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Content Marketing World Takeaways

By Kimberly Hemesath | September 14, 2015

@designRoom and #CMWorld

dRC attended the world’s largest content event, Content Marketing World, just last week. With over 3,500 people in attendance, 225 speakers, 550+ companies, and 123+ hours of keynotes, sessions, networking, and entertainment, there was no shortage of information or inspiration! Here are some photos as well as each of our thoughts on the event.

Content Marketing World


Session: Words and Pictures: A Content Marketer’s Guide to Visual Storytelling
Buddy Scalara, Senior Director, Content Strategy at The Medicines Company (@marketingbuddy)
Key Takeaways: Facts and overused buzzwords

In “Words and Pictures: A Content Marketer’s Guide to Visual Storytelling”, Buddy Scalara stated some interesting facts from an M.I.T. study –  60% of our brains are dedicated to sight and it takes 13 milliseconds for our eyes to recognize something (for comparison, it takes 100 milliseconds for us to blink).

There were no shortage of buzzwords/phrases that you always hear at these conferences. In two sessions I tallied:
“Secret Sauce” – 5 times
“Shiny Object Syndrome” – 4 times
“EverGreen” – 3 times

CMWorld Floor


Session: Content Marketing on a Teeny, Tiny Budget
Speaker: John F. Hunt, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Communication and Content for Smead Manufacturing (@Smead_JohnH)
Key Takeaway: Don’t just spend your marketing budget, invest it.

Clients often focus too much on what they don’t have, rather than focusing on what they can do with what they have. Budget envy is a bad way to approach a marketing strategy. We often tell our clients this at dRC, and it was echoed in the session I attended – stop trying to be just like the competition. Don’t just do what the competition is doing. Instead, find out what is most efficient and effective for your target audience and put your resources (time and money) towards that. 

Because clients often have either time or money (rarely do they have both), it is our job to help them figure out what works best for them. And as always, measure results of any campaign or marketing efforts! Start early and set clearly defined, realistic goals. Whether it be analytics, conversion tracking or acquisition cost – metrics are a must! The budget interacts and effects all parts of a marketing plan, so invest instead of spending just to spend.

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Session: Content as Customer Service (or Hug Your Haters)
Jay Baer, President, Convince and Convert (@jaybaer)
Key Takeaway: Interact with your customers online, both good and bad.

Jay Baer’s talk was regarding social media and criticism (and his new book): Hug Your Haters. Instead of ignoring criticism or giving a form email sort of response, the most effective way of dealing with haters is to address their issues individually and make amends in a way that is personal. Today, we see through those fake “I’m sorry you had to deal with this…” responses. We want a company that cares and sees us as individuals. It may be easier to ignore them initially, but haters can take you down with one bad (unaddressed) Yelp review. So do yourself a favor and address them head on. 



Sessions/Keynotes: Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution; Content vs. The Customer; Why Mariott is Going “All In” as a Media Company; Does Your Content Pass the Mom Test?; Social Seduction: How to Use Content to Tease Your Way to More Sales; Good Content vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes; Can Print Really Be a Logical Choice for Your Content Marketing Program?
Speakers: Joe Pulizzi (@joepulizzi), Kristina Halvorson (@halvorson), David Beebe (@davidbeebe), Jay Baer (@jaybaer), Tom Martin (@TomMartin), Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs and @annhandley), Ben Plomion (@benplomion), Igor Savic (@poslovnimediji), Nicole Sherrod (@TDANSherrod), and Craig Coffey (@B2BinCLE)
Key Takeaways: Differentiate yourself, don’t always go for the hard sell, and print is NOT dead!

The one take-away I felt was the most important for all communicators to remember is that good content can not only attract consumers, but repel them. That is okay! No one product, service, or business is for everyone, and not all consumers are for you.

Ann Handley posed the question, “If you cover up your logo, would you recognize you?” This is crucial, how many of us can honestly answer yes? Not too many.

How do we solve this problem? The voice of your organization is a direct reflection on what people can expect from you. Give people a reason to choose you. Set yourself apart, figure out what you stand for and use a consistent voice for your organization to communicate that in a way that differentiates you from everyone else in your industry.

The second take-away that really stuck with me is that we need to stop selling so hard. Not every piece of marketing collateral needs to be a hard sell, or overtly brand-forward. Stop putting your logo everywhere, asking your designer to increase the size of it by 200%, and using every single opportunity to sell, sell, sell. Focus groups have confirmed–people don’t like that.

Instead, educate your audience and give them a reason to need your product or service. We need to let consumers THINK they made the buying decision, versus the reality of the situation which is you sold them without them even knowing it.

The third take-away from CM World–which interestingly enough is something I kept hearing over and over even before attending this conference–is print is not dead! Or even dying. It is here, and it is still kicking.

While measuring the effectiveness and results of print are difficult, print often drives sales because it has impact. People spend more time on average with a piece of print than they do the same thing online. Print offers you opportunities that the Internet cannot, such as texture, die-cuts, foil, even the smell of the paper. Not using print to it’s full potential or opting to go digital when print may be more impactful is a missed opportunity. Still want proof? Just look at how many print pieces we walked away with from this event.



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Kimberly Hemesath

Kimberly Hemesath has been on the designRoom team since 2013. She has managed our studio, now she manages pretty much every aspect of our client relationships. What does that mean?It means Kimberly cares for the day-to-day well being of designRoom clients. Without them, we are nothing. So without her, we’re in trouble. Client relationships mean everything, so Kimberly has a big job, which she performs with determination, patience, and a smile.Kimberly will guide client work from proposal through to completion, serving as a liaison between client and creative team. She will ensure everyone on the team understands exactly what a client wants — determining goals and objectives, personal and organizational preferences, needs, and budgets. Kimberly will also guide creative and planning presentations and timelines, as well as completing creative briefs.Most of all, Kimberly makes sure that all work flows smoothly from our clients, into our studio, and back to our clients, meeting every objective.A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Kimberly earned a degree in Marketing and a minor in Psychological Pathology. She’s worked at Yelp and the Phoenix New Times. She loves chocolate (required of all dR staff), but not coffee. Which is just weird.

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