By Robert Rose published August 7, 2020 Est Read Time: 5 min

How Are Marketers Embracing the Chaos? [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending August 7, 2020

This week I’m finally accepting the chaos. I talk with Leslie Talbot about the new importance of content in marketing. And I point you to an article that will help you decide whether to invest in trending topics or evergreen content.

Listen to (or watch) the Weekly Wrap

Our theme this week is faith in chaos. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “I accept chaos. I’m not sure whether it accepts me.”

Let’s wrap it up.

Listen to the episode (time stamps apply to the audio and video versions):

Watch it, too:

One deep thought: What’s normal anyway? (3:21)

What is the new normal? What’s the next normal?  What even is normal?

Every marketing team I speak to these days is doing one of three things. They’re preparing for a reorganization; they’re in the midst of a reorganization; or they’re emerging from a reorganization.

I have no idea if that’s factually true, but it feels true.

In all three instances, I’m finding this weird paradox. Everyone wants to do meaningful things, but no one wants to start anything meaningful – including, ironically, me. How do you even begin to plan for the now when you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring for you or your clients or your audience?

Everyone wants to do meaningful things, but no one wants to start anything meaningful, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

I’ve been working with a tech company CMO the last six months. The company has done well despite the dumpster fire that is 2020. Still, the CEO and the board didn’t think the company was moving fast enough. They suggested a complete reorganization of the product, marketing, and sales teams.

The CMO successfully explained to her leadership colleagues why this was a bad idea. Unfortunately, during the weeks she was making her case, rumors began to fly. Even she didn’t know how it would all turn out.

Eventually, the reorganization was put on hold. But, in the meantime, the marketing and sales teams and even vendors (including yours truly) panicked or acted irrationally. And it cost the teams months of progress.

People typically respond to chaos in one of three ways: (1) we freeze, (2) we get chaotic ourselves, or (3) we continue down the path we laid.

When we freeze, we seek safety in inactivity. We say things like, “I’m not taking a risk on that cool, interesting new initiative. I’ll keep my head down, wait for chaos to strike, and then figure out how to deal with it.”

When we get chaotic ourselves, we seek safety in hyperactivity. We try all kinds of new things in anticipation of the chaos, as if to say, “What do we have to lose?” We flail around, moving in every direction at once and making a lot of noise, hoping people will see us as productive and leave us alone.

Continuing down the path is the most helpful response. We embrace chaos, accepting that it will come again and again and again. We get in the game. We keep our sanity. We seek ways to contribute strategic value through our work. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we don’t. Tomorrow is always the next normal, the new normal. And there is always a tomorrow.

This week’s person making a difference in content: Leslie Talbot (6:27)

My guest this week is Leslie Talbot, senior vice president, strategic programs, at Corporate Visions. In her social media profile, Leslie says she’s “challenging conventional wisdom and changing the customer conversation … one Oxford comma at a time,” which immediately makes me a fan.

At Corporate Visions, Leslie helps B2B companies develop the messages, content, and selling skills to master the four most critical value conversations.

We talk about how real alignment of sales and marketing works in B2B.

Here’s a bit of insight Leslie shared:

All things being equal, people don’t want to change unless they have to. When you’re a marketer or a seller and you’re looking to acquire a new prospect, you want to do everything possible to disrupt and defeat their status-quo bias. You want them to change. You want them to change now and you want them to pick you … But when you are the status quo – they are an existing customer – the last thing you want to do is disrupt yourself.

Marketers want to defeat their prospects’ status-quo bias, says @leslietalbot via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

Listen in, then learn more about Leslie:

One content marketing idea you can use (28:58)

The one post on CMI’s site I’d love for you to revisit is Three Questions to See if You Should Tackle Trending Topics, by Amanda Milligan.

Although content focused on trending topics appeals to an audience primed to find the subject matter valuable, Amanda explains, the trade-off is investing time in creating content that could quickly become irrelevant.

The key to creating trending #content is making sure the topic can lift your content enough in the short term to make creating it worth your time, says @millanda via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

The three questions she suggests you ask in deciding to pursue trending topics or to stick with evergreen content act as a great pressure test for your content strategy.

The wrap-up

I hope you’re finding that this show helps you embrace the chaos. I’m always striving to improve it. If you have thoughts about what you’d like to hear about or guests you’d like to hear from, let me know in the comments. And if you love the show, I’d sure love for you to review it or share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

To listen to past shows, go to the main Weekly Wrap page.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute.

Author: Robert Rose

Robert is the founder and chief strategy officer of The Content Advisory, the education and consulting group for The Content Marketing Institute. Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided content marketing and strategy advice for global brands such as Capital One, NASA, Dell, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Robert’s third book – Killing Marketing, with co-author Joe Pulizzi has been called the “book that rewrites the rules of marketing.” His second book – Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing is a top seller and has been called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.” Robert’s first book, Managing Content Marketing, spent two weeks as a top 10 marketing book on Amazon.com and is generally considered to be the “owners manual” of the content marketing process. You can catch up with Robert on his popular podcast - The Weekly Wrap. Follow him on Twitter @Robert_Rose.

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