Tag Archives: social marketing

Content Marketing and Social Media Predictions for 2012

Thanks to our friends over at Content Marketing Institute, who have complied 150+ predictions for 2012 in the field (proudly, MY field) of content marketing and social media marketing.

Magic Eight Ball for 2012



No shocker, the smart money is on content filling a larger role in the lives of marketers, including the fueling of their enhanced social media efforts.

But read on here, and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Social Marketing is a Content Party

time means holiday party time.   Although in celebration of a wedding anniversary, my wife and I attended a terrific party on 11.11.11 (their 11th anniversary – congrats again, Diana and Doug!).  Country club setting, liberally-flowing drinks, uniquely prepared and presented food, a live band — and most of all, a chance to re-connect with old friends and to make new ones.

It’s this last element listed that sparked in me the notion that social marketing is like a cocktail party (no libations necessary):  people gather in a location, most often invited, to re-connect with old friends and to make new ones.

And while they’re there, what do they do?

Tell stories.  Relate to one another.  Introduce sets of friends to others.  Share personal tidbits.  Communicate.

Now, consider then what most Brands do when invited to become part of this party.

Offer discounts.  Ask to be ‘liked.’  Tell the same selfish story time and again.  Never ask about the consumers they’re trying to friend.  Shout “buy me, buy me!”  Ignore newly make friends in search of new conquests.  Never offer anything meaningful to the conversation.

Imagine if a live person acted in the manner of some Brands at a real party – not only would he quickly find himself alone, there would be whispers amongst the other party-goers about what a lout he is, criticizing what he’s done, his boorish behavior.

And that’s precisely what happens to Brands who don’t ‘get’ the social marketing party.

What’s worse, they’ll likely not be invited back to many parties, alienating those friends-to-be.

Contenting Marketing can help your Brand (and you) with the social etiquette of social marketing.  After all, if social marketing is a place for friends to gather, engage, re-connect and forge new relationships, then Content must be the language they speak, the driver of longer term ‘friendships’ between consumers and Brands.

  1.  Listen.  When at a party, you understand the tone and tenor of conversations by listening first.  Find out who is saying what about you, about your competitors, but most importantly, about themselves – what they want, need, desire, aspire to.
  2. Strategize.  Think first about why you’re ‘going’ to this party, what you’d like to achieve.  Then do the same for your customers, ask why THEY are there and what their goals are.  Ask yourself under what circumstances your customers would like you there….and prepare to deliver on that.
  3. Plan.  Once your strategy is laid out, create a plan of what you’re going to say, to whom, and when.  Ask yourself why you, as a Brand, have the credence to offer this content to your customers.  And if the party venue changes, you’ll have to change your Content plan.  Be consistent, don’t offer a barrage of messages one party and fall silent the next year.
  4. Be adaptive.  The best laid plans…can change like the Midwest weather.  If your party is outdoors and it begins to hail, make sure your Content plan is flexible enough to change to reflect the changed context.  And if you’re not a meteorologist….go back to step 1 and listen.  You’ll hear the forecast.
  5. Measure.  The conversation during the drive home after the party always includes the “how do you think it went?” question.  Much easier to answer this if you’ve done steps 1, 2, and 3 – you’ve set up what your objectives were and how they map back to customer goals…these are your KPIs.
  6. Go back and start again with number 1.  A Content Marketing effort in social marketing learns and adapts.

Remember, your Brand has been invited to a party by consumers.  And Mom always taught us to bring something to the party – make it Content that engages your customers by being educational, informational, entertaining, and inspirational.

On with the party!

Have you met Joe, yet?

Meet Joe.

Joe Kennedy (no relation) is 27 years old, lives in the Boston area (just a coincidence) and drinks beer (also a coincidence). 

He is making his way into middle management at a software company and earns around $ 60,000 per year.  He has an undergraduate degree from BC, and is a real sports nut.  While he is a self-admitted ‘homer’ (dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan, big Patriots lover, Celts, Bruins, and his alma mater), he enjoys all types of sports and is knee-deep in his Rotisserie baseball league (AL-only teams) and is currently gearing up for fantasy football ’09 (has been caught with his pre-draft rankings Excel sheets open at the office during work hours.  By his supervisor.  Twice.). 

He watches a variety of sports channels (Comcast SportsChannel, ESPN, local news, MLB channel, Golf Channel, NFL Network, and so on).  He played high school baseball and football, and secretly wished he had pursued a D-3 school so that maybe he could have walked on and played throughout college. 

Joe dates on and off, and has been seen out with a young lady from his company’s HR department (even though she knows better).  His friends that are girls (but some who wish they were more) describe him as ‘hot,’ though he has little clue.  Weekends (and some weeknights) mean bar-hopping with buddies from both high school and BC. 

Joe is frugal, but not necessarily a saver yet.  The youngest of five from a middle-class family, he’s held a job all of his life, even throughout undergrad.  He rents downtown, rooming with a college classmate; friends, but not buddies.  Drives a used, ’02 Toyota Camry. 

Meet Joe

Meet Joe


ESPN, the Brand, would like to have Joe choose their services solely, capturing greater share of Joe’s time spent, mind, and wallet versus having him spread all amongst ESPN and their competitors.  Furthermore, ESPN would like Joe to select ESPN as main Sports Information source across all channels, upselling him to The Magazine, and maybe even ESPN 36o.



“Hi, my name is Joe.”

“Hi, Joe!”

“It’s been six days since I became a persona….”


The class of grad students I teach as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University’s Medill School created “Joe.”  For many, it was their first stab at a persona. 

It seems the persona has become all the rage amongst social media strategies…but has been utilized for some time now by content marketers, and even longer (I’d reckon) by traditional agencies (we were using them at Burnett back in the mid-80’s, though I don’t recall labeling them as personas at the time….).

The key today, of course, is to utilize the persona for above and beyond solely the creative target.  Ideally, personas are created for all customer segments, and used in new user profiling, content testing, and to lead discovery in the listening phases of social media planning. 

Personas provide more robust targeting and segmentation, above and beyond demographics, psychographics, and even transactional behaviors.  By bringing your target to life, you bring your marketing to life.

Have you met Joe yet?