I’m at a special event this week. I’ve gone to this event for the last five years, and I cherish it every year. I get to hang out with some of the biggest minds in economics, computer science, business, and investing – and just soak it all in.
It’s held in Sundance for a reason. You’re forced to give up connectivity. And, well, you get to look at amazing mountain and river views. It’s three days of a complete brain reboot.
One of the hosts of the event said something at the opening session that resonated with me and coincided with a client conversation I had recently. He opened by saying how difficult it is to describe what we do in Sundance at this retreat focused on investing and collaborating. “Frankly,” he said, “everybody I explain this to says it sounds boring.”
In searching for a better way to describe this event, he went back to the Latin words for retreat, invest, and collaborate:
- Retreat – retrahere– to draw back or re-draw
- Invest – investire– to clothe in, cover, or surround
- Collaborate – collaborare– to work together
“I now describe this gathering,” he said, “as a place to draw back from our day-to-day businesses, shed old ideas and preconceived notions about our world, and work together to bring new ideas forward.”
Much better. And it brings me to my client conversation.
I was working last week with the content team of a large software company that has both a B2B and B2C offering. The content team had been asked to put together a 2015 content strategy to support their B2B marketing. As we started talking about the content strategy, I said, “Let’s look at the integrated marketing strategy.”
There was none.
“Okay,” I said. “How about we look at what is planned generally speaking.” What followed were a dozen PowerPoint presentations that generally outlined the calendar for each department: PR, Brand, Demand Generation, Social, etc. None of the creative themes related to the others. All the planning was being done by separate agencies and teams. None of it was aligned. Even the timing conflicted.
No integrated content strategy in the world could support that kind of scattershot planning.
To put together a content strategy that will scale, adapt, and meet the needs of consumers, we must understand that its efficacy is directly related to the strength of the business strategy it supports. A content strategy built around a siloed, unintegrated set of marketing strategies can be nothing but a laundry list of collateral pieces meant to serve each silo.
In other words, adding a content strategy isn’t as simple as just nailing on a smart content plan on top of antiquated marketing efforts. If a company wants to evolve its content strategy, it may need to evolve its marketing or business strategy first.
In the case of this software company, I recommended that the content team stop and re-draw in the spirit of retrahere, investire, collaborare. Retreat. Invest. Collaborate. They needed to push back for an integrated plan that they could support.
Of course, that rarely happens. In today’s world, we often have to perform on old platforms while creating something new. But it’s worth considering. Before you start that big, new content initiative, ask yourself, Is it better to try to fix the thing we have? Or should we start over?
Retrahere. Investire. Collaborare.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.