Lessons From the Final Day of Intelligent Content Conference

The final day of Intelligent Content 2015 started off with a bang, as Mr. Robert Rose took the stage to deliver a keynote address entitled, “Content is What We Are: Bridging the Gap Between Relevant Experiences & Intelligent Content.”

After that rousing start we dove into another day of information overload, weaving in and out of tracks on Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Working Smarter, and Content Engineering.

At the close of the conference we’ve got information coming out of our ears, but here are some of the highlights from today.

Robert Rose as a Content Marketing Rabble Rouser

As a content marketer I felt really enlivened by Robert’s talk, because he’s a content advocate from way back.

He believes that content is the only differentiator remaining to brands, because consumers have begun to expect and demand outstanding products and services.

It is now the brands that can deliver outstanding experiences along with stellar products that will succeed.

Thanks in part to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), 64% of consumers would rather spend their money on experiences instead of products.

Therefore we should strive to provide a series of experiences that help buyers progress through their journeys, but we need to realize the buyer’s journey is no longer a guided tour.

But even the most well organized, well funded enterprise organizations can’t create content for every single point of contact for their customers.

Content doesn’t have to be everywhere, but it does need to be anywhere.

It was nice to be reminded that we can’t boil the ocean; instead, we should focus on being remarkable at a few strategic touch points rather than all over the place.

Robert identified three key areas where we need to be extraordinary:

  • Awareness Experiences
  • Nurturing Experiences
  • Loyalty Experiences

As a content marketers on a relatively small team, it was a great reminder that we don’t have to create piles and piles of experiences to be memorable to our customers.

Pooling our votes after all the keynotes, Robert came out ahead with our group, although Dr. Carmen Simon and Scott Able were tough competition. In general, it was a very charismatic group of speakers.

Breakout Sessions: Agile Marketing Gets Some Love

There weren’t many panels at the Intelligent Content Conference, but the discussion on “How to Increase Content Velocity Through Agile Practices” was too intriguing to miss.

We heard on-the-ground input from Laurel Counts of Moody’s Analytics, Margo Stern of Google, Jim Turcotte of CA Technologies, Ben Cornelius of PayPal, and Susie Dickson of Facebook.

While the enterprise-level experiences of all these folks wasn’t immediately applicable to our daily application of agile marketing, it was great to hear that you can roll out agile practices and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.

I’m planning at least one article covering their feedback, so stay tuned for more agile marketing revelations.

Totally not a spoiler: lawyers are terrible at agile.

Later in the day I heard the godmother of Intelligent Content, Ann Rockley, discuss “How to Create an Agile Content Factory.” The title was music to my ears, but like many of the topics we heard about there was a strong sense of needing a prerequisite for it to work.

Intelligent content needs quite a bit of massaging for it to do its job, and for Ann’s “factory” to churn at the optimum rate the content needed to be 1) broken down into its components using semantic markup (i.e. each piece needed to be tagged with metadata) and 2) you need to be able to use that metadata to govern its lifecycle.

Ann argued that while some writers might fight this kind of compartmentalization as a limiting practice, it can actually empower creativity because it frees us from having to worry about the same issues (where will this content be used? is it formatted correctly? etc.) over and over.

This is one of many practices I want to test before I believe in its seemingly magically properties.

Breakout Session: Content in Context

Ardath Albee is a pretty big name in the digital marketing world, and it was exciting to hear her speak today on how to “Put Content in Context for Your Company.”

Thankfully we don’t have the problem of selling management or the C-suite on content marketing, but her insights were valuable nonetheless.

My favorite concept that she discussed was that of “anchoring,” meaning that if your content makes a reader realize that their status quo needs to change then you become an anchor in their subconscious against which any other product must compete.

So maybe you trigger the realization that their wardrobe isn’t serving them as well as it could and they need new clothes. When it comes time to buy, your brand should already be top of mind; any other clothes brand needs to work harder to supplant you.

Or on the B2B side, if you can help them see how much better their day-to-day professional life could be with your software, you’ve created an anchor that a competitor has to dislodge before even beginning to argue their case.

Like almost every other speaker that we heard, Ardath is an advocate of modular content. It’s a concept you can expect to hear more about on MarketerGizmo in the coming days.

We’ll do the legwork and figure out if this is worth our time, so you can adopt or not as seems best for your organization.

Conclusion: We Investigate Intelligent Content So You Don’t Have To

There was a lot, and I mean A LOT, of smart stuff being said out here in San Francisco over the past three days.

We’re going to take some time to decompress, digest, and distill what we heard.

Then we’ll bring our considered feedback to this space, along with our practical recommendations on what could work for real marketers, and what sounds nice but just isn’t going to happen.

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Andrea Fryrear
About the Author:

Andrea Fryrear

Andrea loves to dissect marketing buzzwords and fads looking for the pearls of wisdom at their cores. Her favorite topic is agile marketing, which she believes holds the key to a more fulfilling (and less stressful) marketing career for individuals and a more powerful marketing department for business. When not scrutinizing the latest agile methodologies, Andrea can be found on the volleyball court, at the park with her two delightful kids, or baking “calorie-free” cookies. Connect with her on Twitter @AndreaFryrear, or on LinkedIn.

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