As a marketer who typically does the planning, logistics and execution for tradeshows and events, my very favorite thing about #CMWorld was the opportunity it provided me to just be an attendee. I have to admit, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself when I arrived at the hotel the night before the event kicked off and didn’t have to organize a staff meet-up or run through my booth strategy one last time before an early start the next day. However, I quickly snapped out of planning mode and into sponge mode – and there was plenty to take in!
The event kicked off to a great start, with some very engaging and thought-provoking keynote sessions. Two days of great stories, advice and lots of laughter followed. I have pages and pages of notes that I’m excited to start filtering through. But for now, I’ll share the over-arching themes that emerged for me throughout the event.
Content marketing is a thing.
It’s inspiring to see how much a conference like this – one dedicated to marketing content – has exploded in just four years. #CMWorld has grown from 150 attendees to more than 2,500 in this time – an impressive leap. It’s clear that businesses, or at least a majority of the individuals at most businesses, understand the value of content and its power to drive relationships. As a journalist-turned-marketer, I’m happy to know that my love for storytelling aligns perfectly with how marketing is evolving.
Businesses are buying into the Relationship Cycle, too.
They may not be calling it exactly that, but a common theme throughout the event was this idea of abandoning the funnel. More and more, marketers are using an established framework to directly connect their content with audiences in different stages of the buying cycle.
— Tanya Ortiz (@TanyaOneNorth) September 9, 2014
We of course live by the Relationship Cycle, continuously striving to keep our clients within the Loyalty Loop. But regardless of the terminology used, there’s definitely a push to re-think the very old framework that is the funnel.
Stakeholders are still a bit slower to jump on the content marketing bandwagon.
I was a little surprised by the number of marketers who expressed that they’re still having trouble convincing their c-level colleagues that content marketing is the way to go. Many were seeking advice from speakers and attendees on how to sell this marketing brilliance to their decision makers. The best response to these pleas came from Ahava Leibtag during “The Future of Content Marketing Predictions Uncovered” panel. She said, “think like a marketer” when selling it internally. Start small and invest your time to prove that it’s a must.
The power of creation is at all of our fingertips.
The exciting thing is that the creative freedom is now anybody and everybody’s to take. We’ve been empowered to create the stories we want to tell, that we know will help engage audiences and build relationships – and convince key stakeholders that they’re worth telling. It’s up to us to take risks and create extra-ordinary content and experiences that will inspire others to tell our story as well.
It truly was an amazing experience to hear what others have to say about content, marketing, digital and how they all work together. I feel smarter, more inspired and even a little validated after attending an event like this. Though I was still taking notes on how I can make my own events better, more than anything, I feel like the things I learned have armed me with everything I need to be a better marketer.
The event’s closing keynote speaker, none other than Mr. Kevin Spacey, said something in his intro video that really resonated with me. He said something to the effect of the following: “Those who have experienced immense success in their craft must send the elevator back down and inspire others to achieve the same.” I am by no means implying that I’ve reached the top floor, but I’m still excited to share the wealth of knowledge I’ve learned and send the elevator to other curious marketers. Check out my Twitter feed to glimpse at my virtual notes.