Expand Your Online Presence & Content Activation

EPISODE 24: Expand Your Online Presence & Content Activation | PODCAST

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Show Notes:

How can your brand stand out online? What makes a successful marketing campaign? It just takes 3 key pieces – research, measurement, and goal setting. Without them, you can’t build out your content. On this episode of Pivot Points, Managing Partner of Market Vantage, Devin Littlefield, stops by to discuss best practices when it comes to content activation with Cramer’s Tripp Underwood and Erin Martin.

Transcript:

Elise Orlowski:

I’m Elise Orlowski, a senior video director here at Cramer.

Tripp Underwood :

And I’m Tripp Underwood, a creative director at Cramer.

Elise Orlowski:

And at Cramer, we work with so many incredibly fascinating people from all over multiple industries.

Tripp Underwood :

We have so many great conversations, many that are just too good to keep to ourselves, so now we’re sharing them with the world,

Elise Orlowski:

Right here from Cramer Studios.

Tripp Underwood :

This is Pivot Points.

Elise Orlowski:

Cut.

Tripp Underwood :

Hi. Welcome to another episode of Pivot Points. I’m your host, Tripp Underwood, and I’m joined today by my co-host, Erin Martin, director of marketing here at Cramer. And we’re also going to be talking with Devin Littlefield, who is a managing partner at Market Vantage. He’s a digital marketing pro and someone that we here at Cramer turn to for strategic help when it comes to executing on our marketing plans, activating our content, and basically bringing our brand to life in a digital space, so thanks so much for joining us, Devin.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s awesome to see the art coming together behind the scenes now and being on the other side of the camera.

Erin Martin:

Yes.

Devin Littlefield:

It’s fun.

Erin Martin:

Absolutely.

Tripp Underwood :

Devin, your team specializes in improving online traffic for your clients, including Cramer. Talk to us a little bit about your approach to that. What are some of the key elements to a successful marketing campaign and just generally making a brand more visible online?

Devin Littlefield:

Sure. It all starts, I think, in the research phase, being able to understand what are the things that are going really, really well for that company, that business, and what are the things that may need to be improved upon? And we always want to start there. And I think that even generally comes down to measurement, right. What are the digital tactics? How are you measuring things? What seems to be effective? Do you have internal benchmarks that we can kind of validate against?

Tripp Underwood :

Okay,

Devin Littlefield:

That’s extremely important for a lot of businesses and really our starting place because we need to first understand all of those things, and that will help inform goal setting. Our goal setting process is then the ability to say, all right, what have we done in the past? What are the things that we could shoot for? And I’ll add that I’m a big advocate of what are the business outcomes that we can help drive or certainly influence. And with those goals and the measurement plans in place, we can then effectively create strategy and the execution on whatever those things happen to be.

Tripp Underwood :

And have any of those metrics or milestones changed over the years? What constitutes a metric these days?

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, that’s a really interesting question because so long ago when digital advertising especially was just getting started, and even SEO for websites, you know this term black hat strategies, where-

Tripp Underwood :

Sadly that’s more my era. What have they invented in the past 15 years?

Devin Littlefield:

No, it’s like how can you hack the best results possible? And really at that point it seemed what was your overall web traffic.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Devin Littlefield:

And especially for advertising, how many impressions and clicks and maybe conversions if you were tracking that. But that was effectively it from a digital perspective.

Tripp Underwood :

Okay.

Devin Littlefield:

Now it’s really evolved and I think the heart of today’s conversation needs to be around trackable user engagement online to say, all right, Erin hit our website. I could see the activity on the website. I know what content she’s looking at. Now I can create content or take certain actions to be able to speak to Erin at that right moment with content that she’s interested in. That’s the level of tracking that we’re at these days. And so far more important than just what are your impressions and your clicks on your ads? It’s now what’s the engagement like with your content? How can we use that to influence other content in the future or take certain actions now to be able to push people down the funnel further?

Tripp Underwood :

Awesome.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that we’ve talked about quite a bit is in order to have a successful online presence, you need to have content that matters. You need to have content that’s teaching your audience something, making them think differently, adding value to their everyday life. And so we at Cramer spend so much time building that POV, building what we want to say, and then putting all this investment into a single piece of content. What are some ways that you can get the most out of that content?

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, it’s really interesting you talk about that because I think it all comes down to what your target audience is or who they are. And I think that will influence the campaign or the strategies and the tactics we actually use at that point.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

And especially Cramer and Market Vantage, we’re both B2B entities. We’re trying to work with other businesses. For us, I think investing most of the time in energy on LinkedIn, frankly at this moment in time, from a digital ad perspective and from an organic social perspective, LinkedIn continues to be a top priority for Market Vantage and clients as well. And so with that in mind, knowing that LinkedIn’s a really, really hot platform at the moment, we need to be thinking about, all right, how can we develop content and ideas that will attract people and get in front of them at the right moment in time on LinkedIn? And so eBook content’s huge on the platform right now.

Erin Martin:

Okay.

Devin Littlefield:

Carousel type ads, or you can even with document posts that are organic format, you can essentially tell mini stories within them and now you start to think about it a little bit differently. Knowing the execution and where you’re going will help influence the strategy as well. Because if you’re trying to build a story, say, or a document post on LinkedIn, you have up to 10 slides to be able to actually put that content in. Now I have 10 opportunities to effectively catch people, and you can create engaging content that way that will keep them coming back or make it more share worthy, make it more comment worthy, et cetera.

Erin Martin:

Right. It’s essential to make sure your content is in the right format for whatever channel you’re trying to activate.

Devin Littlefield:

Right.

Erin Martin:

And Carousel posts is a great example for LinkedIn.

Devin Littlefield:

Exactly. Yeah, and I think one other thing we’ve really been seeing, especially lately is not all businesses are fully aware of the actual things that are working really well right now, so they take kind of a spaghetti approach, we’re going to put content out on all the platforms and see what sticks. And personally, I think especially for maybe smaller marketing teams, but certainly teams that are kind of working within a silo, it could be really challenging without an open line of communication and without level set goals across teams to know what you’re ultimately trying to do here.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

And so I always go back to what are you measuring, but also what are you really trying to accomplish with these types of things or with this content and work from there.

Erin Martin:

Right. And I think something that we’ve talked about is because of all that investment that goes into a single point of view, making sure that you are breaking it into the smaller pieces to keep multiple channels active so you’re not having to build a new piece of content for each channel, but instead you’re repurposing those ideas and that effort for the right format for the right channel.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, I was thinking of an analogy on my drive over. It’s kind of like if I’m a chef in a kitchen and somebody comes over and hands me a bag of lemons.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Without a plan of what I’m going to do with those lemons and without a set goal, they may just rot in the back.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Even if you just gave me one lemon, I can still turn that around and make lemonade if that’s what we’re trying to accomplish here. But if not, maybe I’ll go make lemon squares or something else, right?

Erin Martin:

Yeah.

Devin Littlefield:

Now I’m getting hungry.

Erin Martin:

All right.

Tripp Underwood :

Talking about content being key, but then this idea of not having to reinvent the wheel when you’re trying to keep up a particular cadence I think is important. And we see that a lot in the event space where we spend a lot of time. I wonder if you can talk to me a little bit about using event content throughout the year to kind of increase the return on investment for some of our clients. Like anything you’re seeing in the space that’s working well or stuff that you wish people did more of and maybe they’re not doing?

Devin Littlefield:

Sure. I think first and foremost is just doing a full sweep, of course, on what the actual content is. You did a big event, you spent all this money on it, now take the time, read through all the transcripts, understand what the themes are, and then try and strategically align that content to fit within themes of your business, right? And obviously we’re targeting goals at that point as well, so if we know that we want to drive X in business outcomes as a result of this content, now we can start to think about, okay, I’m going to want to create several eBooks from this type of content. I’m going to want to split up the videos into smaller, digestible, one minute chunks so that way it’ll entice people to go look for more content. Because I think when you think about a funnel, we need to be able to first just put the content out there and make people aware of who you are.

And I’m assuming under that example we’re talking about people that didn’t actually get to go to the live event, we’re now just talking post event, but then with your content after now we need to just give them the research and the information that they’re really looking for, which becomes more of content downloads on thought leadership, and then research based pieces, and then case studies proving your value. And from there you will inevitably, you’ve created a funnel at that point. You’ve pushed people down it or helped guide them down it.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Depending on how you want to think about it.

Tripp Underwood :

A little aggressive analogy,

Devin Littlefield:

A little aggressive. All right, we guide them down the funnel and then at that point they’re going to make a decision about whether they want to work with you or not. And I think for the most part, if you’ve done a great job of giving them the content that they want to see and you prove your value and who you are as a company in that process, they’re probably going to go with you.

Tripp Underwood :

It’s funny, so obviously the sales funnel analogy is as old as time, but this idea of making content that fits within a funnel, because what happens in a funnel? It’s specifically designed to keep things that are too big from going all the way down.

Devin Littlefield:

Right.

Tripp Underwood :

And I think, traditionally marketing has failed at that in some capacity of just trying to give all the content you have at a particular phase and hope someone wades through it. But this idea of making it so it fits within the funnel, I think is a great visual analogy.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, and one thing I’ll point out though is in this day and age, we have so much technology to be able to track people and understand behavior.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

But at the end of the day, there are going to be things that we will not be able to track or do a tribute because who knows? And actually Cramer’s a great example of this.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, it’s a messy world out there.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah. Well, people, they’ve heard about Cramer, we run ads for Cramer, but that doesn’t inherently mean that my ads should get all the credit for driving leads for you guys, right?

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

It’s somebody heard about you elsewhere-

Erin Martin:

It’s multiple stops along the line.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, yeah. And certainly in the world of digital, we call this incremental lift or this idea or another term halo effect, where essentially advertising can influence certain behavior that essentially becomes unattributable, so if I’ve heard of Cramer before, I see an ad show up in my LinkedIn feed promoting something, some great thought leadership piece, instead of actually clicking on the ad, maybe I’m on my mobile device on a subway somewhere. I get off, I have to go to work, I get to my desk later, pull up my desktop, my computer, and search for Cramer and then just go directly to the website. From a digital perspective, that’s an unattributable action that happens.

Tripp Underwood :

You can’t prove it, but-

Devin Littlefield:

I can’t totally prove it, but I think we see that overall when you do have effective strategies in place, other areas will be supported in that process, like your organic search results.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Or even your Direct/None traffic source, which just drives me crazy because it’s all unattributable traffic essentially, but they all work together and they all kind of lift each other up.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

And it’s like the rising tide that raises all ships.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, I think one of the things that our teams really learned is that it’s easy to focus on the channels that marketing owns, your website, your SEO, your social media, your paid advertisements. But finding ways to activate your content within your sales organization, within your account organization. I know something that we ran last year was Agents Of Hybrid. And so in a time where people were trying to sort out what hybrid should look like, why should I still be putting a virtual option out there? One of the things that we talked about was by doing a virtual option, we can now use that video footage. We can now have that into smaller clips for our sales and account team to share with people that may not have attended or people that may have attended to continue the conversation. And so finding ways when you’re making those investments to really activate all the channels and look beyond just the marketing team has been essential for us.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, absolutely. And Agents Of Hybrid was such an interesting topic as well, because it was at a time when hybrid was being talked about, but nobody actually was doing it, right?

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Nobody knew what to do and you guys did it successfully, so kudos to you guys for making that happen. But on the other side, it’s like, okay, you did this event, you came up with all this content afterwards and then actually leveraged it, right?

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Put in a plan and actually drove more leads, drove engagement and thought leadership and people thought favorably of Cramer as a result, so I think that’s a perfect example of especially taking an event, putting a really strong POV on it, and then having an actual strategy in place afterwards to then go increment on.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, seriously. Well no, I know that that was a huge moment for us. I think if someone were to be looking at their content plan for the year, looking at their events for the year, trying to figure out, okay, how do I activate all of this? What are some of the ways that they could start looking at measurement? A, looking at what they’re already measuring? And B, what should they be looking at going forward?

Devin Littlefield:

Sure. I think businesses fundamentally have an incredible opportunity right now to be able to focus on user engagement tracking and going beyond just the anonymized Google Analytics or web data traffic. We now have the tools in place to be able to effectively say, all right, Erin, what were you looking at when you visited our website? Or Tripp, what were you shopping around for? Whatever it happens to be. We have that tech at our fingertips now, and I think all businesses should be leveraging it, and especially in the world of digital marketing where privacy is becoming a much bigger concern.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

And anonymizing data is becoming far more prevalent and so many other technically focused things. We just really need as marketers, we need to be, one, respecting privacy.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Devin Littlefield:

But two, also being given permission. And if we are given that permission, then we can still track people. We’ve got the okay to track people at what their behavior is online. And I think that’s far more important these days from an engagement perspective.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Because the other thing is almost no matter what, that will help prove and tie back to your business outcomes that we talked about before, right? Because if I see that you take certain actions, engage down the funnel, and then become close one business for those that are in the B2B market, that’s the only way that we can really, really suss it out as being this ad or this engagement then ultimately worked all the way down the funnel and became close one for us, so I think that’s super important these days.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, I think it also keeps your team honest, making sure that you’re putting out content that’s landing or content that’s continuing conversations that your audience is telling you they want to have.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah, absolutely. Because I think one of the other sides of that equation is you see all this data coming in and that’s great, but I think it can also be revealing about what’s not included within your data.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Or not included in your user engagement, because if you’re seeing, you know put out this great piece of content and nobody’s downloading it.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Something might be wrong and that’s okay.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Devin Littlefield:

That’s a story that we can tell and obviously go and fix it and make sure that that mistake doesn’t happen again, so I think it all comes back to what are your goals, how are you going to effectively measure that? And then I think just being revealing about, or just getting the data in place to be able to help support that storytelling of what that effort did towards achieving those goals or what it didn’t do. And in which case you can learn from that.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep. And it might be, in some cases the content might just not be landing. In other cases it might be the content is being displayed properly, the advertising isn’t working, the tone of the ad is different than the content, the content’s too long.

Devin Littlefield:

Right.

Tripp Underwood :

If you like what you have and it’s not working, do your due diligence and try to figure out why. But explore a couple of different angles. I like this holistic approach to just being more thoughtful of how the content is used and then being honest with yourself if sometimes not working, it just might not be working and move on.

Erin Martin:

Yeah, don’t be afraid to get a gut check from your team.

Tripp Underwood :

Yeah.

Devin Littlefield:

Yeah. And if it is going really well, then let’s replicate those results, right?

Erin Martin:

That’s right. Right, right, right.

Devin Littlefield:

Let’s just make more eBook content like that theme, because clearly it worked, right?

Tripp Underwood :

Yeah.

Devin Littlefield:

And I think that’s more so in today’s day and age, it’s marketing should be focusing on incremental improvement over time. Not just being told that you need to go measure and do this thing, execute it, and then report on it and you’re done. You should always be trying to improve.

Tripp Underwood :

Is there such thing as too much content? Like is there, you hear a lot of people talking about overload, content overload, but I also think I come at it from a perspective where as a content creator, I’m creating all these things. Now, in a perfect world, I’d love to believe that everyone is reading every sentence and looking at every picture, but then I’m constantly reminding myself and being reminded by my team of someone’s going to see one out of 10 of these.

Devin Littlefield:

Right.

Tripp Underwood :

So is there such a thing as too much content? Can you over plan it? Or is you just need to be respectful of the fact that people are coming at it from very many different ways and they get what they get?

Devin Littlefield:

You know that’s a tough question to answer, because naturally my inclination is to say there’s no such thing.

Tripp Underwood :

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

But that’s because I usually come from a perspective of, we’re not getting enough content from you, so you need to go create more.

Tripp Underwood :

Right.

Erin Martin:

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Devin Littlefield:

Not you guys. Just in general, clients have, it seems like creating content sometimes can be difficult for clients, but I think more often than not, when you hit the right cadence and you’re putting out content that is meaningful and impactful towards supporting somebody within that funnel, I don’t know if there’s such a thing, because you’re going to always find ways to be able to pivot this type of content and leverage it in different ways, so if you’re doing year based things, right? Research reports from Forrester that you co-sponsored, right?

Erin Martin:

Right.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Devin Littlefield:

That that’s a time-bound piece of content. The other side of it too is we just don’t totally have all the attribution in place in terms of what people are looking at, unfortunately.

Tripp Underwood :

Yep.

Devin Littlefield:

So to some respect, you do need to have a variety of content available to support them in whatever journey they may be on because we just don’t, there’s never going to be a perfect one-to-one of, we know that they were interested in this search and then they clicked on this ad and then they read this piece of content.

Erin Martin:

Right.

Devin Littlefield:

Like that’s nice and that’s our goal, but we just can’t always physically get there, so I would say definitely air on the side of create more content than not.

Tripp Underwood :

Than you think you need.

Devin Littlefield:

Create more than you think you need, yeah.

Tripp Underwood :

Well that’s about all the time we have today. I want to thank everyone for listening and watching and we’ll be back with more Pivot Points soon.

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