Each year, CMI honors the individual content marketers who inspire us to achieve more. These notable content experts caught our eye in 2013. Join us at Content Marketing World from September 9–12, where one of these award winners will be named Content Marketer of the Year for 2013.
Todd Wheatland, VP of Marketing and Thought Leadership, Kelly Services
Wheatland has been on our radar screen for a few years, in large part because he’s turned the consulting and outsourcing division of Kelly Services (called KellyOCG) into a content marketing powerhouse. But what’s caught our eye of late is Wheatland’s ability to identify trends early, experiment with new tactics, and share the story of his evolution with the rest of us.
Case in point: Wheatland’s book, The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare, schooled marketers about this critical channel long before it was considered a B2B content workhorse. While the rest of us were busy building networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Wheatland recognized that SlideShare offered more juice for brands to gain influence on Google — and achieve it a lot more quickly. Last we heard, Wheatland is exploring how Vine might change the social media landscape for business… and we’re betting he’ll be teaching us about that soon, too.
Julie Strawson, Director, Market Development, Monotype
Monotype has roots that date back to the 19th century, but under Julie Strawson’s leadership the brand has embraced a decidedly modern approach to content. Two years ago, Strawson identified a critical misalignment among marketers, developers, and designers. In particular, she noted that as brands focus on mobile content and apps, design and development projects often break down due to a lack of cross-disciplinary training.
To bridge the gap, Strawson founded a new social media community called Brand Perfect in 2012. The site fosters communication and education among teams of marketers, technologists, and designers, and hosts events to bring the constituents together. Says Strawson, “What worries me most is marketers aren’t getting on board with the shift in technologies. They are not embracing it holistically because the field is still so siloed. This is what drove the launch of Brand Perfect.”
Julie Fleischer, Director of Media and Consumer Engagement, Kraft Foods Group
Kraft’s content marketing program is massive, even by big-brand standards (e.g., the brand’s print magazine circulation is larger than Food & Wine), and Julie Fleischer displays the planning, discipline, and risk-taking required to pull it off. Fleischer’s Content Quadrant presentation at Content Marketing World Sydney lifted the veil on how to implement a sophisticated content strategy — and she did it with just one slide! The slide showed the balance Kraft strikes between perishable and evergreen content, as well as between pre-planned and real-time content.
Taking a disciplined approach to producing content by mapping each tactic to a comprehensive content strategy might not sound like a glamorous gig to some, but the results Fleischer has achieved would make any marketing rock star proud. Best of all, Fleischer offers marketers a road map to explain to the C-suite why not every piece of content will go viral, and what kind of investment is needed to achieve a desired result.
Christa Carone, Chief Marketing Officer, XEROX
To convince her team that social content could change the public’s perceptions about XEROX, Christa Carone decided to dip her feet in, too. Her contributions to AdAge and Harvard Business Review are notable in their humility and willingness to speak frankly about the challenge of moving a historic brand like XEROX past its image as the venerable copier brand.
To leverage its reach, XEROX partners with traditional brands like Forbes and The Week by sponsoring custom content and native advertising. The brand’s Get Optimistic campaign — which includes a co-branded print and iPad magazine with Forbes — brought in 20,000 new contacts and resulted in $1.3 billion in new pipeline revenue.
George Stenitzer, Chief Marketing Officer, Tellabs
Original research. It’s a content type that brands have produced for decades; but we’ve found few that do it well. Too often, brands pay for self-serving surveys that are short on rigorous methodology and scale. George Stenitzer has restored our faith in brand-sponsored original research.
Tellabs publishes reports based on analyst-driven research — reports intended to challenge readers to think differently about key issues. Says Stenitzer, “A lot of thought leadership is like your term paper in school. You’re proving you know your stuff… We shoot for thought-provoking content that challenges customers’ notion of the status quo and shows change is needed.” And rather than put up a subscription wall between readers and the full report, Tellabs offers to share the full research report in one-on-one sales meetings — a tactic that only works if the content is truly valuable.
Linda Boff, Executive Director, Global Brand Marketing, General Electric
Want to know what true innovation looks like? Check out GE Garages, where aspiring “makers” (e.g., engineers and technologists) tinker with 3D printers, laser cutters, and injection molders. Boff’s brainchild launched at SXSW in 2012, and helped give customers an inside look at how the brand is revolutionizing modern manufacturing technologies. (For a full profile of Linda Boff, as well as more information about GE Garages, read the August issue of Chief Content Officer Magazine.)
Boff continues to expand GE’s content mastery with a just-released series of short films about the “industrial internet” — a term coined by GE to describe the intersection of intelligent machines, Big Data, and the “internet of things.” In these films, GE portrays a miniature town in Germany (Datalandia) and how the combination of machinery, data, and communications can offer solutions we may still be unable to imagine. The shorts are fast, funny, and inventive — just what we’ve come to expect from Boff.
Chris Frame, Marketing and Brand Manager, Bethanie
Bethanie, an Australian aged care provider, may be the last place you would expect wily content marketing strategies; but Chris Frame got it into his head that aged care was as good an industry as any to experiment with new media. Ignoring the reservations of an admittedly conservative sector, he took a leadership role to show new ideas in marketing can lead to more positive media coverage and increased public awareness.
Frame uses print, digital, and social to share research and education about key issues facing his clients. His underdog content strategies have been so successful, Bethanie landed a spot on Australia’s top-rated morning television program.
About the judges
This year’s Content Marketing Awards were selected and judged by Sarah Mitchell, Michele Linn, and Clare McDermott — all members of the editorial team at the Content Marketing Institute.
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Cover image via Bigstock