Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the upcoming book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

By joepulizzi published June 20, 2008

You Want Content Best Practices? Then Don’t Miss This Event

Business marketers understand that creating relevant, valuable and compelling content is essential for their marketing efforts. That said, most still struggle with exactly how to do it, and how to walk the fine line between what is perceived as educational and what is pure marketing spin.

Well, that’s exactly why we’ve put together the "B2B Leaders in Content" breakfast in association with American Business Media.  The breakfast panel in NYC on July 16th will include four cutting-edge marketers that will cover executing content programs from traditional print, to online content to social media.  Here’s the panel (I’m moderating):

Here’s the key…most marketers know that to succeed in marketing today, you must be part of the conversation. Unfortunately, you won’t be part of that conversation unless you have something valuable to contribute.  That’s why content is the core for tomorrow’s marketing programs.

This is a can’t miss event for any marketing, publishing and agency professional that understands the importance of corporate content and how to properly execute and market it. You will come away from this presentation with ideas that work. 

This is a limited attendance event, so be sure to sign up today.

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By joepulizzi published June 19, 2008

Marketing Around Products or Customers

I just finished speaking at the sold-out Web Content 2008 conference in Chicago where quite a few questions revolved around organizing content (and thus businesses) around product groups vs. customer groups/segments.

Here are some key takeaways.

What do you mean? Product groups versus customer groups?

Motorola is a good example of an organization that is in the process of switching to a focus on customer segments versus product groups. A few years back, everything on Motorola’s b2b side was set up with the product being the center of the strategy.  Customers were targeted by what product they purchased, or what Motorola "thought" they would purchase. The sales force was set up by the products they sold.

What happened?  By focusing on products, Motorola didn’t have a good grasp on customer needs. The sales force was pushing product, and not listening to the informational needs and challenges of its customers. It happens in every industry, and is natural for salespeople to do when organized in such a way.

Take the Razr – I sat in on a presentation by Motorola’s consumer-side CMO at the Association of National Advertisers meeting a few years back.  At that time, the Razr was the hottest thing going.  He talked about innovation and design and the "big idea" of the Razr.

Motorola focused on the product and not the needs of the customer. Over the next few years, the "idea" of the Razr became old and customer needs went in a different direction.  Motorola is still trying to catch up on the consumer side.

By focusing on customer groupings or segments, everything the company does must follow the needs of the customer. Constant research and "talking" with customers must happen in order for processes to work. "Listening posts" are set up and the Internet is used first and foremost as a research and learning tool (via social networks, blogs, forums, etc.). The sales force is set up by different "types" of customers or buyer persona. It’s a solutions mindset vs. a product mindset. Listen to the customer, listen again, and look at what you can offer or create out of your portfolio of products and assets to solve the problem. Then listen some more. This is the service mindset – and where most of the leading brands are going.

What happens in the content marketing process if our strategy revolves around our products and not our customers?

It’s challenging for a company centered around their products to create relevant and valuable content. Why? Since the product is the center of their universe, the information coming from the business always revolves around the product. It becomes difficult to keep product and sales messaging out of educational information.  Spin is everywhere. Even customer research, that may have the best intentions, is manipulated in the marketing process in order to "position" the product – instead of using that information to solve customer needs and challenges.

It’s a fine line, and not an easy process, but the mindset of a product-run organization limits how much you can truly get involved in the customers’ lives.

****
 

Hats off to Michael Silverman of Duo Consulting and Scott Abel from The Content Wrangler for holding an outstanding conference.  Truly enjoyed it. First-class audience.

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By joepulizzi published June 18, 2008

Custom Media Innovator of the Year

I was surprised and honored yesterday to receive the Custom Media Innovator of the Year award presented by American Business Media at the Union Club in New York City.  Awards are always nice, but the best part was receiving the award from my friend and colleague Anne O’Brien (pictured) from SourceMedia.  In addition, my good friend and mentor Michael Hurley from HanleyWood was in the audience as well.

The other finalists are all trailblazers in the industry, including my friend Laura Chavoen from Imagination, Charles Lee from IDG and Pete Sobic from Northbrook / Randall-Reilly.

In her speech, Anne said, “Joe has been the true evangelist for the custom media industry. Whether through his speaking, the book, the Junta42 educational site, or Junta42’s new content matching product, Joe is taking the industry where it needs to go.

Thanks Anne!  Lots more to be done. The majority of businesses out there still do not realize the impact they can make on their customers and prospects by communicating valuable, relevant and compelling content.  Doing this on a consistent basis and becoming “part” of the conversation (and not just “talking at” customers) is marketing for the present and future.

The more companies that learn this and begin to practice it will help to shape not only a better business for those companies, but a better marketing world overall. Like some people fighting against global warming, I believe that poor communications is a detriment to society.  By helping companies communicate more effectively, we are improving the world.  Yes, a bit hokey, but honest.

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By joepulizzi published June 15, 2008

The Traditional Advertiser/Customer Relationship

Here is an interesting video from Microsoft about everything that’s wrong with traditional advertising (Thanks to Marketing Amnesia for bringing this to my attention). This provides a good explanation of what’s wrong with traditional advertising and why methods such as content marketing are more important than ever.

Also note that the video itself is a content marketing/branded content piece from Microsoft. You can find more of this at bringtheloveback.com.

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By joepulizzi published June 12, 2008

Driving Business with Content Tools: A Motorola Case Study

Had the pleasure of sitting through a presentation by Eduardo Conrado, Corporate VP of Global Business & Technology for Motorola at the Business Marketing Association annual meeting today. Most in attendance were amazed that 50% of Motorola’s revenues come from B2B ($36.6 billion in total revenues, $18 billion in B2B). They are #1 or #2 in market share in 80% of their B2B customer segments.

There were some really interesting stats and takeaways from this presentation on Motorola B2B Marketing.  The key takeaway is that Motorola is investing in the creation and execution of valuable and relevant content (mostly online) to become a trusted partner and resource to customers.

Here are the highlights:

  • According to Eduardo, Motorola’s key challenge right now is communicating technology trends to the specific needs of their customers. They define all their businesses today by customer segment, not by product. In selling their solutions, they start with the needs of the customer, and then look for an overall solution, that may combine new solutions with those from their current portfolio.
  • The two most important objectives for Motorola in getting new business: 1) Customers must trust Motorola first and 2) Motorola must show the human element (not the technology) in order to sell products and services.

Key Statistics that Motorola has Found in Their Marketing

  • 80% of technology buyers use the web as their primary purchasing decision tool.
  • 85% of business managers turn to search engines first.
  • The #1 reason technology buyers visit the web: case studies and white papers.

Online is the Key for Motorola

  • Motorola has increased headcount five-fold in the last few years.
  • All campaigns now start with the online component first.
  • Motorola’s B2B site gets 1.3 million visitors per month. 34% get there through search engines (Eduardo feels this should be higher).

Content Tools Drive Conversion

With every type of demand generation activity (PR, Events, SEO/SEM, Advertising, Direct Marketing) there is a specific tool and landing page to tell the story. These include microsites, video showcases, video libraries, ezines (digital magazines), online communities, and widgets. From these, they look to convert information seekers into prospects to get through to the sales cycle.

Content Examples (specific to the Government Market)

Video Case Studies: Motorola has a huge library of video case studies. For each one, customers can also download a pdf version of the written study, as well as share with colleagues. Users spend an average of 8 minutes on the site.

This linked example is a YouTube type system that will bring up relevant videos based on vertical segment.

Motorola eZine: 17% open rate, 48% click-through rate. Users spend an average of 17 minutes on the eZine site.

Motorola Second Nature: This is a virtual city specific to government decision-makers (fire fighters, police, FBI, government IT and more). This is a digital experience that provides real-world examples of how these decision-makers can best leverage technology to get their jobs done. Worth the trip to see this.

With the computer-generated examples comes links to real-life videos, case studies and white papers of how actual companies are dealing with the same kinds of issues.

How They Do It?
Motorola has aligned with "best-in-class" agencies to help them create and execute these content programs. They also have 300 business-side marketers which doesn’t hurt either.

Three Corporate Objectives
Motorola’s three key business marketing goals are:

  1. Differentiated positioning (address customer need for each segment)
  2. Distinct, flexible creative platform
  3. Cutting-edge marketing mix (create tools for their customers)

Summary

  1. Everything Motorola does revolves around the customer. They align by customer segments (needs), not products.
  2. Online first. Print and events are integrated, but the plan and creative are pulled from online.
  3. All marketing leads to the creation of informational tools for customers segments. Online content marketing drives everything for Motorola.

Relevant Articles

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By joepulizzi published June 11, 2008

Rupert Murdoch: Deliver Compelling Content Regardless of Channel

In the June 9th issue of the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch was asked the following question:

"…is there going to be a moment in the next 5 or 10 years when it just won’t be economical to print them (newspapers)?"

His response:  “Maybe.  It will be up to them.  I just love communicating with people, and newspapers are a means of doing so.  I am totally technically neutral about it.  I don’t care what platform our news appears on – if it is on printed paper or if it is on the web or mobile or whatever.

For whatever you think about Mr. Murdoch, the above is a lesson for all marketers and publishers who are all dealing with how to communicate with customers in the new, creative and compelling ways.

Here are some key questions that come to mind that all marketing professionals must answer?

  • Are we creating valuable and compelling content on a consistent basis (not just sales information)?
  • To be a trusted resource, should we take a leadership position in publishing industry content, and not just a leadership position in our product categories?
  • Are we so devoted and invested to particular marketing channels that we’ve failed to see how our customers’ behavior has changed? Would that investment be better used in other initiatives?
  • Do we have a "conversation manager" in our company that takes ownership over how our company is getting involved in industry dialogue?
  • Is information a key "product" in our company? Do we treat it as such with the appropriate amount of R&D and human resources?

Let’s face it…we are all publishers now. Companies cannot just produce products anymore…communication is the key differentiator. Mr. Murdoch knows that better than anyone…getting out the information and creating the relationship is what’s important…the format is inconsequential.

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By joepulizzi published June 6, 2008

A Motto You Can Build a Business On

Here is the LEGO motto. Picture taken on their Factory Tour at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, CA.

Interesting Note: LEGO has one packaging error in every 1 million LEGO packages produced.

By joepulizzi published June 3, 2008

Get Content. Get Customers. Book Site Goes Live

While the official publishing date isn’t until July 1st, we (Newt Barrett and myself) just completed the book website for Get Content. Get Customers. If you get a chance, check it out.

A couple areas of note.  First, we are offering a free excerpt of the book, which includes the TOC, Foreword, Introduction and Chapter 1.  If you are interested in buying the book, this will provide a great overview of what content marketing is, why we all need it, and how you can learn from successful content-centered businesses around the globe. Click here to get the free excerpt.

Also, as I reviewed a few posts back, we’ve received some great feedback from some of the leading marketing minds around including Brian Clark (copyblogger), David Meerman Scott, Greg Verdino and Don Schultz. Check out what they have to say here.

Thanks to all those who asked for unsolicited copies of the book.  It is truly appreciated.

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By joepulizzi published June 1, 2008

We’re Going to LEGOLAND! How Custom Print Magazines Drive Behavior

We have decided to take a family vacation this year to LEGOLAND in San Diego (Carlsbad, CA actually) and it has everything to do with LEGO’s custom magazine. I’ve discussed LEGO magazine before, and it never ceases to amaze me how they are a clear leader in content marketing and custom publishing.

I’d just like to spend a bit of time on some of the behaviors that we, as a family, have initiated directly because of receiving LEGO magazine every two months.

  • We first learned about LEGOLAND from the magazine (we’ve been receiving LEGO magazine for about a year and a half now). The pre-Christmas issue had a story on all the happenings at LEGOLAND around Christmas time, and our two sons talked about this constantly. LEGO reinforces the theme park in every issue. The most recent issue featured a ride called "Land of Adventure" that my youngest, Adam, can’t stop talking about. Behavior – we purchased passes to LEGOLAND.
  • LEGO has their own social network as well.  A few months back, LEGO featured MyLEGO Network in one of the LEGO magazine issues. Not long after, our oldest son (Joshua) was finishing off his MyLEGO personal page and showing it to us, and with a self-created music theme to boot. Behavior – the magazine motivates my sons to spend more time on the LEGO website and the MyLEGO network.
  • LEGO magazine’s "cool creations" section includes winning models from photos kids upload to the LEGO website. Joshua uploads images frequently to the site and always checks the cool creations page to see if he made the cut that issue. Although he hasn’t made it yet, he continues to try. Behavior – more time on the website, more time reading the issue – an integrated marketing dream!
  • The value of co-branded partnerships is unbelievable, especially with children. My kids love Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Spongebob Squarepants, etc., for the simple reason that they were featured in LEGO magazine, bought the LEGOs, and then became fans of the shows (Note that the LEGOs came first). The only reason they haven’t seen the new Indiana Jones movie is because it’s PG-13 and we won’t let them. Behavior – we have purchased both LEGO Star Wars video games, have the LEGO Indiana Jones game on pre-order, and have too many of the actual LEGOs to even count. It’s sickening.

Custom print magazines can be an extremely powerful tool – maybe more so than ever before because of the integration of the web. It’s amazing to watch my son read the print magazine and then jump up and head to the Internet to go to LEGO.com. Their blend of user-generated content, comic story lines (with branded characters), and magalog-type promotion is genius. It’s also why the magazine has been around since I was a kid – because it works.

Two other important points: 1) At least four of our friends/family have requested a free LEGO magazine subscription from our recommendation, and 2) print will not die anytime soon because when kids can’t bring their Playstation Portables, iPods or Nintendo DS systems into a quiet place, they can still bring their LEGO magazines. The same rule goes for many other business areas where technology isn’t as portable as we would like (airplanes for one).

It’s not often a company can show direct proof that sales happen from a custom magazine. In this case, our family is living proof that LEGO magazine is a profit generator and has helped LEGO become and stay the leading building-toy brand around.

Related Articles:

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By joepulizzi published May 28, 2008

27 Days and 100 Publishers – 5 Startup Tips and Lessons

Today we passed the 100 publisher mark for sign ups for Junta42 Match, our free web service for marketers that matches businesses with the best possible content and custom publishing providers for projects such as custom magazines, newsletters, web content and other custom publishing initiatives. We are pretty excited about hitting this mark so early, especially with 27 days still left until we launch formally to businesses (Junta42 Match is only open for publishers to sign up at this time – launch date is June 24th).

It’s a weird feeling now that we are getting close to our formal launch date.  Everything that we’ve accomplished over the past 12 months has been geared toward this launch, now less than a month away.

Although we are very confident that we have created a valuable service for marketers, we won’t know for months truly how effective or valuable it will be. That said, here are few thoughts, lessons and tips that any longstanding business or startup may find valuable. I know I have.

  1. Don’t forget about "traditional" PR. I’m a huge believer in social media marketing. The blog has been a tremendous resource for new business opportunities, as well as commenting on blogs and being active in social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, but there is still a place for traditional PR. As much as there is great value in social media, and that it most likely is the most significant form for marketing in the future, many businesses still thrive on engaging in traditional media. That means that getting articles "placed" in traditional media outlets, speaking at key industry events, and forming relationships with certain individuals in the media is a very important part of launching or maintaining a business. Key takeaway – at this point in marketing evolution, there must be a place for both traditional and social media marketing. The marriage of the two can be truly powerful.
  2. Beta is extremely powerful.  Use it.  Just the idea of a site or product being in "beta" is that it is a work in progress. It naturally means that the business is actively looking for feedback about the product or service, and that any feedback will be used to make the product better. All products and services should be set up this way, but by proclaiming "beta" customers seem more willing to give you feedback, and want to help shape the product’s or service’s success. If I had my choice, I’d never come out of beta. This is where Google does it right, with seemingly tens of products continuously in beta. Key Takeaway – If beta means you never stop working on your product or service, you are always in beta.
  3. Make love, not war. In the new global economy, I’m finding more and more that competition is a hazy concept at best. Even companies who have directly competitive products can find a way to partner on products, services or industry initiatives. We never look at any company as a competitor, but as an opportunity to expand our reach in a new way. Key Takeaway – Partnerships are the new currency. Any company can be a competitor or a partner…survival is more likely if you have a partnership mindset.
  4. It’s not the idea, it’s the execution. There are great ideas all the time, coming from people much smarter than you or me. The key to success is that you are willing to risk everything to make your product or service successful. As Ram Charam & Larry Bossidy note in their book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, "most often today the difference between a company and its competitor is the ability to execute." Key Takeaway – Never stop doing. There is way to much talking and thinking going on. Success depends on those that actually stop talking and start doing.
  5. Never turn down help…ever. The great thing about startups is that there are so many people out there that want to help you. I must have heard over a hundred times from people that they’d love to start their own business, but can’t for any number of reasons. Those people want to see you win and succeed. If they can’t do it themselves, let them feel a little bit of what it takes to launch a company by being part of it. Key Takeaway – Most everyone "wants" to start a company, but not everyone can. Those people could be your greatest assets of all.

One thing is for sure…even if the business goes up in flames, I haven’t regretted one minute of the ride. From sheer joy to the feeling of utter failure, there are not many things in life that conjure up such emotions. I love it.

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