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Owning the Chaos: Adopting a journalistic mindset to foster agility and meaningful customer engagement

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Cait Smith and Lindsey Osterlund attended the 2016 CMO Exchange, an intimate conference with marketing leaders and sponsors from a variety of industries. At a roundtable they hosted, some common pain points bubbled up...

Marketers are in a windstorm of change, created by customer behavior, competitors, internal politics, rapid technology adoption, data sprawl and more.

We collected and synthesized the ideas from roundtable attendees, and crowd-sourced more ideas internally at Centerline. This resulted in a culmination of tips, tools and resources that marketing leaders can apply immediately.

Learn more at: http://www.centerline.net

Published in: Marketing
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Owning the Chaos: Adopting a journalistic mindset to foster agility and meaningful customer engagement

  1. 1. Owning the Chaos: Adopting a journalistic mindset to foster agility and meaningful customer engagement 2016 CMO EXCHANGE—ROUNDTABLE RECAP & INSIGHTS
  2. 2. JOURNALISTIC APPROACHES“CHAOS” MINDSET SHIFTS METHODOLGIES/APPROACHES STEP 1: Knowing nearly all of us are already “publishers,” we asked ourselves: What does it mean to take a journalistic approach to publishing and content creation? First, we conducted a rapid-fire session of what “chaos” means to us within our organizations today. Key challenges, points of friction, barriers to goals, etc. STEP 2: What sort of mindset shifts have to take place for us to take a more journalistic approach to marketing within our organizations? STEP 3: STEP 4: ROUNDTABLE: RECAP Let’s brainstorm! Finally, what methods, tools, approaches have worked for you in applying a journalistic mindset?
  3. 3. How do we begin applying a journalistic mindset to marketing? How can that help us become more agile and responsive? We synthesized the biggest challenges expressed during the roundtable and paired them with insights, ideas and resources so you can begin taking action immediately. 
 
 This document is organized in to four categories: We had productive conversation during the roundtable, but…now what? MEASURMENT ORGANIZATIONALCONTENTAUDIENCE ROUNDTABLE: RECAP
  4. 4. AUDIENCE: INSIGHTS Digging up insights about our audience extends beyond surveys and demographic data. This is where we put our investigative mindset into practice! • Assign internal advocates for each audience segment; make them responsible for collecting and sharing those insights
 • Pull emotional nuggets from customer feedback reports (both positive and negative)
 • Get out into the field and talk directly to customers—surfacing unspoken needs—at least once per quarter • Dig for customer insights on internal social channels or comment boards; combing that information to surface rapid, relevant stories or “snackable” content • Implement SEO initiatives to better understand what prospects/customers are saying and searching for; use that as a springboard for content creation
 • Use social media listening to confirm audience assumptions RAPID WAYS TO SURFACE AUDIENCE INSIGHTS:
  5. 5. Work together with select members from marketing, technology and sales to complete one of these worksheets for each audience segment. The goal is to get everyone thinking around the customer. These worksheets can serve as jumping-off platforms during content creation. AUDIENCE: RESOURCES
  6. 6. How to UX Research To Surface Hidden Needs Are We Trying Too Hard To Segment Content For The Buyer’s Journey? The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing Why Customer Intent is More Powerful than Demographics Learning more about our audiences is a continuous process, not a phase of a project or a singular event. Here are some resources for more reading! CHECK OUT: 4. 3. 2. 1. What you’ll learn: How user experience (UX) research methods can increase speed-to-value for your content marketing efforts. AUDIENCE: RESOURCES What you’ll learn: How to create universal content that works across the buyer’s journey. What you’ll learn: How to start using lead nurture to drive revenue growth. What you’ll learn: How to reach more of the right audience, faster.
  7. 7. Reusing, repurposing and surfacing existing content creates opportunities to reach audiences across several channels rapidly, without sacrificing quality. • Create “storylines” for prioritized audiences, then audit existing content to see what content can be re-purposed within that storyline • Assign an internal lead to crowdsource ways to adapt existing content to new channels; apply proxy measures to rapidly learn and iterate 
 • Create “snackable” content, like pull quotes, GIFs or teasers, that can be promoted on appropriate channels and link to deeper/heavier content
 • Capture visuals throughout the creation process—sketches, photos, storyboards and other behind-the-scenes artifacts—and use them as teaser content 
 • Identify the content types that perform best with content analysis tools like BuzzSumo 70-80% of marketing content goes unused because it’s not optimized for various channels* *Source: SiriusDecisions CONTENT GOALS: Extend the life of your content Increase speed-to-value CONTENT: INSIGHTS IDEAS TO EXPLORE FOR MORE RAPID CONTENT CREATION:
  8. 8. Content Planning Jumpstart Guide 
 How to Take an Audience-Centric Approach to Content Marketing 8 Essential Ingredients of Content Reuse Podcast: How to be Original and Make Big Ideas Happen As you’re planning to create content spanning the buyers’ journey, identify existing assets that can be repurposed before investing in net-new content. 4. 3. 2. 1. CONTENT: RESOURCES CHECK OUT: What you’ll learn: A step-by-step approach to creating a complete content plan. (Bonus: Includes a downloadable worksheet.) What you’ll learn: How to cut through the noise to make meaningful connections with diverse audience segments. What you’ll learn: How to get the most out of your content and identify reuse opportunities. What you’ll learn: How to champion new ideas and fight groupthink to create new content.
  9. 9. Building a culture of measurement is an incremental process. Start with a baseline set of KPIs, a handful of tools, and a willingness to ask “why?” • Conduct social listening around key influencers to dovetail or capitalize on existing conversations
 • Create a listening command center with highly visible screens to show mentions, alerts, engagements, etc. to publicize content and campaigns internally; this will help create a culture that is aware and proactively listening and responding • Pull together a small cross-functional team to brainstorm feedback loops per audience segment—include competitive benchmarks
 • A/B test campaign content on traditional and social channels to determine allocation/investment
 • Create a rubric for prioritizing efforts based on a collaborative scale WAYS TO RAPIDLY APPLY MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES: “A successful organization can only measure so many things well, and what it measures ties to its definition of success.” Harvard Business Review: Know the Difference Between Your Data and Metrics MEASUREMENT: INSIGHTS
  10. 10. Becoming an analytics expert 
 Lean Analytics: Use data to build a better startup faster 
 Podcast: Data Network Effects HBR: Know the difference between your data and metrics Building feedback loops is an integral part of the content creation process, allowing us to shift investments to where efforts are most effective. 4. 3. 2. 1. MEASUREMENT: RESOURCES CHECK OUT: What you’ll learn: How to use analytics, data analysis, and tools to build a data pipeline that delivers insights. What you’ll learn: How to apply elements of the Lean Startup movement to create interactive cycles of learning. What you’ll learn: The considerations necessary to strike the right balance of data and network influence to achieve overall success. What you’ll learn: The differences between collecting data and collecting metrics, and how what you measure is what you manage.
  11. 11. Fostering opportunities to work more collaboratively and rapidly requires a willingness to take on experimental approaches during content planning and creation. • Set up contributor pods to encourage cross-discipline collaboration
 • Assign internal reporters within different product groups to bring back story ideas and customer insights
 • Schedule a daily stand-up meeting with a hand selected editorial board that includes folks from your team and the business units/sales teams to discuss upcoming opportunities • Embed beat reporters to monitor related topics and look for opportunities to engage in conversations • Encourage retrospectives after content creation efforts to celebrate wins and discuss lessons learned IDEAS TO EXPERIMENT WITH INTERNALLY: ORGANIZATIONAL: INSIGHTS
  12. 12. Becoming a Digitally Mature Enterprise How to Align Your Entire Company With Your Marketing Strategy Your Design Team Needs A War Room. Here's How To Set One Up How Adidas Newsroom Is Creating 5 Great Pieces of Content Per Week Every organization has unique internal challenges that influence how they adopt a journalistic approach to marketing and increase agility. The key is this: just start somewhere. 3. 2. 1. 4. ORGANIZATIONAL: RESOURCES CHECK OUT: What you’ll learn: What drives digital success, the strategies behind it, and the necessary risks to gain competitive advantage. What you’ll learn: How a canvasing tool can help map and align marketing efforts to strategic organizational goals. What you’ll learn: Ideas for setting up a dedicated space for team collaboration and problem solving. What you’ll learn: How internally-created newsrooms are sparking opportunities for innovation in content creation and marketing response in real-time.
  13. 13. Little Bets - Peter Sims 
 
 What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins. VIEWVIEW The Lean Startup - Eric Ries 
 
 The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Innovator’s Method - Nathan Furr & 
 Based on their research inside corporations and successful start-ups, Furr and Dyer developed the Innovator’s Method, an end-to-end process for creating, refining, and bringing ideas to market. They show when and how to apply the tools of their method, how to adapt them to your business, and how to answer commonly asked questions about the method itself. VIEW ORGANIZATIONAL: BOOKS Jeff Dyer
  14. 14. Centerline partners with organizations to create custom
 Agile Marketing Frameworks tailored to their organizational needs. Brand Goals Open-Ended Personas StorylinesChannels Contributors Feedback Loops The Ability To Rapidly Act With Valuable Content Journalistic Process
  15. 15. We're here to help you. Contact us for more insights, ideas and resources you can use to address your business challenges and meet your 2016 goals. Cait Vlastakis Smith Executive Strategy Director cait@centerline.net 336.830.2998 Lindsey Osterlund Executive Director, Account Engagement losterlund@centerline.net 720.435.5369
  16. 16. APPENDIX: ROUNDTABLE WHITEBOARD NOTES
  17. 17. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION | Step 1 What is “chaos” within your organization? What are some of your biggest sticking points/challenges? Content re-use and re-purposing Influencing customers Adapting to change and building consensus to move forward Getting engagement with our content Monday morning huddles when we talk through needs/issues to address this week Too many disparate target audiences and mapping them to the right brands through personalized content Inefficient measurement approaches across brands Creating a culture of measurement Simply stated: Strategic planning in a very tactical world Making sense of too many information sources and figuring out how to take action Developing creative in a silo Targeting content as people move through the funnel Prioritizing resources to goals Meeting the needs of audiences while meeting the needs of the organization
  18. 18. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION | Step 2 What do you think it mean to take a journalistic approach to your marketing efforts? Remaining unbiased Being transparent Telling a story Entertaining, not selling Speaking directly to readers Targeted, looking beyond swaths of demographic data Authenticity Using reliable and credible sources Extracting stories from general industry news Active listening to dig up stories within other stories Living and dying by deadlines
  19. 19. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION | Step 3 What kind of mindset shifts have to take place for your organization to apply this approach? Understanding that there’s a balance between quantity and quality Being “Ok” with fewer “sign-offs” More focus on attributing metrics to efforts to determine what’s relevant Thinking wider than the immediate conversations happening Speed + relevance > Perfection
  20. 20. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION | Step 4 What journalistic methodologies and agile approaches that have worked well within your organization? Sampling programs/initiatives with small sample sizes before trying to get buy-in from the larger organization Identifying emotional nuggets from customer feedback (both positive and negative); look beyond the baseline of what they like/ dislike to surface emotion; use that as fuel for more campaigns Field research and conversations with customers directly Using SEO initiatives to better understand what prospects/ customers are saying; use that as a springboard for content creation Surfacing customer insights on internal social channels; combing that information for nuggets to surface rapid, relevant stories A/B test campaign content on traditional and social channels

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