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Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures, chats with Jeff Rohrs, VP of Marketing of ExactTarget, about the various roles Jeff will have at Content Marketing World 2012. He discusses being the emcee of the fast and furious 42 Minute Shotgun session that will be held during lunch on September 6th, and also touches on a few points of his speaking session, 10 Email Secrets That Will Help Drive Your Content Strategy.
Arnie: Hello I’m Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures, a search, social, and content marketing agency in Phoenix, Arizona. Today I’d like to introduce you to Jeff Rohrs. He’s the VP of marketing at ExactTarget. Hey, Jeff, how are you doing?
Jeff: I’m doing well Arnie, yourself?
Arnie: Great, great. So, I just learned that you’re in Cleveland. It’s a little bit toasty though, huh?
Jeff: It’s is. We’re about 90 degrees today and have not had a lot of rain like much of the country.
Arnie: Yeah, that’s a real shame.
Arnie: All righty. Well, we’re here to talk a little bit about Content Marketing World, and you’re going to be moderating the luncheon I think on Thursday, September 6th, which is what, 42 minutes of shotgun sessions or something like that? I was wonder if maybe you could just explain what it’s all about?
Jeff: Sure. So, we did this last year at the inaugural Content Marketing World. Basically over lunch, Joe Pulizzi and his team line up about five to seven speakers and I serve as kind of an MC. The idea with the shotgun sessions is to get some really great thought leaders in content marketing.
Both authors and folks, who are in-house perhaps at a particular company, to just distill their thoughts down into a short format, in really digestible bits that folks can enjoy over lunch. We give extra points for those folks who can be entertaining or cause folks to laugh. So it’s fast, it’s furious, and it makes for great lunch time conversation.
Arnie: Yeah, it does. I remember I was there last year and I just thought, how are they going to pull this off? It was great. It was amazing that people kept to their time frames.
Jeff: Yeah. I love that format. That’s a fun format especially when you have a multi-day conference. So, you’ve got multiple types of formats. You’ve got panels. You’ve got keynote speakers. It’s just a great one to kind of throw in the mix, especially over lunch, when people do need some filler while they’re eating. Then they want to foster conversation with some of their peers. This really just stirs the pot right in the middle of that.
Arnie: Yep. I don’t know if you know yet, do you know who any of your seven guinea pigs might be?
Jeff: I don’t as of yet. I suspect I’ll be finding out in the next few weeks as Joel distills that out to me. But we usually kind of assemble that group virtually. Just kind of bring them up to speed on the format, and then challenge them to really bring their best in that short period of time.
Arnie: No planning allowed.
Arnie: All righty. Then you’re also doing, I’m going to read the session here, “10 Email Secrets That Will Help Drive Your Content Strategy“. The title I think pretty much describes what the session is all about, but I’m wondering if you might be willing to share one or two secrets with our viewers?
Jeff: Yeah. I won’t spoil too much, in part because I like to reflect on what’s happening kind of in the moment, the month or so before an event. Because often you’ll see some things in kind of current marketing that will point to some additional secrets or additional things we may want to share.
But I think one of the – I don’t know if you want to call it a secret, I will for purposes of our interview if you’ll give me that latitude – but one of the secrets is that an email subscriber and that whole mentality of being a subscriber, is very akin to being print subscriber.
Even in this day and age of decreasing print subscriptions, even in this day and age of social and mobile, the expectation when somebody is actually signing up to receive email from you is that of a print subscriber. So, if you think about what you do when you sign up for a magazine or something, right?
You’re signing up and you’re giving somebody your address. You’re giving them something of value, right? Your credit card or whatever the cost of the magazine is. It creates an expectation that you’re going to receive unique content delivered to your doorstep.
When you look at email, even in this day and age of very filled inboxes of fragmented communications across text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, email, apps, in-app communications, the expectation of consumers around email is still very in-line with those print subscriptions.
We can take advantage of that as marketers. That is to say that we want to make sure that we’re establishing a cadence. What is the expectation of our subscriber and are we meeting it that we set?
If we’re going to change it, how can we communicate that to them so the expectation is changed or morphed? Secondly, are you giving them any unique content? I think in the rush over the last couple of years to get social we’ve given a lot incentives for people to become fans on Facebook without any depth of meaning about what that really means or what the return of investment is for us.
With an email subscriber, however, they give you an email address, right. A uniquely addressable, I can reach you Arnie. Right? That is a different thing. When they sign up for email, they’re expecting that they’re going to kind of get the best of the best.
I think a lot of brands kind of forgot that. They forgot that this is a different crew. This is a different sort of hand-raising, where they do want it delivered to their doorstep and they want it delivered in a fashion that is perhaps different than social media, different than mobile.
I think we’ll all begin to understand this better in the next couple years as, number one, consumers become more set in the ways they use all of these fragmented channels and also as they become more set in their ways as to how they use the devices. I think we’re just at a really unique moment in marketing where you have the devices explode.
We’ve gone desktop to laptop, to smartphone, to tablet, at the same time that you’ve had the channels explode. Where you’ve gone from email, to instant messaging, to text messaging, to social messaging and Facebook, where it’s one to many, to social messaging and Facebook where it’s one to a few, to something like Google Plus, to something like Twitter.
That’s a lot to process. As people are processing that and they’re experimenting, they’re coming back to email.
So another secret is that people are actually reverting back to a comfortable format that doesn’t change on them all the time. They understand the email inbox. So, if you can really align with their expectations and understand that they expect some exclusivity, you’re going to get a better ROI out of those audiences.
I think you see some brands who are beginning to understand that. They’re also understanding that you don’t have to just be singular in your communications through that one channel. You can begin to leverage email, to improve the engagement metrics on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest. That these things can work in collaboration with each other. It’s not a rock, paper, scissors where one is going to destroy the other.
Jeff: So, that’s kind of a little taste of what we’ll dig into. I want to try and be very practical, but also dig in and share perhaps some case studies with folks that might resonate.
Arnie: Well that’s excellent. I thought I’d seen a slide that your associate Joel Book has and a couple of his presentations that shows the explosion of the communications channels. Just the slide is exhausting.
Jeff: Well, that’s actually our number one most requested slide. Joel and I put that together a few years ago. It’s a very simple slide that shows you the eight or so tactics that marketers had in pre-1990.
Jeff: Then you look at today in 2012 and there are well over 40 to 60. The reason it’s requested is that a lot of CMO’s, not just directors or managers of marketing, want to print that out and give it to their CEO, and say, “See this is the challenge we’ve got. Yes, we can do more with less, but when you’ve got more channels and more devices, somebody’s got to be manning the ship.”
This is why I think it’s very important for all marketers to recognize this period of time is very different because everything is shaking out. It’s very hard to make long-term proclamations when consumer behavior and usage is unsettled. It’s unsettled, principally because they just haven’t had enough time with these devices. Look at the tablet, right. I mean when the tablet came out, I remember a lot of folks carrying them around with them all the time.
I’ve now noticed a lot of those people don’t have the tablet with them, they have the smartphone. They realized, for their behavior the smartphone was the better device. But then when they’re in a meeting and they need to take notes, or when they’re at home and it’s prime time, the tablet’s becoming a prime time device. That’s something you can only learn with experience, and personal experience, making decisions for yourself.
Jeff: So, that’s going to shape everything that content marketers do. In my world, it’s going to shape the way that we think about the means of delivery and communication of that content through these different channels.
Arnie: Yeah. That’s great. Well, that’s all the time we really have. I encourage everybody to go and hear the other eight secrets that Jeff’s going to have in his presentation. If you didn’t go to Content Marketing World last year, I really encourage you to go this year. I don’t know about you Jeff, but I think it’s one of the best events that I’ve attended, and I go to a lot of events every year.
Jeff: Yeah, I love it. Whether you’re official title is content marketing or something else in marketing, it has a lot of great stuff that’s relevant to you.
Arnie: Yep. It’s super. Well thank you for your time, I appreciate it.
Arnie: I will see you in Columbus in a couple of months.
Jeff: All right, will do.
Arnie: Thanks, Jeff.
About Jeff Rohrs:
A recovering attorney, bacon-lover & Cleveland sports victim, Jeff heads-up the Marketing Research & Education Group at ExactTarget. In this capacity, Jeff co-authors the SUBSCRIBERS, FANS & FOLLOWERS research series—and ongoing examination of how today’s online consumers interact with brands through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Jeff also spearheads ExactTarget’s Connections User Conference programming and SUBSCRIBERS RULE! philosophy. Over his career, Jeff has presented at a wide variety of industry events including ad:tech, Argyle’s CMO Leadership Forum, The CMO Club Summit, the eec’s Email Evolution Conference, MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit, MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit, SES, SMX, and WOM Supergenius. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jkrohrs.
About Arnie Kuenn:
Arnie Kuenn is the president of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing company helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 20 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing available on Amazon. You can find Arnie on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.