At the end of last year, I had the pleasure of following Seth Godin on stage at a marketing conference. So I got to watch him in action from backstage. At one point he asked people to raise their hands. Everybody did. “Now,” he said, “Raise them higher.” Of course, everyone does, and they giggle when they get it.
His point, and it’s a good one, is this: “Why didn’t you raise your hands as high as you could when I first asked?”
Okay, second story. Last week I was sitting with the C-suite and all the senior departmental VPs at a large company. The topic was content and how it is shifting the way companies are going to market. We discussed the following:
- Companies – Red Bull, Marriott, Condé Nast and others – are building content studios that will put them squarely in competition with other media brands.
- Companies are hiring and partnering with journalists. Starbucks, for example, has partnered with a former Washington Postjournalist to create large-scale media projects, such as documentaries and books to tackle social issues.
- Companies are recognizing the need for content-driven “customer experience” design as an in-house competency. For example, Capital One acquired the experience-design agency, Adaptive Path, to focus on creating just such experiences.
That was when one executive folded up his notebook, took his glasses off, and pushed himself away from the table. He was annoyed. He said “Look, our company has been in business for a hundred years. We still make money the same way. We are NOT going to upend our business strategy and build a movie studio or a newspaper.” For him there were only two options – all in, or not at all. There was no middle.
I see both scenarios a lot these days. As the business evolves, our approach to a successful content strategy will inherently force changes in our go-to-market strategy, and perhaps our entire business. It just will. And it will seem, in many of those cases, as if we’re forgetting – or are distracted from – the business we’re really in.
This isn’t true.
Expanding the remit of marketing into a group that creates valuable, content-driven experiences (rather than simply describing the product) using product-development methodologies (rather than campaign-minded tactics) is theevolution of marketing. This new approach doesn’t have to distract companies from their core businesses. And it’s certainly not an all-or-nothing gambit.
But we do have to move. Deliberately. Iteratively. And, most of all, decisively.
And, independent of how quickly we move, we’d better not be afraid to give each step our all to make this evolution happen. The companies that will lose faith the fastest are those that make half-hearted attempts to tweak traditional marketing campaigns into “content campaigns.” The campaign mentality no longer applies. Good enough is no longer good enough.
So, this time, let’s raise our hands together. All the way up.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.