Thanks to our friends at Smartt Digital Marketing for their latest interview series on content marketing, our Co-Founder Katie Dunsworth- Reiach shares her thoughts on the challenges and changes in the digital marketing.
What excites you the most about recent content marketing trends?
I am really encouraged by the adoption rate and results that are evolving in the content marketing space. Public Relations practitioners have been some of earliest adopters of content marketing and many are at the forefront bridging the gap between earned and owned media, making it possible to show the direct dollar impact our work can have. I like to think Talk Shop is at the forefront of this movement towards bigger-picture thinking on content. We produce content that meets journalistic standards, but has mass appeal. Our campaigns expand into video, through social media, through traditional news channels and even directly to consumers in the form of an event PR stunt or street team. It really feels like an exciting time to be in business.
How have digital marketing technologies impacted your clients’ businesses?
Digital marketing has pushed most of the PR and ad world in a good way. We have all been forced into taking a long hard look at the metrics, the measurability and accountability we owe our client’s bottom line. Impressions and ad value equivalency simply don’t suffice anymore, especially when you are competing with analytics that allow you to track click through and conversion rate to see exactly how a campaign performed. While I don’t believe we’ll ever see a time when ad budgets go completely digital, it is creating fragmentation in the market place and forcing everyone to adapt their business model and service offerings.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing teams in recent years compared to ten years ago?
In the PR world – gone are the days when you could build a thriving practice in one specialized area like crisis communications. Certainly you can build a nice little consulting practice or maintain an industry specific focus – but the expectation placed on marketing teams is to do more, know more and adapt quicker than ever before. It’s survival of the fittest out there and that is the kind of competitive landscape that truly promotes innovation and weeds out top talent.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for marketing professionals over the next year, 3 years, or 5 years?
Keeping relevant to evolving technology feels like such a cliché thing to say, but I truly believe that it is fundamentally important. New technology and new ways of consuming information are coming at us every day. At the same time, social and digital platforms are growing increasingly obsolete. I don’t see the pace of this change slowing down. In fact, I think it will actually speed up and weed out a lot of frustrated marketers and PR practitioners – the “good ‘ol boys” – as I like to call them. What that means for the next generation of marketing talent is that expectations are higher than ever and to truly succeed at a senior level you’ll need to be able to operate strategically while grasping the tactical changes and evolving digital landscape around you.
What do you consider essential skills for a marketing team these days?
Maybe it’s because I came from a news background where we are taught to assume our audience has the intelligence of a fifth grader, but I see far too many “marketing communications” professionals who are just plain bad communicators. Speaking in jargon, missing the simple needs and wants of your clients; being able to communicate your value proposition and marketing strategy are all fundamental parts of the job and frankly just plain common sense. But it’s something I see becoming increasingly rare.
What do you feel are the most underrated skills in a marketing team these days?
Confidence is something that I think is universally attractive – especially when it comes to marketing and PR talent. Where you draw your confidence from is a deeply personal experience. But for most of us, our confidence is often decided by the success or outcome of the work you produce. Being willing to stand behind an idea, and see it succeed or fail are ultimately a part of what builds a leader. Like the saying goes, “It’s better to attempt something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.”