Leading Marketers Share Their Favorite Takeaway from Content Marketing World 2019

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Once again, Magnificent Marketing had the pleasure of attending one of the top marketing conferences around, Content Marketing World 2019. This year was packed with information on content strategy, the role of AI in marketing, the rise of voice marketing, and SO much more. If you’re looking for a recap of the conference, check out what these top marketing influencers said was their best takeaways of Content Marketing World 2019.


Ahava Leibtag

President | Aha Media Group

Nothing is more important than your audience and you need to let them lead you. While data, automation, analytics, buyer journeys, content, social media and tech critical, the MOST important thing to maintain a laser-like focus on is your audience.



Andy Crestodina

CMO | Orbit Media

If you can publish an original statistic that busts a myth, you'll win a lot of search and social traction. It's a type of content that can get the attention of journalists and actually make a little news. This tip is from Michele Linn on the Survey Monkey panel about original research. Super smart!


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Adele Revella

To Persuade Buyers, Validate their Perceptions | Buyer Persona Institute

Tamsen Webster's keynote was my favorite presentation among so many great talks at this year's conference. She made the most powerful case for marketers to understand and validate their buyers' wants, needs and beliefs. I say it every year, but it was fascinating to hear Tamsen note that this is not a new concern but a function of the human condition ... that we all want to feel, as she said, "smart, capable, and good". She even started her talk with a quote from 16th-century philosopher Blaise Pascal! Tamsen's presentation was a powerful call to action for marketers to stop "educating" buyers about their problems and start listening to them!


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Michael Brenner

Speaker, Author, CEO | Marketing Insider Group

We're nearly 10 years in on the modern content marketing journey and the biggest challenge is still creating, delivering, and getting buy-in for the content marketing business case. Marketers need to learn how to convince their boss, their peers in marketing, sales and the entire business on why content marketing is the future of marketing and the best way to show marketing ROI.


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Peter Loibl

Head of Sales | Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing World 2019 reinforced a basic but integral premise: consistency leads to success, which leads to corporate buy-in. I was endeared to run into so many content marketers and demand gen marketers using content to fuel their audience connectivity and lead generation efforts, but the biggest smile on my face was a result of hearing of increased C-suite commitment to content marketing teams based on the positive results stemming from documented, consistent content marketing strategies and practices in lieu of fragmented, quick, gated lead-gen wins.


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Tim Hayden

President & Managing Partner | Brain+Trust Partners

Few companies are prepared for the oncoming wave of data privacy laws, starting with Nevada in October 2019, and the California Consumer Privacy Act going into effect January 2020. Ironically, to comply with these new regulations, brands will require the same data governance needed to leverage machine-learning and marketing automation to deliver meaningful content experiences.


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Andrea Fryrear

Agile Marketing Coach & Trainer; Co-founder | AgileSherpas

The newest skill that marketers need to add to our already lengthy resumes is internal marketing. It's not enough to have a great idea; you've got to be able to amass support from others in your organization to give it life and longevity. We need to help people understand our content programs -- what's going on, how's it's working, what to expect, and, most importantly, what's in it for them. If we don't, we risk losing budget, buy-in, and belief in what we're doing.


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Christoph Trappe

Chief Content Officer | AC Business Media

The power of machines! Whether AI or machine learning, marketers must make use of these new technologies to free up time for other things machines can't do and do drive results.


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Stacy Adams

Head of Marketing | Vyond

Storytelling is having a moment, especially visual storytelling. I think this is happening for a variety of reasons. First, stories bring an authentic, human condition context to content. Storytelling is one of the foundations of person-to-person communication, and it's natural in today's tumultuous social and political environment for people to gravitate towards something warm and familiar. We feel even more affinity to a brand when we can relate to them through similar experiences, and stories facilitate that. Second, our consumer tastes for instant gratification in entertainment are bleeding over into our professional lives. I heard a lot of "Netflix" mentions at CM World, and marketers are definitely paying attention to how stories told through this type of media continue to engage and enthrall audiences. Employing the same tactics that encourage binge-watching can definitely move the needle for content marketers. We binge because we want to find out what happens next - it’s a natural human instinct to finish the story. Incorporating storytelling tropes like cliffhangers, character development, and hero's journey, can and should be used in a business video. Just because your consumer is a business buyer, doesn’t mean you have to ignore what makes entertaining content successful.


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Bernie Borges

CMO | Vengreso

Marketers are focused on understanding the customer journey and producing content to engage the customer throughout their journey. Marketers are paying special attention to equipping their sales team with content that addresses the interests of the customer throughout their journey from awareness, buying, implementation and adoption. Marketers are realizing that content is not one size fits all. Additionally, the same content produced and distributed by marketers for the marketplace is not necessarily what the sales team needs. Marketers are getting serious about integrating their sales team into the content distribution process. But, according to CSO Insights, only 32% of companies have a content strategy for their sales team. Marketers who want to harness the reach-potential and win-rate-improvement-potential of their sales team must begin by developing a content strategy for sales enablement.


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Jay Acunzo

Founder | Marketing Showrunners

Marketers are realizing their new mandate. It's no longer enough to grab attention. The best in the world are focused on holding it. This has led to a rise of serialized content -- shows. More and more brands are launching podcasts and video series in order to hold attention. This ranged from massive global brands partnering with international media outlets, to small businesses piloting a new original from a conference room. From standalone podcasts to entire networks of series, we're watching the rise of the branded original series online. It's time we all embraced: Great marketing isn't about who arrives. It's about who stays.


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Brody Dorland

Co-Founder | DivvyHQ

I appreciated the warning from multiple speakers regarding social media being "doomed". Even if it takes years for such a scenario to play out, I feel it's so important for companies to shift or narrow their focus to building their own audiences and owning their methods of marketing/content publishing, distribution and promotion. Those who have already made this a priority not only have a head start, but will see dividends grow as audiences decide to reduce time spent on unstable social networks that may lose favor overnight.


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Pamela Muldoon

Sr. Consultant & Content Strategist | The Pedowitz Group

I loved Joe Pulizzi's 7 Laws of Content Marketing keynote session this year at Content Marketing World 2019. One of the seven laws that really resonated for me and I believe in 100% was The Marketing Pushover Law, where he challenged content marketers to say NO to tactics are not within the content strategy. It's time marketing owned marketing again and a documented content strategy that aligns to the business objectives will provide the necessary leverage marketing teams need to say NO to tactics outside of the plan.


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Zontee Hou

Consultant & Speaker | Convince & Convert

Yes, the fundamentals of creating good content are still vital. But as the industry matures, content marketing practitioners are more focused now than ever before on getting the most out of their analytics: measuring, learning, and benchmarking. While most understand that vanity metrics don't do their brands any good, based on my conversations and the sessions at CMWorld, they also haven't implemented more effective metrics. As we move into 2020, the industry as a whole will reckon with how to be more effective and driven with metrics.


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Gini Dietrich

Founder & Author | Spin Sucks

A good 10 years into this industry, things are continuing to evolve. Some things have stayed the same, and some things have changed. The biggest takeaway is to stay the course, keep up on the trends, follow what the experts have to say, and trust in your expertise, your talent, and your gut when it comes to your own business and your content marketing plan.


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Stephanie Stahl

General Manager | Content Marketing Institute

Consumers, customers, and prospects don’t necessarily need more content. They need content that is meaningful, actionable, fun, amazing …not excessive and mediocre. Content marketers need to know the meaning behind their work and they know what is meaningful to their audiences (and internal stakeholders). When you dive deeper into meaning, a stronger bond between the audience and your content (or your brand) is more likely to form. And that’s the key to successful content marketing programs.



Anna Hrach

Strategist | Convince & Convert

The only way to be really successful in the very near future is to understand your audiences incredibly well. Talk to them. Survey them. Gather all the available insights and data you have about them. Use it all to understand their customer journey, wants and needs, and everything from general content creation to ABM and more will be easier and far more effective.


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Priscilla McKinney

CEO & Momma Bird | Little Bird Marketing

Writing ANYTHING, whether short or long format should not be undertaken before significant work is done to develop an ideal client persona. While companies may feel like they are "doing" marketing, they are in fact accomplishing nothing when the intended audience is not the primary focus. We need to know, really KNOW what keeps our ideal buyer up at on Sunday and what gets them going on Monday morning! Creating content with these emerging and persisting issues in mind help us see our content as HELPFUL and this will stop us from shouting at our audience, but instead serving them. In the end, great marketing can be done when this mindset shift has taken place and we're writing for the betterment of someone else's moment. Sometimes that's all you get and if you build rapport in that moment you just might earn a chance to be heard and considered. Oh, and your ideal client persona changes over time, so this is not a one-time exercise but a commitment to a mindset and process.


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Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer | MarketingProfs

Do less and obsess.

Also, every conference should have a Meet and Greet fundraiser with the very best doggos that ever were.


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Douglas Kessler

Co-Founder | Velocity

A big theme this year was all around the challenges of getting great work approved by stakeholders. This feels like this is the issue of the moment: Switched-on marketers have figured out what good looks like for them—but they're being blocked by senior executives working from the old-school playbook. About a year ago, we wrote a piece about overcoming this challenge called A Stakeholder Through the Heart. Bot today, it feels like it's on more and more people's minds. We can only do great work if we bring people along with us. The work of aligning stakeholders isn't a big, fat obstacle to doing your job... it IS your job.


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Ian Cleary

Founder | RazorSocial

My top takeaway from CMW was from Jay Baer’s session on how to conquer the new frontier of voice content, Alexa and smart speakers. It really got me thinking about getting involved in building voice applications for these devices. I read a recent research report where it predicted that 50% of all search queries across the internet will be voice-based. Is this like a whole new world of SEO? Remember the early days of Google when it was easy to rank for articles? As Jay pointed out it is still early for these type of applications but the early adopters could certainly steel an advantage to the later comers. It’s time to get serious with voice search. If you don't, your competitors will!


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Julia McCoy

CEO | Express Writers

CMWorld ’19 was so good, it’s hard to pick one takeaway! I would have to say my one favorite takeaway if narrowed down, would have to be Joe Pulizzi’s 5th law from his MKTG 2030 keynote, covering the 7 Laws of Content Marketing. Law #5 was the law of the content one-night stand. “How do you marry your customer,” Joe said, “versus leaving them feeling like they’ve had a one-night stand? Leave notes. Give loving, valuable content — long before the sale is attempted.” Joe called content campaigns the devil, told all 4,000 of us to stop doing them, and have a goal of getting married instead of a one-night fling. Ongoing content experiences are key, not one-time campaigns. The point Joe drove home holds true for so many success patterns I see in content, from success among the hundreds of content projects we take on monthly for clients at Express Writers, to our own eight-year run of marketing done completely through valuable, reader-targeted strategic blog posts that rank well in organic SEO, on our Write Blog. Content success today is all about “getting married” and providing real value to your audience — not a quick push for a sale, or a one-night stand content encounter.


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Jonathan Kranz

Principal | Kranz Communications

I have less of a takeaway and more of an observation: as content marketing has grown, two things have happened. One, "content marketing" is becoming its own distinct profession, a subset of marketing with its own universe of rules and practices. Two, we have been slow to acknowledge a deep undercurrent of exploitation in our industry, especially of content creators. It sickens me to see the number of so-called "innovative" products and services whose fundamental business models are predicated on paying writers, designers, developers, and artists PENNIES on the dollar for their creative efforts. If we're going to fulfill the potential of the first observation -- a trend toward professionalism -- then we're simultaneously obligated to address and offer redress on the second trend, exploitation. If we don't, we're just pimps, not professionals.


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David Reimherr

Founder | Magnificent Marketing

My top take-away from CM World is to do less. And I don't mean to try any less, just to stop, think, and do more impactful content pieces. We all know it's gotten very crowded out there so it's almost a waste of time to produce any content that will not move the needle. If you have a choice to put out so-so weekly pieces vs. one bang-up monthly piece, opt for the monthly. But before you do anything, you must do your proper research so you know your audiences' wants/needs/desires/pains as well as know what you would like for them to do next. So my advice for everyone today is to take a breath and a step back, and then start to deliver to your audience content that truly is helpful, inspirational or provides them with a bit of joy or laughter.


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Buddy Scalera

Associate Director of Social Media Strategy | Visual Storytelling, LLC

Content marketing is experiencing an existential awakening. As social feeds and email inboxes are flooded with content, content marketers need to make significant adjustments to their content strategies. What worked last year may not work this year. The days of easy organic growth are over, and most marketers aren't prepared for the coming challenges. The best strategy is to review your marketing strategy and make the necessary changes.