The Digital CMO/ Branding & Communications

Storytelling Wins Out


by Anoop Sahgal
Partner Marketing
Adobe Systems

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I really thought I had this prediction nailed. It was nothing that consequential, but of all my articles for this year, the one I assumed would receive the most eyeballs was “CMOs, Agencies Take Relationship To The Next Level.” New world, all kinds of stats around CMO dissatisfaction with agencies, organizational upheaval–it had drama written all over it.

Well, as usual, people like to be told stories, and storytelling won out–in a big and unpredictable way, with “Story Time: The Rise Of Content Marketing.” I’m actually looking at follow-ups on this topic with our own headhunter, Nick Corcodilos.

Content marketing as a strategy has vast implications to an organization from the HR standpoint, involving skill sets and retooling traditional roles, such as writers. But content marketing doesn’t just have implications for the marketing department:

  • Sales: This is a very top-of-the-demand funnel activity that will eventually pay off, and is a way to establish and maintain credibility with customers.
  • Research & Development: The people whose mission is to take innovative ideas and turn them into products. Lots of passion and expertise on the subject matter.
  • PR/Advertising: No more features/functions, but how the consumer is becoming educated and more engaged with your brand through relevant, topical stories.

If you haven’t read the full article, here is a quick overview of the tips I pointed out around how to leverage content marketing within your organization.

The question is, will your organization take the plunge into this new (and old) world of marketing to customers?

Five Ways To Tell A Story
With the emerging trend toward content marketing, there are several ways to start thinking and acting like a storyteller to make the most of this powerful new marketing force.

1. Publish original, fresh content that resonates with audiences.
Research what your competitors are writing. Find the right topics. Then curate the content to make it more compelling, search-optimized, relevant, and open-minded.

2. Educate your organization and the C-suite that this is not a typical demand-creation activity.
Content marketing works best at the widest part of the sales funnel, during the awareness phase. The results may not be apparent for some time. Be sure to measure as you go to determine which content garners the most response and resonates with existing and potential customers. Leverage insights provided by data and use it as the soil in which to grow your corporation’s ideas.

3. Cultivate the required skills within your organization.
Brands need to become more nimble and agile, aligning their skill sets to the new content marketing trend, so bring in the right talent. With the right team, content marketing often can be deployed faster than the traditional, single-channel campaign approach.

4. Look toward a new marketing model and choose agencies that can serve you.
Many agencies produce stunning creative, yet they have not honed the art of storytelling. Content marketing agencies are a growing resource, and they specialize in telling stories across multiple channels, including the Web and social media.

5. Think and act like a newsroom.
Content marketing does not fit neatly within one department. Your job as a chief marketer is to bridge and leverage content marketing across traditional marketing silos. Stories are everywhere, and they must be told across mediums and channels. When dispersing content across multiple channels, be sure to create a unified, yet multifaceted, brand experience.

About Anoop Sahgal

Anoop Sahgal leads global marketing programs for Adobe's key agency and system integrator alliances. Sahgal has global experience in leadership roles that span marketing, product management, and business development in high technology, and has spent time time working in both the SI and agency worlds. Follow Sahgal on Twitter: @anoop_sahgal.