"The Content Evolution: How Content Can Change Your Business For the Better" - Melissa Rach, Now What? Conference 2013


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Presented at Now What? conference in Sioux Falls, SD in April 2013.

Published in: Technology, Business

"The Content Evolution: How Content Can Change Your Business For the Better" - Melissa Rach, Now What? Conference 2013

  1. 1. The Content EvolutionHow content can change your business for the betterMelissa Rach | @melissarach
  2. 2. “The information superhighway!”
  3. 3. 3The goal
  4. 4. 4The result
  5. 5. Common comments• “Our website is embarrassing”• “We’re so far behind”• “We don’t get any traffic/ROI”• “Nobody’s updated this content since Clinton was in office”• “What are we going to do about mobile?”• “We’ve built dozens of microsites to avoid the CMS”• “This website is a garbage dump”• “The CEO is hot on Facebook”• “Legal is being ridiculous on approvals”• “We have so many PDFs”• “There’s so much to do, I just can’t keep up”5
  6. 6. 6Web content is hardflickr user: cometstarmoon
  7. 7. Nobody was prepared for this …7
  8. 8. Or this …8© 2013 Visual News
  9. 9. 9What a mess
  10. 10. 10We are in a transition from aneconomy based on material goodsto one based on knowledge.—Peter Drucker,The Landmarks of Tomorrow (1959)
  11. 11. 11Things have changed
  12. 12. Industrial economy• Strategy as planning• One-way communication• Brand consistency• Hierarchy• Profit (quarterly)12
  13. 13. Today’s communities• Distrust in authority• Unlimited information access• Participatory communication channels• Multi-channel use• Culture of research13
  14. 14. 14In todays environment,traditional marketing and salesdoesnt make sense.— Bill Lee, Harvard Business Review(paraphrased)
  15. 15. 15We are clearly entering a periodwhere the extinction of the slow,the inflexible, and thebureaucratic is about to happenin record numbers.—Chris Zook, Harvard Business Review
  16. 16. 16Extinction!?!
  17. 17. It’s time to breakall the old rules.
  18. 18. Rethink Strategy
  19. 19. 19Focus on the long-term vision
  20. 20. Strategy vs. planning20STRATEGYStrategyPlanningDay-to-day work
  21. 21. 21[Employees] want to be part ofsomething larger than themselves.They want to be part of somethingtheyre really proud of, that theyllfight for, sacrifice for.—Howard Schulz, Starbucks
  22. 22. Strategic intent• Constant• Flexible• Repeatable• Aspirational• Inspiring• BelievableHamel and Prahalad, “Strategic Intent”Harvard Business Review22
  23. 23. Examples• Apple: Think different• Coke: Put a bottle within arms reach of everypossible customer• Honda: Be the second Ford• Amazon: Start with the customer and workbackwards23
  24. 24. 24They might think you’re nuts
  25. 25. 25We are willing to bemisunderstood for longperiods of time.—Jeff Bezos, Amazon
  26. 26. Rethink Communications
  27. 27. 27Goal: A true relationship
  28. 28. 28[People] learn what they care about,From people they care aboutand who, they know, cares about them.—Barbara Harrell Carson,Thirty Years of Stories
  29. 29. 29Reciprocal, respectful conversations
  30. 30. Let conversation lead content• Listen• Speak with customers (not to customers)• Give consistently, take once in awhile• Make channel/format a secondaryconsideration30
  31. 31. 31Go beyond product specs
  32. 32. Map the entire customer journeyNot just online tasks, not just your “jurisdiction”• What’s the “big task”?• Where are the conversation points?• What kinds of content do they need at eachpoint?• What content exists?Where are the gaps?32
  33. 33. 33Brands that simplify customerdecision-making are 115% morelikely to be recommended.—Corporate Executive Board (2012)
  34. 34. Examples34Images from Dove,Amazon, and Patagonia
  35. 35. 35For all the American peopleeverywhere… they needsomething like this.—Fred Smith,Creator, Wisconsin Concrete Park
  36. 36. 36Why?Wisconsin Concrete ParkPhillips, WIflickr user: dakota kingfisher
  37. 37. Every piece of content needs to:• Support a your vision/strategy• Fulfill a customer need• Have a person assigned to maintain it(maintainable content only)37
  38. 38. Rethink Consistency
  39. 39. 39They’re on to us
  40. 40. The old brand rulesBuild the brand over time• Speak B2B or B2C• Use repeatable messages• Require militant consistency• Control information• Be polished and perfect at all times40
  41. 41. The new rulesBuild relationships over time by:• Speak P2P• Create adaptable messages• Develop organic consistency• Allow radical transparency41
  42. 42. Example: Fluevog42
  43. 43. 43It’s bit scary
  44. 44. 44But, not this scary
  45. 45. 45Consumers don’t expect brands to beflawless; they will even embrace brandsthat are FLAWSOME…Brands that are honest about their flaws,that show some empathy, generosity,humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, anddare we say it, some character andhumanity.—Trendwatching.com
  46. 46. Examples46Images from Miracle Whip, Johnson & Johnson, and American Red Cross via Trendwatching.com
  47. 47. 47‘Established is now often justanother word for tired if not tainted.—Trendwatching.com
  48. 48. Rethink Hierarchy
  49. 49. 49Nobody’s smarter than everybody
  50. 50. 50Don’t plan your future, plan yourpeople. Outstanding people who fityour broad vision will tend to makethe right decisions along the way;not by following a plan but byusing their skill.—Harry BeckwithSelling the Invisible
  51. 51. Chaos theoryEnough structure to allow for patterndevelopment, but flexible enough to allow forcreativity.51
  52. 52. Strategic routines• Strategic routines, not rules• Support instead of strictness• Encourage innovation• Invite participation52
  53. 53. 53Don’t stay tied to old habits
  54. 54. 54To reach our [strategic] goals, we mustfirst change our lifestyle and our dailyhabits now.Then we must summon the courage tokeep up the new habits and not yield to allthe old familiar temptations. Then, andonly then, we get the benefits later.—David MaisterStrategy and the Fat Smoker
  55. 55. Redefine Success
  56. 56. 56Success metrics are a bit fishy
  57. 57. Long-term success• Make budgets customer-centric, not productor channel centric• Not always immediate• Not always exact57
  58. 58. Measurements that matterTraditional• Short timeframes• Isolated pieces ofcontent• Easily accessibleanalytics• Measuring what existsTry instead• Longer timeframes• Content systems• Mix of measurementtechniques• Predictive monitoring58
  59. 59. 59Research shows companies whoinvest in communications aremore profitable and keepexecutives longer.—Paul A. Argenti,Dartmouth
  60. 60. Summary
  61. 61. 61Remember…You can redefine:• Strategy• Communications• Consistency• Hierarchy• Success
  62. 62. 62When we look at the presentthrough a rear-view mirror. Wemarch backwards into the future.—Marshall McLuhan
  63. 63. Thanks!Melissa Rach@melissarachmelissa@dialogstudios.comwww.dialogstudios.com63