Creating Content Isn’t Enough
Mark didn’t set a business goal to write five books in five years. Instead, he has found himself obsessed with answering a question that’s on the minds of his customers and students.
“It’s not a plan, it’s just a natural extension of answering people’s questions. And as long as people have questions I can’t answer in a blog post, I’ll probably write a book.”
The most recent obsession on Mark’s mind was the information explosion on the web and how we as marketers can cut through it all. Information density is forging new platforms and content forms, and it’s forging our marketing strategies. Mark’s message has been misinterpreted by some—”Mark Schaefer says content marketing is dead”—but that’s not what he believes.
Mark knows content is still at the heart of everything we do as marketers. But it’s not enough to create content. If no one sees it, it’s a waste of time.
Branding is more important than ever. Building trust with people who are moving the needle is key. “To cut through, we need to be spending our time and resources building trust, not traffic.” (highlight to tweet)
And that’s not easy. “You can’t be a lazy marketer. You’ve got to dig in,” Mark says. It’s easy to rely on the vast number of marketing tools that can be found today. But a handy tool with a quick fix isn’t what we need. We need to make sure we are truly learning things about our audiences and finding ways to really connect.
“I was just talking to a young marketer, he’s new on his job, and he said, ‘I just don’t know how to get going.’ And I said, ‘Have you visited your customers yet?’ He hadn’t, and he’d been on the job for like, four months. I said, ‘Get on a delivery truck. Go ride along with your drivers. Talk to the customers. See how they are using your product. You’ve got to get out there; you still have to do the work.'”
Educating New Marketers
The execution and implementation of marketing fundamentals is highly transferable. Regardless of the organization, a marketer has to dive deep into the product, data, and customers. Mark has worked with very different organizations: Dell, Adidas, Johnson & Johnson, and the U.S. Air Force. As long as you have a good foundation in marketing fundamental, you can dive into the specific situation you’re in at any organization.
“You’ve got to know your customers better than they even know themselves.” (highlight to tweet)
The difficulty lies in finding marketers who have a well-rounded knowledge of traditional marketing techniques and new digital marketing tools and techniques. There are too many business schools that don’t have one single class in digital marketing. Their graduates have the foundation, but no digital marketing experience. On the flip side, there plenty of marketers that are passionate about new digital marketing tools, but don’t know the basics of marketing. They can’t do a SWOT analysis; they don’t know how to create strategy.
There is a big disconnect between these two really important parts of the whole.
Analytics is also a critical part of a marketer’s skill set. You have to know how to be a critical thinker and find the small signals that are going to lead to inspiration and innovation. “Marketing is math. You don’t have to be a mathematician or statistician, but you do have to know how to ask the right questions.” (highlight to tweet)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Mark wanted to be an astronaut, like almost every little boy who grew up in the ’60s and 70s. He loved the science and technology of the Apollo program. “I loved the dream, the vision, and the heroes that went into space. So I always wanted to be an astronaut.”
Watch the visual notetaking experience of this episode of Content Pros, produced by Stephanie Crowley of Chrysalis Studios: