How to Create a Compelling Content Marketing Strategy
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How to Create a Compelling Content Marketing Strategy

Speaker 1: Welcome to the SBI
podcast, offering CEOs, sales and marketing leaders
ideas to make the number. Greg: Welcome SBI podcast
listeners and video podcast viewers. My name is Greg Alexander, and
I am the CEO of SBI, a sales and marketing company
dedicated to helping you make your number. This is the weekly SBI podcast. It’s purpose is simple, to help
you make your number by getting your peers to share
with you how they make theirs. Today’s guest is Elissa Fink
who is the Chief Marketing officer at Tableau, the company that lets you see
and understand data. By using their products, you
can create and publish dashboards, and share them with others
across all platforms without any programming
experience needed. The company is growing very
quickly with a projected 2015 revenue of 600 million and
approximately 3,000 employees. Elissa has been with the
company for 8 years, and has almost 30 years of
business experience according to her LinkedIn
profile. Elissa, welcome to the show. Elissa: Thank you. God, 30
years, that sounds really old. Greg: I was looking at your
work history, and I just reversed engineered it, and yes, it is 30 years. Time
goes by quick. Elissa: It does, doesn’t it?
It’s incredible. I have already been at Tableau
8 years. I can’t believe that either. Greg: Today, we’re going to ask
Elissa to help her peers, other CMOs, set their companies up for
success by demonstrating how to create and distribute compelling
content. Why have we chosen this topic
today? The amount of content in front
of your target customers and prospects has exploded
recently. To get the ear of your
perspective buyer, you need a significant amount
of compelling content, so a little bit of an arms
raised and relevancy is key. Keeping up with the insatiable
demand of quality content is a problem for many of our
listeners. We are going to use SBI’s
revenue growth methodology, a section of it, to guide our
conversation, specifically pages 124 and 125. If you’re following along, excuse me, at home and you want to download a copy of our methodology, go to Elissa, are you ready to go? Elissa: I am. Greg: My first question for you, what are the content goals for
your marketing team? Elissa: I guess that you can
think about the goals in two ways. One is what is our goal for the
reader or for the recipient, and then what is our goal for
Tableau and what we’re tryingn to accomplish? Those things better be in sync. The first one, for the reader,
for the recipient is make me smarter. We really try to sit down and
think about all of our content, our website, “You know what, make me
smarter.” When you come to our website,
when you read a white paper, when you watch a video, when
you attend a webinar, when you come to an event of
ours, we want you to walk out going, “God, that company just made me
smarter. I’m better at my job. I’m better at life because of
Tableau.” We believe if you believe that,
you’ll be more likely to receive our messages with a favorable
light and more likely to engage with us because we made you smart. On the other side of that is
the goals we have for our content. That is that yes of course it
has to be attractive like I just said “Make me smarter” for the recipient, but also, we want it
to be highly engaging. We want people to share it. We
want people to engage with us after they engage with the
content. We look for what are our pieces
of content that get the highest views? Are people staying with it? Are
they reading the whole thing? Are they experiencing the whole
thing? Are they then sharing it? Is it then having a multiplication effect? Is the
content that good? Then of course, does the person
take activity after that? What is happening after that? Are they reading our content or
checking out our content and leaving, never to hear from us again or
never to hear from them again? Are they actually saying,
“Yeah, you know what, I want to do business with Tableau, or I want to know
more. I want to engage more. I either want to read piece of
content, see another piece of content, or I want to engage with this
salesperson?” Those are some of our major
goals around content. Again, we believe that those
are very important, and if you have one side of
those but not the other side, you don’t actually have either
side. We’re really focused on great
content for the participant, and great content for us makes
a great piece of content. Greg: I love hearing your
answer. I will tell you that I believe
you’re accomplishing your goals. In preparation for this
interview, I went out to your site and I
tried to read some of your content, because I know this was a topic
we were going to speak about. I can honestly say, given your
field of expertise, I learned a whole bunch of
things, so I met the criteria of getting a little smarter. Elissa: Good, great, and
hopefully feel a little more positive about
Tableau, great. Greg: No question. For those
that are listening and watching, if you want an example of
effective content marketing, just go out to, and
check it out. You can see how this is done
correctly. Elissa: Thank you. It is hard,
and we don’t do everything perfect. I’m sure there are plenty of
examples where it’s like, “Oh.” You just got to keep that goal
in mind and execute as best as you can, as much as you can, and as fast
as you can. Greg: Let me ask you a second
question. I understand your content goals
for marketing. What are the content goals for
your sales team? Are they different, or are they
the same? Elissa: In a lot of ways, it’s
the same. We do think about like, “Is
this piece of content something that a salesperson
can share to engage a customer directly?” We look for content that is
going to feel like it’s very relevant to a persona or a particular problem or
situation, or even both of those things, a problem or a situation of a
particular persona so that when a sales rep is on the phone or engaging
with someone, one of their target audience members, we want them to feel like this
piece of content is so right for that person, that they share it, and the
person immediately is like, “I get why you shared this. Not
only do I get why you shared this, but I see you get me. Now, I
want to talk to you.” We do work pretty hard to make
sure that content maps to the persona, to the problem or situation the
persona is in. Then even along the sales
cycle, there are certain pieces of content that don’t make sense early in
the sales cycle, but make more sense later in
the sales cycle. We look at our content in those
dimensions just to make sure that when a salesperson uses it
to engage directly, they can do that, and do it with confidence. We do spend a good amount of
time making sure we have great content for our sales reps. Then we
want to enable them as well, so we also work with some
social tools and some ways of sharing content that make it easy for our sales
reps to share content. We also want to make sure that
they have the facts and summaries of what this content is so that
when they call back to ask questions about it, they can quickly remember, “Oh
yeah, I sent this, and this is what it was about. These are some key questions.” Then also, we keep track of the
kinds of content that we marketing send to people so that our
sales people know they’re not replicating. They’re not sending you another
dashboard’s paper that you just read three weeks ago, because you
downloaded it off of our website. We work to make sure that we’re
delivering stuff that the sales people can use that is of value in a
very personal, relevant way, and if not, a repeat of what you’ve already
seen. Greg: In your first two answers
here, what I love about them the most was it’s very outward
in. What I mean by that is you’re
answering my questions based on the wants, needs, and
desires, the information needs of your target audience, which
is a great leading … Elissa: We really try to think
that way. Greg: My next question which is
leading to that is I’m anticipating a great answer
here, so I’m adding pressure to you. Let’s talk about how your
audience consumes content. When, where, and how do your
target audience consume content? Elissa: That is a great
question. One of the things we’ve aspired
to do as well is and I always tell my team this, and we talk about this, is that
different people like to receive content in different ways, and so we
will sometimes with a particularly great piece of content figure out a way to
make it digestible in a slide share versus a full-length white
paper, versus a blog piece, versus a little video, versus a
webinar. We actually try to tune in to
the type of channel that you like. Do you like radio? Do you like
TV? Do you like movies? Do you like newspaper,
magazines, what have you? We try to tune in to you
preference and replicate, not replicate, but produce content across the
different types so that it’s the kind of content you
like to consume. For me, I have my own office,
so I can often watch a quick video, but I don’t really have time to
watch an-hour webinar. I’d rather read a summary of
the webinar or see highlights or something like that. Whereas, some people earlier in
their career that are in cubes, sometimes, watching a video is really
distracting to other people around you, so you want to read bullets or
you want to read a blog post, or you want to print out a
white paper. Again, thinking about the
recipient’s preferences, we try to make it useful. That being said, we do see some
really important trends. I mean, video is getting
consumed at a greater and greater rate. They can’t be particularly
long, or they have to be 2 to 3 minutes unless it’s really deep content
sharing, so people will fit in for a webinar or watch a
recorded webinar if it’s right on target, or they’ll watch training
materials, again, right on target. Video is getting more and more
popular. We’re seeing our blog, the
greater we uplift the content in the blog for example, the more reads we see of our
blog. The less it’s about us, and
more about them, the more reads we see. We see a lot of short pieces,
but still pieces that have substance getting read quite a bit as
well. White papers are less so that
way. I think there is a special
audience that wants depth with the white paper, so prepare it for that. I think that people are so busy
that sometimes the long forms, they don’t have time for them
like they used to have. Greg: I agree with everything
you just said. In fact, your answer reminds me
of my friend Andrew who is the SVP of marketing at
Autodesk. Andrew was interviewed for an
article in the SBI magazine titled Connect through Content, which was
published in our Q3 edition. I’m going to hold it up here
for the audience. You and Andrew have a lot in
common. Those listening to our conversation who would want to
read this article, so let’s take a short break and
let the audience understand how they can get a copy. We’ll
be right back. Greg: Welcome back. My name is
Greg Alexander, and I am the CEO of SBI. My guest today is Elissa Fink,
the CMO at Tableau. Today, we are discussing how a
CMO can set his or her company up for success by producing a steady stream of
high-quality content. We’re using SBI’s revenue
growth methodology to do it, and specifically pages 124 and
125 if you’re following along at home. Before the break, we were discussing the content goals
for the marketing and sales team, and how her
buyer consumes content. During this segment, we’re going to hear from her about
how to determine what content we have and what
content we need. My next question for you is
this whole topic of a content audit. Do you perform a content audit?
Do you do so in a regular basis? What are your thoughts on that? Elissa: Great question! We have
audited our content several times. I think time gets away from us
before we make it a very regular thing, but there are some extenuating
circumstances that do force you into it. For example, we’re reviewing
our website right now. We’re doing a massive content
audit about what content ought to be carried forward, and what
content ought not to be carried forward. The other thing we do know
though that makes it a little easy for us to almost be on top of the
audit so to speak from a day to day basis is that we track what people
are looking at through Google Analytics and through other techniques we
have. We’re very analytical, and so
at any day, any moment, I can literally go into a
dashboard and find out what piece of content has generated the most
activities, the most views. How many times has it been
used? Has it been used recently? What kind of people looked at
it? What kind of customers looked at it? That at any one time, we’re
pretty on top of like, “Well, the things people like
that they really pay attention to are these things.” The things
that actually generate leads, that generate high-quality
leads, we can also determine that from our content. The top content, we keep track
of dates. The top content, the upper half
of the content, we’ll be like, “You know what, this is a great
piece of content, and it hasn’t been updated in X
number of months or what have you. We should update it. We should
update it because it’s popular and it’s good. People want to read about it, and they want to see this and getting good engagement.” Bottom stuff that doesn’t
perform so well, sometimes it’s because it’s
late in the sales funnel, so we do keep track of that. We don’t just throw out a piece
of content or get rid of it, because it hasn’t had a lot of
views. Sometimes, very high-value
content that is late in the sales funnel doesn’t get a huge amount of
views because this is not that many people, because it’s pretty far along
the funnel. We do look at that kind of stuff. It also helps us figure out if
it’s at the bottom of the list of views, and it’s supposed to be at the
top of the funnel piece of content, we know. “You know what, get rid of it,
or don’t update it, or what have you.” We’re not going recycle it.
We’re not going to use it. We’re not going to do anything
with it. Sometimes, it’s not well done, and so sometimes we’ll look at
the topic and say, “Gosh, the reason it’s not
doing well is because it’s just not well done. Let’s do it better.” Often, it tells us, “Hmm,
that’s really not what we’re getting traction with. That’s not really something
people have questions about or want to hear about it from us, so let’s rethink what we would do with
this content.” I guess, in a lot of ways, our content audit is almost on a
regular basis just because we’re aware of
what works and what doesn’t. Constantly, we’re always
looking at the analytics, but again, the formal content audit, we
should probably be doing it a little more than we’re doing it, I would
say at least annually. Again, some circumstances force
you into it, like a website redo or update will force you into
it. Greg: When you do a website
overhaul, it’s a great time to content
audit for sure. Elissa: You realize, “Wow,” how
much content you’ve produced. You realize like, “Wow, there’s
a lot of content.” A lot of times, we’re not that worried about
keeping content around that is getting a decent view, because from a search engine
optimization perspective, it really helps your site be
more attractive to website for long tail terms, the search engine I’m sorry
helps your site be more attractive so that your site is more
authoritative. You are getting more traction
to you. You’ve got long tail terms that
people are searching for. You’re generating traffic. That’s not a bad thing to have
a lot of content that might not have a lot of views if people
engage with it. We don’t get too hang up on
like, “Get the old content out. Get the content that’s not
being well read off,” because sometimes, these long tail terms in
addition are deep in the funnel. Greg: Since you are in the
middle of a website project, I want to ask a question, which
is around how you determine the information needs of your
buyers. You’re probably going through
your wireframes and path to purchase analysis
right now. In terms of figuring out the
information your buyers is interested in, how do you do that? Elissa: That’s a great
question. It’s hard. We do spend a lot of time
looking at when the content is being used by who and what
stage the person is in at the time they used it. We actually keep track of an individual, what stage they’re in in the funnel, even if they’re not even in an
active sales funnel. We know if somebody is in
qualifying, or they’re in an opportunity
discovery mode, or there’s some mutual interest
and so on. We can keep track of what stage
they’re in and what kind of content they’re looking at to help us
keep with up that to know. We do sit down and map our
content. We’d sit down and again look at
the personas, look at the stages along the
journey. Do we have pieces that fit that
persona for every piece of the journey, and what are those pieces? Then
so if you’re an IT guy or you’re an analyst, or you’re a C-level person, or
what have you, your different kinds of
personas we have. We want to make sure there is
some really great content along every step of the journey
for you. Again, we go back to our
analytics. We go back to what’s been
popular and what’s been used, and we will go ahead and
consider that in trying to figuring out where do we go next. The third thing is you’re
always trying to stay on top of trends, and what’s new information, and
what are the new needs that people have. What are their new questions?
You can’t always look at your analytical data, your old data or even your past
historical behavior data, because there’s new stuff
happening every day. You have to be on top. You have to have people in your
industry that are curious about it, that work in the marketing
department, that loved the industry, are on top of trends to speak
to the trends or keeping up with what’s going on
out there, so they can help create the
content that really gets readers excited in learning about new stuff. Greg: Some of my clients use a
couple of tools to keep organized here. One is an editorial calendar,
and the other is a production schedule. Do you use those tools? If so,
how do you create them? How do you use them, et cetera? Elissa: Yeah sure, we do
actually. We do have an editorial calendar. In fact, we recently hired a full-on former journalist about 6 or 8 months ago. We hired a journalist who is
actually now or I think we call her editorial director or editor,
who helps keep all of us clean and clear on what’s the great content of
our site, and then just keeping us out
there as well with great pieces that she writes and creates. We do keep an editorial
calendar to help us in a very informal way just in a spreadsheet, nothing
too complicated on that. Then you mentioned, I’m sorry,
a second thing that also resonated with me. Greg: Which is production
schedule, so you lay out- Elissa: Oh production schedule,
yes. Our content team which is
primarily folks in our product marketing team, our head of product marketing
keeps a production schedule of like, “Okay, what are we producing
when, where? What is it going to take? Is it something we do
internally? Do we need to contract with an
outside thought leader? Is this something that has to
go in every production like a video or that kind of stuff, and
keeps track of when we’re doing all that stuff, and what stage it’s in, and
when can we expect it?” We do keep track of our content
schedule. Then certain other things like
a release of software, a new release of tableau will
generate its own need for its own special content around that release and around
that state. We’ll also keep special
calendars oriented to our release schedule of our software to make sure
that when we introduce a new feature, not just that we’re talking and
explaining it, but also what are the business
cases that you would use it. How would you use something
like tableau’s level of detail calculation? It’s a special way of doing
calculations that normally would need a programmer now, or
you could just do, drag, and drop. We got to educate people on
that and help them understand the circumstance they’ve used
that. There’s a calendar that goes
into play around releases as well. That’s another angle of how we
keep up with our content. Greg: There’s a couple of things that you mentioned that
I just want to put an exclamation point on for the
audience. First, hire a journalist, it
seems obvious. Sometimes, people talk about it
but they don’t do it, so compliments to you folks for
doing that. Why hire a journalist? A journalist knows how to tell
stories. If you just talk to your buyers
about your product, it can get a little boring, so storytelling is a trained
and learned skill. Journalists go to school for
that, so I encourage all of you watching and listening right now to
consider that. Then the other thing that you mentioned that I thought was really interesting, which I haven’t heard a lot of,
and that is the calendar and the production schedule is
owned by product marketing. That’s very interesting to me.
Tell me why you made that decision. Elissa: Actually, our product
marketing team is quite large, and they produce probably 80%
of our content I would say, because they’re very informed
on … They’re very outward bound. They’re very outward looking to
customers and prospects. They’re very aware of what’s
going on out in the industry. They’re also very much in touch
with our customers who are using tableau. We have a very passionate and a
vocal- We’re very lucky to have a very passionate and
vocal customer base. They have access to the
stories, to the information, and to the customer perspective, and so they are creating amazing content and in the context of course of
our product, but not always just putting our
products first. They know that if we can
educate people and help them learn, and help them do the kinds of
things we enable, that the product comes through
shining, and people appreciate that. We don’t put so much faith in
datasheets and brochures at all. I can’t even think the last
time we used really a datasheet or a brochure content like that. Our product marketing team
really is active, very active in producing useful
content about our industry and about what we do, and how we help people, but
about our customers are helping themselves using our products. We find
that that’s the most effective way. In effect, that’s the best way
to market your products too, right? It’s like, “Don’t let me list
my features for you.” There is a need for that, but
that’s not really what gets you using a product or wanting to buy a product. It’s really like, “What is it
going to enable me to do? How is this going to make my
life better? How is this going to make my
job easier? Show me. Tell me.” What are other people doing
with it? What do I need to stay on top of? Product marketing and content
marketing I think are just very, very aligned and similar. Greg: Hand-in-hand, yeah, they
really are. You said something there that I
think is great. We tell people all the time
that your best sales force is your customers, and if- Elissa: We are blessed with a
wonderful customer base. For a long time, we’ve
recognized that our brand is really very people centric
and very customer centric. What they can say about tableau
is so much more real, more authentic, and better often than what we
can write or say about Tableau, so we’d love to share their
stories. We’d love to put them at the
center of the story, because it’s real life and as a
buyer, I can relate to another person
who is using your product. That helps me really understand
what I’m going to get out of it, and so we’ll often put our
customers at the center of our stories, and including our data stories
and our journalism stories as well as you mentioned. Greg: We need to take another
quick break, but if you are enjoying this
podcast, you’re going to want to listen to the Greg Head podcast. Greg
is the CMO of Infusionsoft. It’s relevant to this
conversation, because he is also leading
marketing inside of a very fast growing software firm who has been
through the experimentation
stage of content marketing. He’s
doing a lot of things really well. Let’s take a quick, short break
to let the audience know how to get a copy of that episode.
Stick around and we’ll be right back. Greg: Welcome back. My name is
Greg Alexander, and I am the CEO of SBI. My guest today is Elissa Fink,
the CMO of Tableau. Today, we are discussing how a
CMO can set his or her company up for success through content
marketing. We’re using SBI’s revenue
growth methodology to do it. If you’re following along at
home, I’m talking about pages 124 of 125 of this year’s report titled
How to Make your Number in 2016. Go to Before the break, we were discussing content audits,
editorial calendars, and production schedules. During this segment, Elissa is
going to share with us her trigger events, content distribution,
promotion, and testing. Elissa, let me ask you a
question. Trigger events, I’m just going
to briefly describe this term, I know you probably know what
it is, but to some listening, it may be new to them, is the
event that takes place that pushes a prospect into the market for
your product or service. It’s essential to content marketing, because when
somebody has this event, it could be anything, maybe an
acquisition, maybe an IT outage or whatever, and they go into the market,
they’re going to go to a search engine. They’re going to type in their
event, and you want your content to
show up there, because that person is most
likely to be actively looking for a solution at that
time. Categorizing and understanding
what these trigger events are really hard. My question to you is what are
the trigger events that put a prospect into the market for your
products, and how did you learn about them? Elissa: That’s a great question. One of the ways we learn about
them is definitely, we all experience probably the
most common trigger event, which is the frustration that
somebody has when they have a question and they know the data exist in
their organization, and they know they could get at
it, but they don’t have the tool to
do it. They’re frustrated, and excel
doesn’t work anymore. We know this because it’s a
very common trigger event for our industry. In fact, I was a customer
before I joined the company, and that was my trigger event. I couldn’t do what I needed to
do, and excel wasn’t cutting it. That turned me right like you
said to the search engine, and I pretty much typed in what
I needed to type in, and found Tableau. We know that’s a really common
trigger event. Greg: Do you remember what you
typed in? Sorry to interrupt you, do you
remember exactly what you typed in? Elissa: At that time, I was
such a huge user of excel. I think I typed in excel add in
or something like that. It was something like that. I
was definitely about trying to- it might have been pivot table
or cross tab, massive data or something like
that, and Tableau turned up. I was like, “What is this?”
Literally 20 minutes later, I had it installed and had my
answer on 50 million rows of data that I just could copy to excel. You could not read that, so it
turned me into a believer instantly. Definitely, that’s probably our
most common trigger event. Other trigger events are things
like when people get a report, a standard report, we also see
this a lot, business report or SQL reporting, and they just can’t make sense
of it, or they just can’t do what they
need to do. The reason we know some of
these trigger events is because we know what they
type in search engines are common things. We know that’s another one that
people get pretty frustrated with particularly on IT basis. Actually, we’re lucky. Another pretty large trigger
event for us is actually people seeing someone else having done
something with Tableau, and they’re like, “Where did
you get that? How did you do that? How did you do that so fast?”
We’ve been asking that question for a while, and we haven’t had answers to
it. We’ll see that a lot too that
people have heard of us, but don’t know us at all. They’ll totally misspell the
name or what have you, but they’ve heard of us. Trigger events like that are
easy for us to identify. Sometimes, we’ll see a big
trigger event around a piece of
news in an industry about someone
who’s been successful using data or driving data transformation,
or culture data’s culture
changes. Those are few and far between,
but sometimes very significant, because sometimes that leads
you to the management team or
VP level or C level people that are
looking for data transformation, and they’ve seen the case
studies or they read something
in some magazine like or what have you, and they
want the same for their
organization. Sometimes, that’s a big trigger
event as well. On a day to day basis, it’s
that frustration is the thing that really triggers people. Greg: A great example. Again,
those for listening and
watching at home, challenge yourself right now. If I ask you that question cold
like I just did Elissa, who I did not provide the
questions at a time too, could
you answer me? Do you really know what the
trigger events are? Then more importantly, if I
went and typed in those terms into the search engine, is your
content going to show up on the
first page? If it isn’t, then you’re going
to miss the opportunity to represent your products and
services, your solutions to my
frustration. If it is, I might stumble into
you and become your customer. That’s the whole idea around
understanding trigger events. Let’s take it to the next
level, Elissa, which is content
distribution. How do you distribute your
content? There’s so many
channels today. How do you choose which content
to which channel? Elissa: That’s a great
question, because there are so
many alternatives. All of the social media help to
spread a new level of
opportunity to distribute content. Of
course, traditional paid sources are
part and parcel, necessary. We’re constantly testing. We’re constantly testing and
holding up a mirror to our
analytics in what we’re doing to see
like, “Hey, did this new
channel work? Was this the right content? Was
this the right piece of content for that channel given their
audience?” It’s really important to match
your message and your content to the audience of course. You can’t just blanket the same
thing out to everyone, so we’re pretty sensitive to
trying to make sure like, “Hey, this channel is very IT
centric, so we need to
distribute some of our IT-oriented content
helping IT make more sensitive
data, helping other people in their
organizations make sense of
data. How can they break their
backlog of reporting deluge or
whatever?” We’re trying to be really smart
about the right piece of content to the right channel. We are constantly testing new
channels, new media channels, because you just have to be
where they are, where the
readers are, where the participants are. Certainly, again, a search
engine optimization is huge. We have to make our website
attractive to search engines, because people are searching
for certain terms, so you got to make your site
turn up at the right times. We do a lot of paid search and
paid display advertising as well to get our stuff out
there, and then of course the social
stuff is fantastic. We love the personal nature of
sharing. Our sales reps are engaged in
sharing. We share a lot. We do sponsored posts and paid
tweets and all that good stuff, because that can get some
activity as well. We’ll try anything that’s on
brand. Of course, that’s got to be on
brand channel. We’ll try a lot of different
things to find out where we’re
going to get the best response with
the right piece of content. We’re just not afraid to get
out there. We’re pretty heavily oriented
to being a demand generation
centric organization in terms of delivering activity
leads and customer engagement
to our sales team. That’s our job, and we love to
do that. We will test a lot of things to
figure out what works best. Greg: You talked about testing
there, which is actually my
next question. You just discussed for the
audience how you test content
through a channel. If I define testing a little
bit more broadly, are there any other things you
test other than channel? Elissa: We test a lot. We test
our emails. We test our images, our subject lines, our content,
our calls to action. Our website is in a constant
state of testing. Our search engine, our SEO guy,
our team, our team of folks who work on
the optimization for the website are constantly testing ways to
make offers and content and
colors and buttons. That’s the trite stuff, but
what is the format of a pitch. What’s the length? How much
content, what will they read? What headline works, we’re
constantly testing. Where do you put different
calls to action? Do you repeat it above the
fold? How many times? We’re constantly doing testing. It’s just a great way to
optimize your marketing. The other reality is you’re
never done because people’s
behaviors change. Technology changes. People
start using your website a
little differently, and so you’re constantly in
this constant state of trying
to upgrade and improve the performance of
your assets, your content assets and your
website. We’ll do this much testing as
we can on our website, but also through our outbound
activities like our email and
our other offers. Then we are constantly trying
to test what’s the right content for the right channel. What about this channel with
this content versus this other
channel with this same piece of content? We’re constantly trying to look
at what work and what doesn’t work so that
we can optimize and get the most bang for our
buck, and the right people
engaged with Tableau. Greg: If we were in front of
each other right now, you’d be happy because I have a
smile on my face at the moment. Elissa: I do too. Greg: I’m so pleased with your
answer, because I asked you a question
about testing, and in 3 minutes, you rattled off 25 tests that
you’re running right now. Elissa: We do run a lot of
tests. Greg: I’m so happy. This is the
great thing about the era of
marketing that we’re in. There’s no
excuse not to test. You can
test everything. Elissa: Really, it’s amazing. I
was somewhere. I was meeting with somebody,
and they were like, “What’s the best thing about
the most amazing thing that’s happening in marketing
right now?” I was like, “You know the most
amazing thing is the range of
possibilities, things that you imagined 5
years ago, 2 years ago that you
were like, “Wow, what if?” Now, you can.
The range of possibilities,
it’s incredible. It’s overwhelming.” I always tell people, my team
and other folks, “Just get started. You just got
to get started. Don’t think you got to design
the perfect test with a 64-cell
matrix and bla, bla, bla. Now, just
test the subject lines. Send this to 10,000 people, and
send that to 10,000, or send that to 200 and send
that to another 200, whatever.” Just get started. Just start.
You’ll get more sophisticated
as you go. Then this range of
possibilities that seem so
overwhelming will actually start to become
within your grasp, and you can start doing cool
stuff. We’re not even close to the
limits. It just makes marketing
exciting and fun, and it’s great to work with our
sales team because they’re
great partners with us, and we are great
partners to them. We’re aligned to the same goal,
and so it’s fun to do these
things. It makes your job interesting
and fun and engaging. Greg: We’re going to take one
more break. When we come back, Elissa and I
will discuss what to do next if you’re a CMO looking to
develop a process to produce compelling content consistently. If you liked listening and
watching this podcast, and want access to more
peer-driven best practices,
check out our blog. Here is how to subscribe. Greg: Welcome back everybody. Elissa, I’m not going to ask
you to package this up into a
call to action. Nobody knows how to create a
call to action better than you. Elissa: Oh no, I don’t know. Greg: If you were standing on
the set right now and you were
looking at the camera, I would like you
to speak directly to the
audience. I want you to give them 1 to 3
things that you would do
immediately following this show to develop
a scalable content marketing
process. Elissa: One to three things,
number one is know your audience and know what you’re trying to
accomplish with them, number
one. Know the number of segments
you’re trying to go after. Pick the most important
segments. Don’t go after more
than a few. Know what they need. Know what
they want to know. Know what you can uniquely
bring them, and be really clear
about what you’re trying to
accomplish. That’s number one is this
really understand what you’re trying to accomplish with who.
What do you want them to do? What do you want them to learn?
Who are they? Keep it pretty
limited. Don’t go after the whole market. Go after the most productive
segments for your organization.
Just know that. Number two is then just get
started. Don’t be shy or worry that
you’re not covering the entire
market, or that you don’t have the
perfect thought leader for
every piece of content that you want to produce, or
you can’t afford fancy videos
and stuff. Just think gorilla like. Think
like gorilla. Think like, “How can we get
this done with limited
resources? What’s the most effective use?”
Make your best estimate. You’re not going to be right,
but you’re going to learn a ton, and you’re going to be able to
improve upon things. I guess, my third piece of
advice was don’t ever think
it’s over. It’s never over. It’s never
done. It’s always a cycle of
constant, measurable
improvement. You’re first picking the right
audience, knowing what they’re supposed
to do, getting started, just
doing it, and then doing it again, and
doing it again until you just
keep improving. Again, you’re never really done
because the market changes, and there’s always something to
improve on. That’s okay. Don’t be bitter to yourself if
it didn’t go perfectly. You
learned. Fix it, and move on to the next
thing. Just keep going at it, because
it’s a fun journey. Content marketing I think has
made marketing more interesting. It’s made it more fun to engage
with customers. You’re not constantly rehashing
and driving your product
features or your product down their
throat. It’s no longer like
that. It’s a conversation, and that’s
what content marketing enables. It enables you to have
authentic, credible, and important conversations
with the right people who are interested in your
product. Think of it in that way, an
ongoing conversation, and just get started, because
you’re going to get better and better at it and be more
effective over time. Greg: Great advice. Let me take
a shot at it. For what it’s worth, I’ll offer
my thoughts to the audience. What does this all mean to you?
Here is what I would tell the marketing audience out
there as well as the sales
audience. Your audience is ignoring
advertising more and more. Print ads as a percentage of
publications are down. Television ads can be skipped
via your DVR. Radio is a satellite
subscription now versus ad
supported mostly. Pay per click is so competitive
now that to win in this area, you need a budget the size of
Fort Knox to own a keyword or a
phrase. How can you as a marketer reach
your audience and get your
products and services in front of them? The answer is content
marketing. This is why you care. It’s the best alternative to
advertising. If you don’t have a huge ad
budget, get going on content
marketing. If you want to make sure you
get this right, get a copy of this year’s
research report, which I keep
talking to you about, but it’s so helpful to you. It’s called How to Make A
Number in 2016, If you feel you might not have
an effective content marketing
process, and you want one, you can have
one of our experts lead you
through a workshop, which would detail you how to
do this. Go to the same website,, and you can request a visit
from one of our team. Elissa, I want to thank you for
letting me put you on the spot. You were an absolute, fantastic
guest. Elissa: Thank you. Thank you
for inviting me. It is a
pleasure. Like I said, people, just get
started and have fun and be
passionate and believe in what you’re
doing, because you’re doing
good stuff. That’s the fun part. Thank you
so much. I really enjoyed it. Greg: You were inspirational. I also want to thank you our
audience for tuning in. This show has become very
popular. In fact, it’s not uncommon now
for each of our episodes to get
downloaded over 20,000 times, which in the
little niche that we play in, those are really big numbers. With this popularity comes the
ability to get great guests like the one that we had today. I thank you all for tuning in, and I wish you much success as
you try and make your number. Speaker 1: This has been the
SBI podcast. For more information on SBI
services, case studies, the SBI team and how we work,
or to subscribe to our other

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