Enterprise Marketer - Make Your Marketing Matter.
Make Your Marketing Matter.

Thankfully, many marketers have converted to the “dark side” and went into Content Marketing for large companies, to the benefit to our industry as a whole.  This shift has helps us understand the relationship between sales and marketing, allowed us to dive deeper into the story, and make us aware of the need to communicate more with our customers and beyond just transactional emails. 

Heidi sums it up quite nicely by saying, “At the end of the day, it's about, what are your business goals? What are the metrics associated with it? Who's your audience? And what is the context of the landscape? Right?”

In this episode, Heidi Cohen and Nicole Mills discuss pulling from journalism to do Content Marketing better in the enterprise.

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Transcripts

- Hi, Nicole!

- Alrighty. Well, Heidi, it's great to see you here at Content Marketing World!

- It's great seeing you. I'm really excited about this opportunity to talk because you've got me beat. You're still doing like, corporate, B2B-type marketing.

- Absolutely.

- And I've been out of the corporate world for a while. So last time I did a good B2B, B2C, I was working for The Economist.

- [Nicole] Mhm.

- But you've done Dell, you're doing NewsCred.

- [Nicole] Yeah.

- How does that relate to content?

- So, it's interesting that at Dell, I was really focused on that one particular brand, and then a few of our MDF partners, like Intel and Samsung and VMware, which, of course, now is a part of the Dell family. And I've made a shift now with NewsCred where I have a book of customers that really crosses many different verticals, and so, it's been exciting to have that... Still that B2B experience, but, you know, hopping around the different industries, looking at different ways that companies are basically approaching content, and everybody still has the same concerns. You know? They wanna be relevant to their audiences, they wanna scale their content, they wanna be as efficient as possible, and wanting to be meaningful.

- I love that. I love the way you're talking about that, because you've got it, like, "Okay, here's the content." But it's still... You know, I've lived through multiple iterations of marketing.

- Yeah.

- Right? You know, I remember in the early 2000s, it was all about, like, "Okay, we got this new digital thing! "Oh, now we got this search thing! "And I got this social thing, "and now we got this content thing, "and we want this free stuff," right?

- Yes.

- But it's still, at the end of the day, it's about, what are your business goals? What are the metrics associated with it? Who's your audience? And what is the context of the landscape? Right? In the old days, we were looking at advertising and breaking through.

- Yeah.

- Now we're looking at that content that does something to pull you in.

- Right... And I think that we're still struggling a bit with "How do we manage the advertising right now?", because we have all of these tools, all these bells and whistles to get in front of our audiences with all of these digital ad products, but it's... How do you do it in a way where you just don't completely turn off your customers and irritate everybody with everything's popping up, in that whole sense of... You know, and my being monitored as, you know, on the marketing side, we think, "Oh, well, we're just personalizing." But, you know, what does that really feel like to a customer? And so, prior to becoming a marketer, I was a journalist. And we...

- [Producer Off-Camera] Can you put your hair behind your ear, please? Thank you.

- So, we always have that push-pull with making sure that, you know, we honor the amount of space that we had for editorial content versus how much space needed to go to advertising, and then, you know, the granddaddy of native advertising, which is advertorial, you know... Which... You know.

- But advertorial isn't new.

- Right.

- Right? Like...

- No, it isn't.

- It isn't...

- So it means native

- It isn't new.

- isn't new, either, no.

- And then people used to have the magalogs, right?

- Mhm.

- Yeah, I did that at Bertelsmann, I had, like, the first "magalog", like...

- Mhm.

- In late 90s, like... I wanna do websites, and they have "the magalog",

- Right.

- right? But I was paying editors to get that content so that people would go through our catalogs.

- Right.

- But I love the fact that you're a journalist.

- Yeah.

- Because lots of journalists say that when you do content marketing, you've gone to the dark side.

- Yeah.

- But, to go back to what you said, it's still about your audience.

- Right.

- So to the audience, it doesn't feel like you've gone to the dark side.

- No.

- You're giving them information in a way they wanna find it.

- Yeah. Well, I mean, I think one of the things that, you know, is key in content marketing is that we know we have to be where our audiences are already doing their research and seeking out their information, and so, when you're transparent about your affiliation with the brand, and you are transparent about your point of view and why it makes any sense for you to even be talking to the customer at this point in time, I think that our customers are savvy enough to figure out which information they will pick and choose. And I think that what we're really seeing is that if your information is not relevant, and if you are not credible, you will be slammed for it, and your information will not be taken in. And so, I just think that

- I like that.

- the power definitely is in the hand of the customers, you know? We're all just, you know, duking it out and fighting to be relevant and to have our bit of credibility, you know? Like, what part can we really own? What unique point of view do we bring to the table? And I think that it's a good thing, ultimately, for customers, because we all have to step our game up, you know, in terms of quality and credibility.

- I love the way you say that. It's that it's about credibility, 'cause, like, the element of trust, like... You know... Marketers, like... We're done here.

- Yeah.

- Right? And who do people trust? They trust people they know.

- I know.

- And it' not just people in aggregate, it's the people, like, really, they know face to face, like we're talking face to face. And marketers, as marketers we've read about that, that we have to earn that trust, we have to earn that credibility. We don't just get a ride.

- No, and you can lose it just like that. So it's--

- Oh, but, that is a point, that is a great point, because... You're doing something bad? Hey, somebody out there has got exactly what you've got or something else I could use.

- Yeah.

- So I love the point we were talking about earlier, about the fact that, okay, that's about our, like, you know, how we're creating content as, like, marketers with the big M.

- Yeah.

- But you're talking about, like, being a journalist. Like to me that was totally, like... I always wanted to be a journalist when I grew up.

- Yeah, I did too. I was the newspaper nerd and read two newspapers each morning with my grandmother in Philadelphia and...

- Yay, Grandma!

- Yeah! Well, my grandmother was awesome. She was just a real powerhouse. But I think that its kind of sad that, recently, that's not at option for people, you know, to be in a space where they are in a multi-newspaper market. But, you know, so that part's sad. But I do think that, digitally, we have the capacity to get information in front of so many more people, and so, I just think that there are exciting things about digital. So it gives and it takes away at the same time. It's interesting that you say, you know, marketers, we're down here. I think that we're also in the space where journalists are also struggling, really working very hard, you know, getting credible information out, but having their credibility assailed. So it's like, you know, that essential group that we have in our society are really, really fighting for their credibility, so that's another group that I have my eye on, in terms of, you know, perception matters so much. And you have to manage your perception so much. So you have a group. They are credible, they're doing fantastic work, they're doing valuable work. But if the perception is not managed, then your message doesn't get out. So I think that that's a lesson that marketers can take from journalists. I think we've taken a lot from journalism, we've taken the personnel, we've taken practices and a lot of hallmarks. We also need to learn this lesson from that industry, also.

- You know, I love some of the things you said. I read the newspaper with my grandma.

- Yeah.

- My parents were, like, New York Times subscribers, and my dad would complain, totally complain about how much the print edition cost, but, like, that was, like, an activity my parents did together. And I love that you did it with your grandmother, and you're talking about that shared learning.

- Mhm.

- And I think one of the things to take away from what you said is... That journalists, actually good journalists, actually do it on facts. And that, we as marketers, have to be that transparent and build those facts in. And we have to build that credibility. We have to earn it. Like, it doesn't matter. You have to earn it. And you have to earn it every day.

- Yeah, we have to earn it with customers, and then also internally. So what I'm seeing with a lot of my customers for NewsCred is that we're executing programs and at the same time we have to be putting together case studies on that program that can be shopped internally so that they continue to have buy in, so that sales understands, you know, the partnership with marketing and the value of it that teams, you know, PR... It could be tech support, or some type of HR function. They all need to understand how content flows through their organization and how it really empowers the customers and how it can affect their business goals, so that, you know, shortening sales cycles, or increasing the size of opportunities. You know, really stimulating that pipeline for legion. But you can be doing really good work, but you've gotta document it, you've gotta put solid metrics behind it, and you can't just expect that because you've done something well, that everyone else is gonna understand the goodness that you've brought to the business. So it's very important that I'm seeing amongst my customers that we are documenting case studies, that we're documenting the value of the business and that that is being communicated.

- I love the fact that you're saying... You're talking about... I think because... You talk about what happens internally with the customers. But I think that most marketers miss that point. It's not just that I'm there, it's "How do I build that internally?" And it doesn't matter, like, you know, if you're a small company, everybody knows what everybody's doing. But when you get to be a larger organization, and I've worked with Fortune 500, and I've seen them and I said, "Well, look, what we can probably do "is promotions to all these other employees." And they said, "Oh, Heidi, they know about that. "It's in the manual!" Yeah, brought it, alright, let me see. I knew that checking my vacation time, and maybe, you know, what you can, you know, how much I earn, like, really? Do I ever check the employee manual? But the thing is, is that without everybody being on that same page, that internal marketing, those internal stories, those... Making those people that are part of your business everyday part of your company, part of your marketing. And I would say there's another part that goes to that, is that marketing and sales are not just these people on other sides of the world. They also have to come together. You have to think about how you work together. If you're creating major content, we're those salespeople telling you what questions you have to answer. What else do you have to do to make sure that every question's answered? Because, you know what? If you're a salesperson, your time is money.

- Absolutely.

- Right. Like, you know? Every minute you spend doing some internal stuff, that's money you're not selling. And that's money that's not coming home to you.

- Right, no, exactly. I think that one of the most exciting areas for content marketing that I'm seeing a lot of customers get into really are using content marketing to fuel social selling programs, so how to make it easier for the sales team to have conversations with customers that are not transactional. So that every time one of your reps reaches out, it's not, you know, "Buy more stuff." It's not refresh, it's not, you know, "Hey, let's grow." You know, that business relationship. It is, "I am aware of what's going on with you. "I am aware of what's going on in the industry. "And I'm just, on a continual basis, "gonna check in with you and have a conversation with you "about things that I think are interesting "to the both of us mutually that we can chat about, "things that I think can give context to, you know, "maybe something that I know that you're noodling on." And so that it's just not always every time you hear from this person, "Get your wallet open." Because who wants that relationship?

- [Female] Get your wallet open!

- Right, who wants that relationship, you know? And so, I think that that's one of the ways, when you're thinking about how can marketers really, you know, fuel sales enablement programs. You know, social selling is a great thing. Make it, you know, I call it stupid-dumb easy for the sales reps to be able to have these great conversations that really build relationships with customers. And so, I think a lot of teams are really great at that. Dole has a fantastic, you know, history of that in their North American marketing organization. It's run by Brian Jones, there's a lot of stuff online about what they've been doing with that, but I just think that--

- [Heidi] I think that it's so great. And it's not a new idea.

- It's not. It's not.

- I would say it's not a new concept. I was at Citibank, I built my first website that we empowered, and it was, like... Did it all in, like, nine months. In 97, building a website in nine months, you say, "Oh, I did that!" They're like, "Oh, why didn't you build it in, like, "a month?", right? But what we did, as a bank, we're like a bank... Like, to do anything in under a year at a bank, you're like...

- Right.

- Golden. But here's the thing, what we did is really, it had no client data. We distributed it to all of our "salespeople" so, like, Citibank... We're talking about private banking, we're talking about nicely-dressed bankers, right? And you can't call them salespeople, oh, my God. But we gave them all the marketing information they needed, because, to your point, they might talk to their client, like, maybe once, twice a year, 'cause they're globalling, but we made sure there were two things that we did, I recall. We had product information that they could call up wherever they were in the world and print it out, even if they didn't have that product, because they find out from their client something. The second one is, unlike any other... No other product have I ever seen in my life. If we had a client, the client talks to the banker, they would say, "Well, we're talking to Goldman Sachs, "we're talking to Credit Suisse," right? They were upfront. Like, nobody who has a lot of money is actually putting everything in one place. Like, really?

- They don't have to apologize to us for shopping around, it's the smart thing to do.

- But, like, we're, Rarely as marketers, that we don't think about that, right? Like, everybody, no matter how good a company you are, there's chances that people are using more than one brand.

- [Nicole] Right.

- So that transparency, and that ability, I love that part where you were talking about relationship. I don't care if you call it social selling, you call it relationship marketing, CRM, whatever words you wanna use... It's old-fashioned marketing. Right? It's why you used to go to the person around the corner, 'cause you knew them.

- Yeah and honestly content marketing is just good baseline marketing, it's an aspect of good baseline marketing. You know, that you should make sure that you've got good credible information, that you've paid attention to your customer, that you've got something of value, that you think in terms of, "What is it that they need, "and how do they need it?" you know? And it's not that broadcasting at people, irrespective of what they actually wanna take in an absorb. So, I think that any marketer worth their salt at any point in time has always had that mindset. I think that now we're just sitting in the era where we really call it out and we're starting to get alignment around, you know, these are our principles and this is what we value. And, you know, going forward in that vein. But yeah, I love the social selling programs. I love for my customers to take a look at how content marketing can live outside of the marketing organization. Some of the things I'm seeing with talent acquisition programs, I think, for instance, Google does a fantastic job of using content marketing in talent acquisition programs.

- I have seen that, like, I just did a workshop on interactive content, which, when you're talking about trying to break through, like, they're like a stop sign, and then, like, come in. But there are some companies that they're using interactive just to bring people onto their, bring them in and... But what I, but I love what you're saying, is... So we have to think different, I think there's something beyond just calling it social selling. It's that you're selling to a person. Like, you forget, especially when you talk about B2B, you're forgetting that there's a person on the other side of that. We're not just gonna put them in, "Okay, you're in this segment, you're in that segment." What do I have to actually respond and ensure that I build the relationship? Because if I lose you upfront... Right, like, gating has become a big deal.

- Yeah.

- Right? Like, Drift got a huge amount of PR for that last year, for removing it all. And somebody else told me they removed their gates, and they had a huge amount of increase in what they're doing in business. But here's the thing, research shows business people, they're gonna give you their names, their department, their company, and their email, but, like, you go down to, like, you lose two out of three people if you ask for their phone number. Like, are you, like, you didn't want to take the chance till the second email, build up some credibility, like you're talking about.

- Right, right.

- Oh, it gets even worse. Want to know what the worst one is?

- What?

- Ask for their budget.

- Oh, yeah!

- So it's like 18%.

- Oh, yeah.

- Under 20%. Okay, now, we had, like, almost 90%. And now we're, like, really, we've got like one sixth of that, one out of six people.

- Well, you've asked for too much before you've demonstrated your value, you know? Why should I give you that much of my information when I don't even know whether or not I wanna work with you? I don't know if you're the solution, I don't know if you're the partner, you know? So you need to earn that extra bit of information.

- I love that earning part. So it's one of those things I'd love to talk about, you said you were like a podcasting nerd?

- I am, I'm a huge podcasting nerd.

- Alright!

- I am, I am.

- The woman has taken advantage of Drive Time, USA. See, I don't always think about, I'm from New York, yeah.

- Well, you know what? Honestly, I listen to podcasts all of the time, and, you know, it's drive time, it's laundry time, it's in the grocery store. You know, any time when, you know... Oh, definitely on the plane, I will download a podcast and listen in the airport. It's a great way when, you know, your flights are just not coming through.

- Even though your flights aren't coming through,

- I know.

- your podcasts are.

- I'm in--

- So, do you do one yourself?

- Do I do one?

- Do you do one?

- No, I am not a podcaster myself, but I did launch a podcast, a branded podcast with Dell, in March, just before I moved to NewsCred. And it's Trailblazers, with Walter Isaacson, who, of course, was the head of CNN and is fantastic. And that was an all-around digital transformation, it's still going on. It's a work-baby that I'm really, really proud of, and I'm glad that they're continuing that.

- So, I wanna hear when the work-baby, like, I don't wanna work-baby, I wanna hear when Nicole's, like, podcast is coming. 'Cause I remember you told me, when you said you were a podcasting nerd, I thought you, like, were the queen of podcasting. I'm like, alright!

- You know, I seem--

- And here's the thing, but listen to what you just said, you said the market's there. I listen to it when I drive. I listen to it when I shop. I listen when I do the laundry. I listen... Like, here's the takeaway for B2B marketers, right?

- Yeah.

- Oh, well, I did it for Dell. But now, I'm here by myself. And I'm gonna still be here later on, and I'm a journalist.

- Yeah, see, I'm a tinkerer, and more of an architect. I like to scaffold and put things together. And so, it's interesting for me to work with different customers and conceive ideas like that for them. Whenever it works. So I'm one of those people, I'm platform agnostic. I look at what the use case is, what needs to happen, and what the market is, and then you'll figure out what's the best way to get in front of the audience from there. But podcasting is something that I really, really enjoy. I consume a whole lot of it, and I like to pay attention to just how it's coming together, you know, on the back end. I think it's really exciting that Apple was finally letting starting to let us have more metrics. That's, they just opened the vault, just a little bit, and it was so exciting to be able to document that better. But I love that format. I think there's like--

- Same here, and here's the thing to our viewers. I'm gonna, like, make you commit.. How's that? I will work with you, okay? I wanna see you in--

- We're gonna make that Long Tea podcast?

- We're gonna make it work! Right? We're gonna have one of those make-it-work moments, but Nicole, like, she is, like, the biggest evangelist for podcasting,

- I do, I do, I live that format.

- and she's got corporate. Like, look at that, you've got your strategy there. There's goals, there's your audience. I'm going to show customers how to do this. I'm like the biggest proponent of social marketing for B2B marketers. Okay, let's look at the context, look at that. You already understand your audience, right?

- Maybe there is an audience, if somebody is willing to listen

- Right, there is no audience.

- to me talk about how to put together podcasts for brands.

- We can do this together, we're gonna do this. We're gonna get these people here. By next year, we're gonna have one out there. But look at it, here's this woman who's such a podcasting nerd, who's great at building for other people.

- I am.

- We gotta get her to build it. You know, I'm like... And she's got her strategy there. She knows what the goals are, how to get people to download it. She's got metrics, she's already giving, like, Apple, kudos on this.

- Yeah.

- Right? She knows how to get people to do it. We've got the architecture, you're gonna go talk to people. She's a salesperson, got a book of business, like, hey!

- It's possible.

- She's no longer asking for a job, she's not asking for your whatever. You're now asking them to shine. Like, how cool a sales is that? I'm not the saleslady, I'm just the marketer.

- No, you're an idea person though.

- You know, I'm like a lowly, like, a... When I worked at The Economist, like, marketers were here, sales was here, and editorial was here. So, like, hey, we can do it, we can make this work.

- Alright but, you know, hey. Now they're on video. But, like, hey, what's an audio? It's a video without images.

- Right.

- So we can do this. So, I think it's been great talking with you, so...

- Same here, thanks for making the time.




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