.

As always, to hire me individually for Visionary Leadership programs and consulting, Marketing Strategy work or for the Social Media Concierge program, you can still email me at [email protected].

And please don’t even try to match each of us with a TV Super Friend character.  As the most petite in the group I’m destined to end up the “Wonderdog…!”

~

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Thank you for reading and for being part of this community – it means so much to me.

You can find me on Twitter at @LisaPetrilli and on LinkedIn.

Photo is Super Friends from the SuperFriends Wiki.

Why You Must Rethink Your Marketing

How would your marketing change if your goal was to create advocates and not sales?

My brain cells began to ignite when I heard Steve Knox ask that question in the Brains on Fire FIRE Sessions last week.

Really stop and ask yourself that question: How would your marketing change if your goal was to create advocates and not sales? 

It’s not blasphemy – it’s brilliance. As Steve went on to explain, “advocates beget advocates,” (they capture the hearts and minds of others and the truth within your brand), and advocacy decreases acquisition costs and increases loyalty. Increased sales and profitability would be the natural result.

According to Steve, advocacy marketing is the new dimension of marketing that will transform how companies do business. No longer will brands advocate on their own behalf, as they have for the past 100 years.  People will be increasingly enabled to advocate on a brand’s behalf, and those people who we know and trust will become the most powerful advocates of all. 

What will be required for companies to be successful? Real relationships with people…people who will, in turn, become trusted advocates.  But it will all start with relationships with people.

We don’t talk about people much in marketing.  Instead, we talk about consumers and customers and shoppers and clients.  As Steve shared, we are on the verge of these words transforming to “people.”  Because if we want to create advocates we must first create relationships with people, which means we must treat them as people and talk about them as people and yes, alas, we must converse with them as people.

Kathy Sierra wrote a blog post five years ago detailing the results of a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology that showed when the brain thinks it’s in a conversation it will pay more attention and “hold up its end.”  She went on to explain that when you are reading something that is written in a conversational format your brain will register that it’s not in a face-to-face conversation but, because of the conversational tone, it will pay much more attention.  I suspect it will also - dare I imply it – be more likely to become engaged.

She ended her post with a truly brilliant line, “If your brain had a bumper sticker, it would say: I heart conversation.”

How many marketers are putting 2 and 2 together and recognizing that the most obvious and direct route to sales and profitability starts with conversations with individuals – who, at their core, love to converse - that lead to relationships that lead to advocacy?  And how many feel truly fortunate to be working in marketing today when it’s never been easier to start those conversations?

What’s even more exciting? Going a step beyond, as Brains on Fire is doing, and enabling advocates to amplify their passion and ignite movements. 

In an era of price pressures, private label products, global competition and rapid technological improvements to product features, a movement stands apart and cannot be replicated.  It is the competitive advantage that can’t be usurped…

I can think of a number of things I’d encourage my clients to do differently if they courageously asked themselves how they could refocus their energies on creating advocates rather than driving sales.

How about you?  Will you rethink your marketing?

Please share with me in the comments…

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Photo is Heart by Seyed Mostafa Zamani

What CEOs Can Learn From the Goddess of Vision

I recently attended a conference at which a number of CEOs and marketing executives were present.  One morning when at a breakfast table with seven others the discussion turned, as it often does, to how we could be of help to each other.

One CEO in the group asked the marketers present for some creative ideas on using social media to grow his new, non-profit business.  The perfunctory questions about the business and his goals were asked and answered, and then the conversation quickly turned to the use of various social media tools.  Now, to the credit of the marketers at the table, the ideas were quite creative, but I found myself a bit dumbfounded by the answers the CEO had given.

Why? He had not clearly articulated a vision for his business.

What happens when marketing executives start talking about tactics of growing a business without first having a clear vision of the direction of the business?  You reach goals, but they don’t necessarily get you where you want to go!

Case in point: I stopped the conversation and asked the marketers what they believed the CEOs vision to be.  The overwhelming consensus was that his vision was to drive awareness of the problem that his non-profit was set up to address.  I turned to the CEO and asked him, “if everyone in the country becomes aware of the problem your non-profit is addressing, will you have successfully brought your vision to life?” His answer, (of course), was “no.”

He didn’t want to just make people aware; he wanted to fix the problem. Once he realized that, he also realized that he hadn’t created a vision in his mind, or in his heart, of what life (and the country) would look like when the problem was fixed – and thus, he didn’t really know just yet how to get there. 

To be successful, he had to start with the vision literally in his mind, and then work backward from there.

Isis is the Goddess of Vision and Insight.  Yes, she is associated with femininity and guess what gentlemen, every single human has a combination of male and female energy – just in differing amounts.  I’ve noticed over the course of my career that many leaders – both men and women – are afraid to “trust their gut” or their intuition. 

If the CEO had been honest with himself up front he would have admitted that as he was talking about his business he was talking in rigidly straight lines.  He was presenting a structured case that had no colorful vision – no inspiring dream - to it.

Once he started thinking about how truly beautiful life would look when his vision came to fruition – how it would taste and feel to him – he was able to much more clearly articulate with passion where he wanted to go.  From there, the goals, strategies and tactics fell much more easily into place.

Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to tap into your intuition, your feelings and your dreams as you talk about your business and the vision you have for it.  As a woman who myself avoided doing so for many years, I am now tapping into the power and wisdom of my own personal “inner goddess” like I never have before.

How about you? Can you clearly articulate a vision for your business? If not, anything Isis can do to be of help?

I would be honored if you would share your insights in the comments…