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Sherwin Williams and Content Marketing: 5 Questions with Ellen Moreau

Ellen Moreau is on the front line of content marketing on a daily basis as VP of Marketing Communications for Sherwin Williams Paint Stores Group. Her responsibilities take her from fundamental marketing practices to more sophisticated social media marketing strategies.

Moreau’s session at Content Marketing World is designed to inform session-goers of the value of content marketing and its many facets.

She shared her insights on content marketing and other strategies in the following Q&A.

Content Marketing World (CMW): What are the key components to developing a successful content marketing strategy?

Ellen Moreau (EM): Start with a solid marketing plan that is customer-centric. Make sure that you are creating content that your target needs and wants not just what suits your business objectives. You really need to evaluate how to marry the two. What you develop has to be relevant to attract and engage the target.

Consider all the ways that your target gathers information. Are there certain places they look for different types of content? Use research to understand how consumers use content to drive purchase decisions and brand preference. We survey customers and ask them directly what types of information they want, how they want to receive it, and where they look for it.

CMW: How do you develop one cohesive strategy?

EM: A cohesive strategy can have many tentacles. You have to consider the journey a consumer takes, and while it isn’t as linear as it used to be, there is still a process that most consumers go through to make a purchase decision. We map out the process and consider what messages are appropriate to deliver to help consumers  in each phase of the process.  Then we do research to confirm that we are on target.

We also work with influential bloggers to keep them informed of new products and decorating trends, and we provide input to questions they have to maintain good relationships and top-of-mind awareness.

CMW:  How are you incorporating social media into your content marketing strategies?

EM: Social media is considered to be just like all the other media when developing a plan. It is one of the ways that consumers are gathering information in addition to more traditional approaches. In addition to Facebook, we do a lot of outreach to influential bloggers to make sure they are up to date on our products, color trends and even promotional events. We are also developing contextually relevant integrations with media partners that have social media extensions, and some utilize contests and other interactive vehicles that encourage customers to share their Sherwin-Williams painting experiences with others.

CMW: Is there still a prominent place for fundamental marketing strategies?

EM: Absolutely. As I mentioned, a comprehensive marketing plan should drive the business, and content marketing is an important component of it. Other marketing initiatives such as new product development, customer service, and store experience, are also crucial to our success. The need for solid strategies is not changing; the mediums by which we are delivering them are.

CMW:  What do you consider to be the most successful content marketing strategy you’ve developed?

EM: Utilizing media partners to help develop content is something that has been very successful for us. For our recent HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams launch, we wanted to provide information so that consumers would know how easy it is to select colors through our new color collections from HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams. To help support the program, we created a video to help explain the program, which can be accessed on our website and YouTube channel. We also partnered with magazine publishers to create custom content. We even created a custom Color Splash special on HGTV that highlighted the color collections and products.

CMW: What are some of the challenges in developing content marketing at Sherwin Williams?

EM: Having the human and financial resources to create all of the content that we would like to share is the biggest challenge.

CMW: Your thoughts on the Content Marketing World Conference?

EM: I’d like to learn more about what innovative approaches companies are taking to attract new customers and better engage current customers, and how others are measuring the successes of their programs.