Content Marketing World Wrap-Up: The Three Themes That Stood Out

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Content Marketing World for the second time.

It was three days filled with learning and some good times with like-minded marketers. We all love what we do.

Being immersed in that world for a few days, I was convinced that some themes were bound to stand out. Here are three:

  • Personal Branding: It matters.

It matters whether you work for yourself or work for someone else. And it should matter to employers and to Because we’re now in an era when buyers care about who’s behind the product. So, they want to know more about who it is they’re dealing with.

Mark Schaefer, a globally-recognized keynote speaker, educator, business consultant, and author, talks about how personal branding is the future of corporate branding.

Employers should be leveraging the value their employees bring. Because if you can get your employees to be fanatics about your stories, they’re going to want to share those—and that enthusiasm rubs off on your prospects and customers.

So, yes, in this age of customer-centric marketing, customers are king—but employees matter, too. Mark Schaefer said it best, “Personal branding is the future of corporate branding.”

  • “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking:

Another theme that seemed to run through the event was to “Think different.” Remember the Apple slogan? This thread appeared in most of the keynote presentations:

  1. With blogger and speaker Jay Acunzo, it was clear that what we don’t need is more of the same—we need less but better.
  2. YouTube star Casey Neistat’s whole philosophy is breaking the rules. He’s made a career of it. Now, he’s got a deal with CNN to produce a live daily show.
  3. Actor and filmmaker Joseph Gordon-Levitt couldn’t find what he was looking for, so @HitRecord was born when he created a platform for artists to collaborate and have a share of the profits.

Maybe the lesson here is that there is no one formula for success. Maybe if you do it your way, that yields more personal satisfaction, and, potentially, professional success.

  • Content marketing technology needs differentiation:

There were a lot of vendors at CMWorld. I always spend time talking with as many as I can to learn about what they’re doing and how it might help my clients.

On my way out of the expo hall on Wednesday, I ran into a colleague. We were chatting, and she asked me if I’d seen any vendors that stood out. You know what my answer was? Not really.

And then I thought, “Why?” They all seem to run together in my mind. There’s a differentiation issue. If they don’t do a better job explaining how they differ from similar vendors, they may not all make it.

As they were describing their solutions, many times what flashed through my mind was, “But isn’t that just like X?” And sometimes I would ask them, “Well, how are you different from X?” In some cases, they were able to give me a good answer—in others, not so much.

I worry about those companies. Differentiation is the key to success. Be ready to explain how you’re not like everyone else.

CMWorld 2017
Content Marketing World took place in Cleveland, Ohio Sept. 5-8. The annual conference draws more than 3,500 attendees.

Yes, another #CMWorld is in the books—but I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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