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How to Make Content Your Brand’s Safety Net [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending March 13, 2020

This week I’m thinking about how content can act as a safety net. I share a fresh take on a new claim that CMO shine (and pay) is on the decline. Megan Gilhooly joins me to talk about how content teams can find data about everything from the customer experience to the customer journey and customer sentiment. And I point you to an article about the right and wrong way to use vanity metrics.

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Our theme this week is safety at work. It’s been zero days since our last incident … Let’s wrap it up.

One deep thought: Weathering a crisis with content (3:15)

You probably have an array of go-to resources to lean on in a time of crisis – family, spouse, best friends, expert professionals, brands, colleagues, or pets. You trust them.

Sometimes you (or the brand you work for) are part of other people’s safety nets. Ideally, they trust you.

But in times of widespread crisis, trust falls like dominos. Institutions fail. A senior member of your team says the wrong thing, and suddenly trust falls for all your colleagues. As a result, smaller challenges seem bigger and bigger ones seem existential.

Providing or receiving emotional safety requires self-awareness – to know what you’re feeling and to have the ability to feel it.

From a business standpoint, those feelings – and the actions that follow – may not be what’s best for business. But they may be what’s best for building trust.

I talk about how those two things may be at odds – and why content practitioners may be the secret weapon in rebuilding trust inside your company as well as with your audience.

Content practitioners can be the secret weapon in rebuilding trust during a crisis, says @Robert_Rose in this week’s #WeeklyWrap. Via @CMIContent Click To Tweet

A fresh take on what data says about the status of CMOs (12:49)

An article in Harvard Business Review caught my eye this week – and set me off on my latest rant: Is Technology Subsuming Marketing?

The authors open by explaining the pushback they got to a 2019 article in which they argued that marketing is less important to organizations than departments like engineering, technology, and innovation. They came to that conclusion because advertising spending has decreased as a percentage of total expenditures since 1975 while research and development rose as a percentage of total spending.

“Many scholars and practitioners wrote to us arguing that marketing is much more than advertising spend. It was a fair point,” the authors concede in the current article.

Marketing expenses are hard to track, so the authors decided to look at C-suite salaries at companies in the S&P 1500. When they looked at the five top compensated officers, they saw a 35% drop in the number of CMOs whose salaries had ranked in the top five at their companies between 1999 and 2017.

Here’s the conclusion they drew:

Because compensation typically reflects an executive’s seniority in an organization, our data suggests that the importance of CMO in the organizational hierarchy has declined, which supports our earlier assessment that marketing as a function is less valued today than it once was.

The article offers some possible explanations. Technology companies have grown in prominence over those 17 years – maybe tech founders don’t appreciate marketing as much. Maybe the rise of acquisitions explains it all.

Can marketing’s importance really be measured by the CMO’s salary ranking? #weeklywrap @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent Click To Tweet

I think something else is going on. You’ll have to listen in to hear my take. Here are the other articles I reference in this week’s rant:

Listen in, then let me know in the comments whether you think brands value marketing less today than they once did.

This week’s person making a difference in content: Megan Gilhooly (19:28)

Megan Gilhooly, my guest this week, is presenting at this year’s ContentTech Summit (now scheduled for Aug. 10-12), where she’ll talk about creating a personalized, unified digital experience. A speaker at previous ContentTech Summits and Intelligent Content Conferences, she is a true content geek and practitioner. Her experience covers technical and marketing content, e-learning, process development, and journalism.

Megan is vice president of customer experience at Zoomin Software, where she makes it her mission to change how organizations think about product content. She spent two decades managing content teams, driving content strategy, and delivering stellar information experiences at companies like Amazon, Ping Identity, and INVIDI Technologies. A former online retail business owner and Certified Scrum Master, Megan brings a unique perspective to managing information development and content strategy.

She talks about what she learned working for Amazon and how she developed a process for looking at the value of content through the lens of data.

Here’s a snippet of what Megan has to say:

The reality is a lot of folks don’t have the data they want, but often they have access to data that can be a proxy for what they want. I spend a lot of time going through key problems they want to address and trying to ask questions that pick out what kind of data they have to support that that is actually a problem.

#Content teams may think they don’t have the data they need. But they often have access to data that works as a proxy for the data they want, says @MeganGilhooly in #WeeklyWrap. Via @CMIContent Click To Tweet

Listen to our conversation, then learn more about Megan:

  • Connect with Megan on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Send her an email (her first name <dot> last name

One content marketing idea you can use (32:07)

This week, I’d love for you to check out (or revisit) an article about measurement: The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Vanity Metrics by Daniel Hochuli.

One of the most important things he writes about is the importance of setting a business objective – and then figuring out the metrics you need to assess your progress toward that objective. Take a look at the article for advice on how to do that.

Love for our sponsor: Kapost

So let me tell you a story … Once upon a time, customers wanted content. So, marketing produced it.

As new ways to reach customers emerged, marketers kept creating more and more content. They also started growing their teams and adding technology to help drive engagement.

But in all the excitement, we forgot why we started making content in the first place: for our customers. We knew the messages we worked so hard to build were getting lost in the chaos, but we didn’t know another way.

Finally our customer said, “Enough! You’re confusing me!”

With that, Kapost was born. Kapost unites revenue teams to speak in one voice across the entire customer journey.

Learn more at

The wrap-up

Join me next week when I’ll brew up some safetea that’ll help keep a combination of deep thoughts safe. And – this is not a drill – I’ll bring you one news item you can say you saw and offer one tip that’ll act as content marketing safety glasses – because we’ve lost all our contacts. And it’ll all be delivered in a little less time than it takes for another large event to announce a delay or cancellation.

If you have ideas for what you’d like to hear more of on our weekly play on words, let us know in the comments. And if you love the show, we’d sure love for you to review it or share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

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

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute