By adaptive - November 6th, 2017

Marketing executives are quick to note that while media and delivery methods have changed, one essential ingredient has not—the message. As Robert Gray finds from a number of leading marketing executives, it's more crucial than ever for marketers to tell their story in a clever, concise way with meaningful content to cut through the clutter.

Content marketing and storytelling are clearly important for marketers, but it's clear that one size all does not fit all. There have been some dramatic changes in the media and consumer landscape over the past few years, and while strategies differ, marketing executives tell Open Mobile Media that the three keys to success lie in message clarity, delivery, and engagement.

Content is Still King
“Marketing and brands are in an interesting place, marketing has changed in many ways but it's stillabout great content creation and story telling,” asserts Peter McGuiness, chief marketing and brand officer for yogurt maker Chobani. “The brands that are succeeding today are the ones that are bravely and courageously telling great stories. They’re also the ones that are purpose-based and belief-based; the ones that are transcending the products they make and punching well above their weight and they’re wading into society in a beautiful and integrated way. That’s the key to have a modern relevant and resonant brand.”
So how are modern brands succeeding in remaining relevant and thriving in the rapidly changing digital social channel and media landscape? First the marketing executives shared a bit about their roles and their top priorities for 2017.
Jonathan Anastas, chief marketing officer, TEN: The Enthusiast Network says he has two key jobs: “Promoting individual brands: we’re a house of brands (Motor Trend, Surfer, Hot Rod, etc.) so job one is promoting the consumer facing brands, launches, relaunches, new content to our audience of enthusiasts. Then positioning TEN as a holding company to the advertising and marketing community. We have a direct-to-consumer business and an ad business with revenue flowing from clients and agencies to TEN’s individual brands, circulation and traffic to PR to CRM to customer acquisition to selling tickets.” 
Anastas says one of the company’s big priorities for the year is building the direct-to-consumer business, Motor Trend on demand (VSOD) and expanding to Europe from an American subscription base. “We saw a huge number of subscriptions coming from outside the US with zero marketing. We decided to see if we threw gasoline on that fire where would it go.”
Another priority is expanding the experiential business. “People are spending more time with fewer brands,” notes Anastas. “We have found incredible success in the experiential business.” He adds that online show “Road Kill” now attracts 30,000 people to live events including a street race with the hosts in Detroit. The company operated the (Mountain) Dew Tour for a second year in Long Beach, California and is operating the Dew Tour’s Breckinridge, Colorado event that will be an Olympic qualifier.
The third piece is content creation and distribution “where eyeballs are going,” Anastas said. “That’s video platforms and social platforms are the primary place where people consume what they’re passionate about . We have the number one auto YouTube Channel in the world with Motor Trend and we’re exporting that content to Facebook and Snap, places where people are spending their time.”
Courtney Colwell, director of global content marketing, American Express, oversees content creation on the B2B side, the American Express OPEN site that serves commercial markets from small to medium-sized to large. She notes it’s the biggest publishing platform for business owners. Colwell is also charged with publishing content on other platforms including partner sites. She adds that “people won’t read our content and get the American Express card, but we build the relationship so when customers do face a trigger they think of us.”
Her top priorities include creating the optimum strategy for taking proprietary content and “stretching it across segments…different channels—to optimize earned, owned, and paid.” Also, to expand across markets as well as channels and segments. Lastly, to find the right model across different markets. “There are a number of different content hubs across different markets,” she says, adding, “They want to take OPEN market content and use for their market, to localize content.”
Jackson Jeyanayagam, chief marketing officer, Boxed oversees all of the web grocery delivery company‘s marketing efforts, retention, and loyalty as well as social media, creating and “everything in between.“
His current priorities include rewards and loyalty: building out a best in class loyalty experience, making Boxed a household name, and testing new types of tech, creative, and delivery platforms.
Raj Munusamy, VP content marketing & mmessaging, global marketing, Schneider Electricis responsible for, in a word, content. “That’s what I’m passionate about. I try very hard to develop content that sticks and content that stands out. So we’ve experimented with that in a variety of ways, some successful and some not so successful for a number of reasons.”
He adds, “It’s content marketing and Schneider Electric is a huge company with a global footprint, more than 100 countries and 144,000 employees. We are in the business of energy management and automation. We are an industrial play and that makes it a little different. It’s not the B2C content we’re used to on a daily basis, in the B2B arena—in the industrial space—it gets pretty differentiated.”
Munusamy says his top 2017 priorities are: “brand awareness, lead generation, and marketing contribution to revenue. And how content drives all three of these metrics.”
After all, as Chobani’s McGuiness says succinctly, “At the end of the day, none of this matters if we don’t grow top line sales and market share.” That is in line with the company’s stated goal to become the world’s largest yogurt company in 2018, which means growing the category.
To get there, the CMO says, “We want to grow brand preference and love so we can bring more people into yogurt and create consumption and have a good and positive effect on our category. We want to go from the leader in Greek yogurt to leader in yogurt. We just overtook Yoplait to become the number two overall brand. Danone is number one.  We’re setting our sights on number one overall. It’s good, solid growth, not outrageous, not unrealistic. 
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