Building an Addressable Audience, with Robert Rose

Episode 126

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For more than 25 years, Robert Rose has helped clients tell their story more effectively through digital media. As the founder of the Content Advisory, the education and consulting group for the Content Marketing Institute, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He has provided strategic marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as Capital One NASA, Dell, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I’m very excited to bring this episode to you today. He has written several books with CMI colleague, Joe Pulizzi, including Killing Marketing and Content Inc. On this episode of Destination the Left, I talk with Robert about how the travel and tourism industry can capitalize on and improve our content marketing work. How do you nurture and build trust with your audience? How do you increase your role as a go-to resource for information about the region or entity you serve? We talk about that and more in this stellar, news-you-can-use conversation.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to go miles deeper as a thought leader compared to your competition
  • How to acquire an audience and build trust
  • Becoming a reliable source of information for your travel/tourism customer
  • Why social media followers are not your addressable audience
  • Whether content marketing is part of your marketing strategy or is your marketing strategy
  • How to increase the value of your contact to impact buying decisions

Creating Subscribers

One of the interesting twists Robert brought to the conversation was about subscribers. The goal of content marketing is to create subscribers. He says, “When we think about a Facebook follower, or a podcast listener, or a Twitter follower, that is not an addressable audience. You are still depending on someone else’s algorithm to put our message of trust in front of that audience. A subscriber is something different. They see that post on Instagram or that great post you wrote, yes. But a subscriber is someone who signs up after reading one of those things, not for the thing they got, but for the things that they’re going to get from you down the road.”

Buyer’s Journey

Another piece of the conversation with Robert focused on the buyer’s journey. In your work, what is the buyer’s journey from awareness to purchase? The art of content marketing is understanding when to reach out to the potential buyer and what information or ideas to present at that point in their buying decision. With the right kinds of engagement, awareness becomes engagement and engagement becomes a trip to your destination, and they guest sharing that experience with their social networks, and maybe even returning again. Resources:

Nicole Mahoney: 00:19 Hello listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, host of Destination on the Left. I am passionate about travel and tourism and love learning from the experiences of professionals in the industry and that is why I’m so excited to introduce today’s guests, Robert Rowes. For more than 25 years, Robert has helped to marketers tell their story more effectively through digital media. As the founder of the content advisory, the education and consulting group for the Content Marketing Institute, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the fortune 100 he’s provided strategic marketing advice and council for global brands such as capital one NASA, Dell, Mccormick, spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I’m very excited to bring this a different episode to you today. Listeners. We’re going to go off our regular question flow and really dive into the topic of content marketing. Robert and I met at a workshop, ah, that I attended, uh, just last January for agency owners on the subject of content marketing. But Robert is also the author of the book killing marketing, which he wrote with Joe Policy. And some of you may remember that Joe was on this show episode 71. So if you missed Joe’s episode after you’re done listening to Robert Today, feel free to go back and relisten to episode 71 to really dive in deeper on the whole topic of content marketing. So Robert, I’m really excited to have you on the show today. Thank you so much for joining us.

Robert Rose: 01:47 Oh, thanks for having me. I’m super happy to be here.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:50 Yeah, and I, I’d like to before we kinda dive into some of these questions and, and today’s interview is going to be a little bit different than our standard interview because we have you on the line here with uh, you know, an expert in the space. Before we dive into the questions that I’ve prepared for you, could you talk a little bit more about your background and your story, how you got where you are today? I find it at so much more context to our conversation.

Robert Rose: 02:15 Oh sure. Happy to. So I have been in, you know, this whole, you can picture in your head lots of gray hair. Um, I have been in marketing for now 30 years, um, which always pains me to say, um, but I’ve been doing it for a while and sort of grew up in the entertainment business and was working in television for a number of years and then went to the agency side and um, was working a in strategy and ad agencies for a number of years during era. Um, but then fell into this role as the Cmo of a software company in the early two thousands. And at that point I started to, uh, yeah, I started to look at marketing a little differently and what I did, they, you know, it was one of those classic situations where they plop a big pile of money on your desk when you get venture funding as a startup company and they say, yeah, go do that thing called marketing.

Robert Rose: 03:09 MMM. And I said, you know, we’re going to take a different approach to that. So much to the consternation of the VC is in the management team. At the time I sort of built a media company, um, my theory at the time, um, and you know, this is circa 2001 2002 was that we were never going to be the IBM’s and Microsofts and oracles and these were the companies we were competing with. It’s a startup company. Um, we were never going to beat them on budget. We were never going to beat them on, um, the ability to do SEO. We were never going to beat them at scale. And so the only way to beat them was to be miles deeper as a thought leader. Then any of them on the particular topic for which we were selling. And it worked. Um, I hired basically, you know, um, all course of designers and content producers and we were producing webinars and we were producing white papers and we were a little media organization.

Robert Rose: 04:03 And my theory was for anything else I could teach them marketing, right? I could teach them how to do ab tests and I could teach them how to do email and ads and all that stuff. But I couldn’t teach people to do, um, content. I could not teach people to be good communicators. And it worked. And the company grew and I was out on the speaking circuit and I ended up meeting this guy, Joe Polizzi at the time. And I had read his book, um, as part of what I was doing because it seems so similar. He had a book called get content, get customers, um, that he had written. And um, I wanted to meet him and he and I had dinner and we got, I mean, from no minute one, he and I got on like great friends. It’s like we’d been friends forever.

Robert Rose: 04:43 And he told me, he said, hey, listen, I’m going to start this thing called the content marketing institute and, um, we’re going to, you know, evangelize this idea of content marketing, um, and would be great for you to join in. And I said, well, as it so happens, I’m kind of tired of the startup world and yeah, I’d love to join. So he and I teamed up, we wrote a couple of books together. Um, I served as the chief strategy officer for the Content Marketing Institute from 2008, really until the acquisition, which happened in 2016 and still am tied to content marketing institute now that it’s still part of the Uvm, uh, set of, of, of companies. And then started my own organization called the content advisory, which really handles consulting, um, and uh, uh, advisory and education around this process called content marketing. And basically my job now is to run around the planet and help companies figure out how to operationalize, do basically what I did with the startup company, people process technology around making content like a thing in their business. And I’m having a great time doing it.

Nicole Mahoney: 05:43 That’s really awesome. And thank you so much for taking us down that whole path because I think it’s a really awesome that, you know, in 2001, 2002, you had this idea and what I love about part of your story as a Cmo of that startup is that you realized you weren’t going to be able to beat your competition, you know, on budget and the traditional ways. And so you had to kind of get scrappy, right and figure out how you could, um, you know, how you could compete and how you could gain those customers from them. Um, and then kind of the evolution of your career into content marketing institute and content marketing world and, and where you are now with the advisory. So I know this is going to be just an awesome conversation cause you have so much insight to share. I’m really excited for our listeners to be able to learn from you today.

Nicole Mahoney: 06:32 Um, you know, in travel and tourism, content is king. Content is everywhere. And I think absolutely. Yeah. And I know that know, my hope for, for our listeners today is if they’re going to learn something new or are, be able to kind of think about their content marketing in a new way, maybe a way they hadn’t thought of before. Um, but before we get to some of those practical steps in content marketing, let’s, can we start with a bit of an overview of the changes that have happened in the media landscape and what’s really kind of driving, you know, this new wave of content marketing, if you will?

Robert Rose: 07:13 Yeah, I think it’s, well, I think it’s two things, right? It’s the, so I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody at this point that media has become fragmented, right? There’s, you know, you’ll see it, a conference that you go to or you know, in any of the online articles and they talk about, you know, we started, you know, pre digital, you know, seventies, 80s and 90s and we were doing, you know, print radio, television was kind of the way that we would communicate with audiences. And then of course, when digital came along, we started to see a fragmentation. And the websites and email. And then we started to see fragmentation in the mobile interfaces. And now we’ve got everything from your refrigerator to your television to the, you know, iPad to all kinds of interfaces. But not to mention the fact that we also have things like social media and we have, you know, myriad different channels that we have to account for in terms of where are we reaching audiences. And what that has done is, is you know, and this is again no surprise is democratized the idea of distribution of content. And so the power is of course everybody can do it.

Robert Rose: 08:23 We can now do it, we can create content, we can create media, we can create value and distribution through the content that we create for different audiences. The con of course is that everybody can do it. And so everybody is, and there’s this tsunami of content out there. And so rising above the noise and actually getting attention has been problematic. And that of course leads to the second trend, which we have seen literally over the last call it 18 years, 19 years since digital has really reared its head, which is, um, you know, it’s this concept that I call the democratization of distrust, right? Where we, because everybody can do it now you’re starting to see this distrust in the institutions because of the availability of information and frankly, the availability of misinformation.

Robert Rose: 09:15 And so from social media to our churches, to our governments, to the mainstream media, to just everything we have now, this high level of distrust in the things that we are looking at reading, et cetera. And that’s a sad commentary on our culture for sure. But what it provides is an opportunity for us as brands. Both of these things become an opportunity for us to become good at this, to become skilled at acquiring and building trust and engagement with our own audiences. Because quite frankly, relying on the mainstream media to do it any longer is fraught with danger. And quite frankly, looking at just throwing as much stuff as we can against the wall, whether it be social media or paid media or trying to put out, you know, the ninth press release this month is just washing into a big sea of noise. And so getting skilled at acquiring an audience and building trust with that audience is a huge opportunity for brands these days. And it’s all part of this changing and shifting media landscape so that the relationship with these audiences almost becomes more valuable than anything else.

Nicole Mahoney: 10:30 Yeah, absolutely. You know, that’s so interesting to think about how easy it is now to distribute the content. Right. And how disruptive that has been. Um, you know, to traditional media outlets where we used to have to pay to distribute our content. Um, but then yeah, the kind of the challenge that that makes it there is all of this noise and I’m thankful that you’re bringing up this whole idea of trust because that’s really what I think, especially our, our travel and tourism, uh, listeners really have the opportunity to do. And a lot of them are already doing this really well is building that trust right? And I’m becoming a reliable source of information for that visitor or that traveler that they’re, that they’re reaching. So I think that that’s a just a great analogy and I appreciate you sharing that with us. And so, um, towards the end of that, you started to talk a little bit about audience and I, and I’d like to dive in a little bit deeper on, you know, you talked about getting skilled at acquiring an audience and building an audience. Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by audience and is it my social media followers or what does that really mean?

Robert Rose: 11:40 Yeah, there are, there are varying degrees of that, right? And so ultimately what we talk about a lot is what we call an addressable audience. And that’s an audience that we can address upon are choosing. And you see a lot of this happening now. This is, you know, there’s a real battle ground going on right now for addressable audiences. You know, the, the acquisitions that you see bigger companies making these days are about how can we, you know, pull in and choose when to address and have access to this audience. You know, you see companies buying, you know, for example, a t and t now is really the biggest media company, right? With their acquisition of Time Warner and what they’re trying to do to acquire the accessibility and addressability of the audiences across the television landscape is just huge. Verizon, same thing. We see companies like Microsoft acquiring companies like linkedin and get hub and all those kinds of things.

Robert Rose: 12:39 And these are all companies that have recognized that access to audiences upon they’re choosing is important. And so that’s a, that’s, uh, an important distinction because when we think about a Facebook follower or a podcast listener or a website visitor or a Twitter follower or somebody like that, that is not an addressable audience. We are still, depending upon someone else’s algorithm, either Google’s search algorithm or Facebook’s display algorithm or Twitter’s display algorithm in order to put our message of trust in front of that audience. And so we’re basically at the whim of any of these companies as they change their algorithms. Truly the value comes when we pull them into our sphere of influence, email address, phone number, physical address, and we get to choose when we address them and you know, it’s up to us to keep them engaged and making sure that they want to say engaged.

Robert Rose: 13:36 But that’s the key is that, you know, one of the distinctions I make is, is that our goal as content marketers is to create subscribers. And there’s a difference between the subscriber and an entry in your database. You know, a subscriber is someone who is not subscribed to the thing that they just got. The Instagram picture they just saw, or the magazine that they just read are the blog posts they just read. That is not a subscriber. A subscriber is someone who signs up after reading one of those things, not for the thing they got, but for the things that they’re going to get from you down the road, they’re actually, you know, think about that for a minute. When you subscribe to a magazine, you’re not subscribing to the magazine you picked up at the new standard that your friend handed to you in the doctor’s office.

Robert Rose: 14:18 You’re subscribing to the 11 other issues that you’re going to get that are as good or better than what you’re holding in your hand right now. That’s creating an audience and someone who wants to hear from you and expects to hear from you in a valuable relationship that’s creating someone that quite frankly we can address when we choose to and values what it is that we’re giving them over time and will ultimately be much more persuaded to do the things that we want them to do. Whether it’s come to our city, come to our attraction, come to our state, whatever it happens to be, those are going to be much more easily persuaded people than people that were, you know, scraping from a banner ad or something like that. Absolutely. That’s a, that’s a really great example and illustration of, of what you mean by addressable audience and, um, you know, I hadn’t thought about it in that way before, but really when you are subscribing to something, you’ve already received something and you’re subscribing because you want more of that.

Robert Rose: 15:20 And I think that’s just such a great point. I’m wondering with this whole idea of audiences, I, I’ve, I’ve heard you speak on this before and you’ve talked about audiences and specifically niche audiences, um, being viable business models. Um, can you explain kind of what you mean by that? Yeah, it’s this, this gets to the point of what you’re sort of hearing as an undercurrent in our current discussion. And certainly if you start to look at content marketing a little more deeply, there’s this sort of undercurrent of saying we need to act and behave and operate in like a media company does, right? So media companies, their main asset is the audience that they create for their movies and their magazines and their television shows and whatever it is they produce, their product is content and the audiences are the way in the addressability. Those audiences are the way they monetize that business.

Robert Rose: 16:15 So if you think of that as a model, as an operating model for content within the business, right? You even heard me say it when I said the first thing I wanted to do was build a marketing department, was to build a media operation model and that’s to deliver that value through content, et Cetera, et cetera. But the real key there is we don’t have to do what a media company does. In other words, we don’t have to sell advertising. We don’t have to monetize broadly an audience in. In fact, we don’t actually even have to make money. What we have to do is have them become engaged enough that they want to ultimately either by the thing we are selling, travel to the place where you know, promoting whatever it happens to be. Thus we don’t have to have women 18 to 54 or men, you know, we don’t what we want our very small niche focused audiences because that’s where we can differentiate.

Robert Rose: 17:12 That’s where we can build differentiation. So in other words, if your business is all about attracting young people who love you, who are passionate about travel and love to take outdoor vacations, that’s a niche audience, right? There are small, you know, as a small focus group of individuals who for a media company might not be a viable audience for a business model. But for you as a marketing organization as one that’s trying to reach a very specific group of people that will either, you know, by the things you’re selling or attend the things you’re trying to get them to attend, it becomes a viable model. That’s how you know the niche we can get. And especially in a world where we have so many fragmented channels. You know, as somebody, I think it was Joe who was telling me once, he said, look, if we, the thing is, if your job is to attract guys who love red staplers, there’s an audience for that out there somewhere, you know?

Robert Rose: 18:07 And so you can actually find that audience and monetize that audience in a, in a, in a way that optimizes your business. And that’s the way to really get very specific about how we can differentiate against our competition and against all the other things that are vying for the audience’s attention. Now that means that we need to apply those things in, you know, in relative priority. In other words, the smaller the audience, we need to make sure that it’s viable enough to support the goals we have. But that’s the balance. That’s where we can push the leavers, right? And audience that’s niche enough to support the goals, but small enough that we can differentiate out there is the real key. Yeah, that totally makes sense. Um, I think that’s a really great point because you are using this audience. This is your marketing as you said instead of your marketing department.

Robert Rose: 19:01 This is your media department, but that’s ultimately your goals relate back to marketing and you’re not just trying to resell this audience and build your business and your revenue stream that way. So it makes total sense. That actually brings up another question to mind, which is it’s content marketing part of your marketing strategy or is content marketing? The marketing strategy and I feel like the lines are, are, are very gray and I’m wondering if you can help shed some light on that. Yeah, so, so look, I’m a, I’m a huge fan of, you know, I was classically trained in direct marketing and advertising and I love it. I’m steeped in it and I don’t think it’s dying. I think there is a place for paid media. I think there’s a place for direct marketing, direct sales, advertising, all of that. I think there is a place for, and so for me, content marketing for most businesses I would say, um, is part of the portfolio.

Robert Rose: 20:01 How big a part of the portfolio of your integrated marketing mix really depends on how you want to take your company, your, your organization to market. You know, if as an example for content marketing institute, Content Marketing was 95 to 98% of what we did. Um, you know, up until the acquisition, I think our entire paid media spend was measured in the hundreds of dollars, right? We did not, we did not need to spend money on paid media because we were relatively successful at creating great content that not only paid for itself but also marketed and helped grow the business. But for others, I totally get it. I totally get that content marketing is not going to be something where you just sort of flip a switch and it becomes the element marketing strategy for you know, for, for the business going forward. It might be a very small part. That’s the real key of a good strategy is figuring out, okay, what part of the buyer’s journey or the engagement journey we’re trying to optimize and where content marketing may play a fit into that. It may be at all parts of it and it may be it just one specific area. Um, and, and so that’s the real key of determining where it fits into your, into your, into the entire portfolio of what you’re doing from a, you know, from a marketing and advertising perspective.

Nicole Mahoney: 21:20 Yeah. And I think thinking about that buyer’s journey is definitely important. And I’m, I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit more about that and how that relates back to the content marketing plan. Maybe there’s an example, even if it’s not in travel and tourism that you could share with us as to how content marketing might help, you know, certain segments of that buyer’s journey.

Robert Rose: 21:42 Yeah. So if you look at the, you know, so your typical buyer’s journey, if we just make it a, you know, so for, for well as a broader sort of headline, right? Spoiler alert, everybody should figure this out for their particular business, right? What is your buyers, your customers’ engagement journey through, um, through, you know, through whatever it is you sell. But a typical one, just to keep it simple would be, you know, awareness. We become aware of a, of a, of an approach or a solution where a thing that we may want to do. MMM. We become, you know, we try it, we get some sort of demonstration either through immersion or a demonstration or we go touch it or we go handle it and look at it, compare. Um, and then ultimately we buy something, we make a transaction, make a decision, and then on the backside of that, we use this product, get the experience of the product or service and then come back around to what we call adopt.

Robert Rose: 22:35 Basically it becomes part of our lifestyle are part of our workflow. And then ultimately it comes back around to either we buy more of it or we, you know, buy more different things from that same particular company. Okay. So if we look at that and we say, great, what is that? You know, what is our particular customers journey through that process? How do they become aware? How do they become, you know, how do they try, how do they ultimately make a transaction and a decision? How do they use it and how do they make decisions about evangelizing and, or I’m coming back for more. And so an example of that might be, you know, well, it just, just, uh, to make a, uh, a corollary here was a travel and tourism board that we did some work with. What they discovered was, is that, um, for this particular city, um, that a lot of people, what they did was that to become aware was they were hearing about it through web searches, right?

Robert Rose: 23:29 So they would do a web search about taking a vacation in this particular part of the country, um, which where the city was, they would do a search, they would find different articles. Um, they would, you know, then look at those articles. They would look for resources such as and tourist attractions and those kinds of things. And then they would ultimately make a decision to do a trip. And he was usually a family oriented trip. And so the persona here became really about, you know, what they figured out was that it was really the mom in that, in that particular case that made those sort of travel decisions and plans and those sorts of things. And then ultimately they took the trip. And so they, they, they did all of that. And what they discovered was, is that there the question that I always ask and the question they ask themselves just to say, where does it hurt the most right now?

Robert Rose: 24:18 Where are we trying to figure out where to fit this into our portfolio of things that we’re doing? And for them, the challenge was is that they were becoming disintermediated by other bloggers, other hotels, other tourist attractions who quite frankly had recognized the content was a good thing. And we’re, and we’re basically competing with them, right? So this travel and Tourism Board for this city was competing with the local hotels and the Hiltons and the Crowne plazas and the Marriotts and all of that because they were doing content and they were writing about the best restaurants and they were doing all of those things. And so they were becoming less valuable too, quite frankly, all of the rest of their constituencies because they weren’t getting the traffic and they weren’t seen as sort of the source of all of that valuable information anymore. So one of the answers for them was to start thinking about how they could, one basically really increased the value of the content that they were creating.

Robert Rose: 25:15 So they weren’t just writing about the local institutions. They were actually really getting deep. Like they were providing levels of depth in terms of the content that was, um, that was a truly valuable. The second thing was to actually go out to all of those constituencies, the hotels, the local tourist attractions, and say, listen, you’re putting a lot of effort into this. Let us be an amplifier for you. Let us be the place, the platform where you’re putting all your content. Why should you be building a website or a blog? Why not just leverage what we’re already doing for you? And we’ll take your content. And in kind of a native advertising kind of way, except no money is changing, hands will become the trusted source. The platform for you to actually leverage your content, Mr local blogger or mr hotel, et Cetera, et cetera. And they sort of transformed themselves into this valuable resource, not necessarily the source of all the content, but the curated center of all of the content at that awareness stage. And that was there, that was their strategy and understanding their journey.

Nicole Mahoney: 26:18 Yeah, that was, that’s a, that’s a really great example. And what’s awesome about that is you, not only are you solving a problem in terms of reaching your target audience, providing them with this very valuable information, building that trust that you talked about, um, but also your, uh, a good resource for those stakeholders in those folks that are in your community. Right. And then you’re, you’re seen as a, as a really good partner instead of, uh,

Robert Rose: 26:44 a competitor as you had kind of described. Yeah. The funny thing, however I will tell you is, is that there was a surprising amount of push back on that. I’m not from necessarily the local bloggers and the local people who were trying to, you know, launch the local version of, you know, come check out our you know, that kind of those kinds of things. Those people were pretty readily wanted to come over, but in their case, the hotels and all of that, you know, as they kind of discover content marketing, they were a little more reluctant to the push back was, it was an interesting level of push back. They got to say, yeah, we, we, you know, we kind of want to do this. We, we’ve, we feel like we should be doing this. And it was an interesting thing. Some of the value adds they had to start to offer up was that there’s more strength in numbers.

Robert Rose: 27:33 Right? In other words, they actually got value by their competitors content being in there because they couldn’t, there’s no way they were going to cover everything going on in the city so they can actually focus and tell their partners, hey, here are the topics you should be focused on. Here are the topics that your competitors are going to be focused on with us and sort of get the, you know, rising tides raises all ships kind of idea. And so by centralizing their strategy and sort of going out to their partners and saying, we’re not only going to help you create content, but we’re going to help you focus on being able to manage the content you are creating. That was the way they got some over the, some of that initial surprising uh, push back that they got. We actually talk about that a lot on this.

Robert Rose: 28:15 So when I like to call that as co op, right? Yeah, exactly. Right. Bigger than they can do on their own. I think that’s awesome. So can you, uh, Robert, talk a little bit about what goes into a content marketing plan? Sure. You know, the, the, the, the spoiler alert here is, is that it looks very similar to a product marketing plan. Um, and so when we start thinking about content marketing, you’ll, you’ll see right away if you, you know, read any of this stuff we do and talk about, you know, we, we think and act much like building and operating a product. And because that’s the way we really look at it. It’s not about the campaign or the project, it’s about building a platform that ultimately audiences want to subscribe to. And so what does that look like? It looks very similar, if not identical to a product immediate product that we might build.

Robert Rose: 29:10 And so when we start, we, you know, we sort of answer the four, you know, very common questions. Why, who, what, and how, and the why is of course, why are we going to create this content? What, you know, as we were just talking about what part of the journey is going to optimize, why are we doing this? What is the business purpose behind this content? The second is the what. Okay. Now what is it we’re building, for example, in the, uh, the city tourism, uh, example that I just spoke of for them, the, what was sort of a centralized hub of content that would be a digital online magazine is celebrating all of the wonderful things about this city that would organically rank and basically, you know, evangelize the benefits of coming and visiting the city provided by some of the partners that they had, you know, content creators that they had.

Robert Rose: 29:59 The third is the WHO, right? Which is to whom are we delivering this value? And that’s where we talk about our niche audiences and really defining them, uh, very, you know, completely not just as buyers, but as people. Where are all of the different things we can add value to that person’s life through the content we could create through this content product. And that really defines our audience, you know, and, and quite frankly, the niche levels of our audience and that’s where we can really define that. Then the last is the how. How is it going to differentiate against all the other things that are not only where we were competing that are competing for our audience’s attention? In other words, let’s not go out. You know, a classic example of this is I talked with a food company right in the food company said, yeah, we want to build a hub that has recipes.

Robert Rose: 30:47 And I said, right, because recipes are so difficult to find on the Internet these days. And so the key is not a dub about recipes and the key is how is it going to differentiate from every other recipe site on the Internet? What does that differentiation going to be in the editorial and the tone and the way that you address those audiences so that they want to come back so that they feel like that there’s uniqueness there. And then we can talk about operational plan and budgets and all those kinds of things that might be part of that plan. But those four components are really the key to building a plan for a an, it sounds a lot like a media product because it is. And that’s the, that’s really the start of a great content marketing plan.

Nicole Mahoney: 31:27 Yeah, I think, I love that. That’s a, that’s a great guy. That gave gate great way to get started and to really think about upfront, um, you know, what you’re trying to achieve. Uh, you know, that why and um, and, and what you’re going to do and who you’re going to reach and how you’re going to do it. I think that’s just, uh, just really awesome. So Robert, um, you’ve mentioned a couple times a buyer personas and, uh, you know, I was in a workshop with you and, and know that you have this different approach to personas and, and specifically this whole idea about jobs to be done, um, which, which I just loved. So I was hoping that you could explain a little bit about how thinking about jobs to be done, um, will help us make better

Robert Rose: 32:17 personas. I mean we could do a whole show on the jobs to be done. Framework is something that’s a well worn path. Um, and so for anybody who, after I give a quick overview of it, is interested, just do a Google search, um, and or an Amazon search and you’ll find tons of resources on this. This is not something we invented is something that has really come out of the, well, it’s really being driven, I should say. There’s, there’s a couple of different inventors of it, quote unquote, but Clayton Christianson and the work at the Harvard Business School, um, is, is one of the foremost sort of cheerleaders of the jobs to be done framework. And so that’s where it really comes from. But what it really looks at is, and, and it sort of feeds exactly what we were just talking about, which is this idea of looking at what we’re doing from a product development methodology rather than as a campaign or advertising based methodology, which is what we do in jobs to be done.

Robert Rose: 33:14 The, the idea of it in a nutshell is it comes from, uh, there’s a quote by Theodore 11 who was one of my marketing heroes. And it’s a quote you’ve probably heard a million times, which is people don’t buy a quarter inch drill. What they’re buying is a quarter inch hole in the wall. And that idea is that people are engaged by helping them solve a challenge or helping them make progress on solving a challenge. And so the question is, when you’re building a product is what job are you actually solving? Uh, you know, so in other words, when you build your marketing and you build your product, you’re not building a thing that is a quarter inch drill. You’re building an answer to how do I get a quarter inch hole in my wall? And so if you start looking at personas from that perspective, in other words, our first, our first typical objective when we look at personas as we treat them as buyer personas.

Robert Rose: 34:10 And so ultimately we only look at them through the Lens of how they see our product or service. So, for example, with travel and tourism, we only look at them as travelers, as you know, travel buyers, if you will. And so we look at them through that Lens. And so of course the only way we look at them is, is as a, how are they going to make a decision about traveling somewhere when in fact we could probably develop content that entertains, engages, enlightens, you know, teaches, et Cetera, on many different topics that would inspire them to start to think about buying but doesn’t have anything to do with about travel in that particular case. And so the idea is, is that we start looking at personas more holistically as audience personas. We call them, which are looking at them, not necessarily as buyers, but as people looking to solve challenges and identifying all of the challenges that they are having in this niche audience and saying, great, here are the lists of the things that we could solve. Um, and so it may be, you know, uh, an education around, you know, animals. It could be an education for kids. It could be something very, very different that can help us differentiate when we actually want to create content so that we’re not just putting out the same old stuff that every other travel and tourism board is.

Robert Rose: 35:36 We can actually, by solving a different job for a particular customer. And the only way we do that is to be able to research the persona, you know, through a different Lens, which is a much broader lens. And it at that jobs to be done framework is a great lens to do that through.

Nicole Mahoney: 35:50 Yeah, I think that’s such a great point. And as you were talking, it made me think of um, a study from the family travel association that I’d seen recently that talked about, um, one of the top reasons that families travel is actually to educate. They look for something educational for their children. So maybe starting with, you know, something that helps on the educational side of the children and not necessarily about here’s this destination and here’s everything we have. Here’s our top restaurants are top family friendly attractions. Um, really kind of gets more to that jobs to be done. A framework, is that right?

Robert Rose: 36:28 Yeah, that’s exactly it. Right. And so, you know, you could imagine like a little, you know, a little mini university, right. For learning about, you know, if, if, if we were traveling to, uh, you know, southern California, which happens to be my home. Uh, and so, you know, if we were try, if we were creating something for southern California would be, you know, let’s have a little mini university for all of the desert animals that are, you know, you know, and all the different kinds of plants and stuff that are in Joshua tree and you know, creating a class around that where, you know, so, so people who may want to learn about that can learn about that. And then of course, what do they want to do? Well, of course we were going to travel to go see it.

Nicole Mahoney: 37:10 Right? Absolutely. Yeah. I think that, I think that’s great. And uh, and thanks for sharing kind of the resources on that. And I knew that this was going to be a quick overview of that and which I appreciate and I’m sure our listeners will go and look up, uh, you know, more information to learn more about the framework. Um, so Robert, I have one last question for you, um, before we say goodbye, but, um, I, you know, in travel and tourism we are known storytellers. That’s, that’s a lot of what the job is, especially for destination marketing organizations, is really to tell the story of there their community. And I’m wondering if you can share with us a little bit on how we can tell stories that will truly resonate with these addressable audiences. Are these audiences that we’re targeting?

Robert Rose: 37:58 You know, the, the, the key I think is really asking ourselves, you know, one, what is the, you know, th there should be value that goes beyond what it is we do. You know, one of the, you know, so in other words is the, is the content we’re delivering, whether it’d be funny or entertaining or you know, or, you know, simply teaching something or a how to or whatever. Is there value in that content if we weren’t the ones providing it? In other words, if they [inaudible] and, and the classic example of this I use as the, the the company hubspot and they were the ones who invented inbound marketing and created the buzz around inbound marketing, educate people on the idea of inbound marketing and all of the things that they do are theoretically the, you know, rules and best practices and everything they teach around inbound marketing is valuable to you whether or not you buy or and even know about hubspot.

Robert Rose: 38:57 And so that’s the first thing to ask ourselves is if we are actually creating that value. The second thing is, is that you know, what a great story does? What a great, wonderful story does is that it convinces someone, you know, of ultimately an argument, right? And so a great story is a great argument to make people care about something we believe in. And one of the, you know, one of the things that I’ve learned in my years in Hollywood here is, is that people don’t care about facts. They don’t care about listing out fact after fact, after fact after fact. You just don’t, they don’t remember it. People remember stories. And that’s not going to be lost on any of your audience. You know, they’re storytellers. They know what you know. That wrapping his story, wrapping the fact in something that makes us care about those facts is what actually delivers value.

Robert Rose: 39:49 And so the way we can start to think about that is, is what do we believe? What is it? What is it that we truly believe? And we’re trying to convince these people of what does our argument, what does our truth? And if our truth is something really interesting and funny and engaging and enlightening. Now that’s the source of a good story. Now we can start to tell a good story. And now what we’re trying to do is wrap it in, isn’t engaging, convincing, possibly can. And of course, you know, storytelling is of course something else. We could spend an entire, you know, talking about real, the real measurement of that is, is there value in, in, beyond, you know, lots of people will say, oh well that know wonderful ad that we saw on TV. It was a great story. You know, like doves campaign for real beauty, you know, and it’s like, well no, without dove in that there’s not really a value in that story is like, it’s not that entertaining unless you know that it’s dove soap that they’re talking about real great content, a great story is valuable without the brand being there.

Robert Rose: 40:51 And so if we’re delivering that kind of value, now we know we’re telling a good story and, and ultimately it will serve us well.

Nicole Mahoney: 40:58 Absolutely. I think that’s a, that’s really great a framework and, and you’re right, we could do a whole episode just on storytelling and probably just on any one of these questions that I’ve asked you, but I really appreciate you taking some time out and giving our listeners just some other things to think about, different ways to look at their content marketing and what it is that they are doing. And, uh, Robert, I’m wondering if you can share with us how our listeners can best find you. Should they want to get more information or connect with you?

Robert Rose: 41:30 Well, aren’t you sweet? Thank you. Here’s comes the softball over the, over the place. Um, so I appreciate that. Yeah, there’s basically two. Um, so if you’re interested in, uh, in, in learning about what it is we do for a living, I’m content, um, is, uh, is definitely the place for where I do most of my writing and my work and, and those kinds of things. So we’ve got our blog is, is there and you know, our, the content mostly that we’ve, that we produce, um, is there, um, on a, on a, on a weekly basis. Um, and then if for me, um, it’s Robert That’s me as a, as a speaker and as an educator and those kinds of things. And so, yeah, both of them are side. Somebody told me once is the dad jeans of, of domains. I’m leaning into that. I’m, I’m leading into that whole thing.

Nicole Mahoney: 42:27 That’s great. Robert, thank you for sharing that. I encourage our listeners to check out any of Robert’s websites for a wealth of information on this topic and also to look up any of the books that Robert has written, including killing marketing that he wrote with Joe Policy. I know our team here break the ice media, had a great time reviewing that book and using it for one of our book clubs last year. We got a lot out of it and have put a lot of those principles to work for us. So Robert, I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us today.Robert Rose: 42:58 Absolutely. My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

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