Cocktails & Content [San Francisco]: What We Learned from Our Panelists

On the evening of Thursday, September 29th, we took over The Mezzanine to bring together San Francisco’s brightest marketing minds for a discussion about content marketing – and we enjoyed a few cocktails, too.

Our expert panel included:

  • Mark Goines – Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Strategy Officer @ Personal Capital
  • Nanneke Jansen – Senior Manager, Marketing Programs @ Demandbase
  • Rich Pearson – SVP Marketing and Categories @ Upwork
  • Elliot Brown – Head of Content @ Gusto
  • Matt Cooper (Moderator) – GM of Visually and SVP Corporate Development @ ScribbleLive

A running theme throughout the discussion was how technology has quickly and drastically transformed how marketers work – and the resulting need to go “back to basics” in order to ensure that the marketing technology we use can be effective.

What does going “back to basics” mean? It means that marketers must understand their customer’s journey, starting from before they were a customer to when they decided to buy. The customer journey needs to inform all content decisions and strategy.

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Soundbites from the Panel

On the role of personas in content strategy:
“What gets lost a lot in persona planning is considering what stage in the funnel they are, and tailoring content towards that.” – Rich Pearson

On balancing all the data available to us with regulatory guidelines:
“Data can be used very effectively and positively; it can also be very creepy. We want to make sure that they are comfortable with us using their data. It has to be useful.” – Mark Goines

“What’s important is being consistent and getting everyone bought in.” – Elliot Brown

On scaling a content strategy:
“Scaling content marketing is less about creating more content and more about getting it in front of the right audience.” – Nanneke Jansen

On brand voice:
“If we can be clear about what we want our voice to be, our marketing comes together easily.” – Mark Goines

On SEO:
“There is real focus on what keywords and themes we want to optimize for. Seo terms drive 80% of our conversions.” – Rich Pearson

On attribution modelling:
“Simple attribution, if there is a form involved it is easy. If you don’t have a form, there are other ways to track that. Anonymous web traffic is no longer anonymous [with the right tools].” – Nanneke Jansen

On what’s next:
“Investing more in video and mobile digestible content in the next 12 months.” – Rich Pearson

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In Conclusion

Content marketing won’t be effective unless there is a thorough understanding of who the content is for – the customer. A solid strategy takes into account: personas, journey, funnel stages, available/relevant data and SEO. All of this, combined with the marketing technology available to us, provides marketers with the ability to nurture prospects at every stage of the customer journey, and smoothly moving them closer and closer to purchase.

 

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