Want To Reach People? Great, What Is Your Basis of Conversation?

I love to hear from clients who know their stuff.

Julie Fleischer, Director of Content Strategy & Integration at Kraft Foods, knows her stuff. In an interview with Forbes she explains in terms crystalline what it takes to be a successful content marketer.

The most important question to answer is “what is your basis of conversation?” What do you as a brand have to offer that matters to consumers? What are you going to provide to make them want to come back to you again and again? It’s not as simple as finding a point of difference and a creative hook and trumpeting it across paid media. To be successful in Content Marketing, you have to take the time to get to know your consumers, what s/he needs, and how you can serve that need uniquely and authentically. Once you understand the role you play, all of the other elements – the channel mix and the role of channels, the creation/curation of content, etc – can follow.

Not only does she nail what content marketing is, she exposes why it is an exciting sandbox to play in.

“It’s not as simple as finding a point of difference and a creative hook and trumpeting it across paid media.” Correct. Content marketing is the deep end. It’s also more human. The ad business isn’t set up to “know consumers” or care about them. The ad business thinks in demographic terms; ergo, the brand speaks to highly educated single urban women from 21 to 34, not @hungryinohio, @atlpunk, @tsnider605 and so on.

“What is your basis of conversation?” is also the perfect question. Once brands answer the question successfully, they begin to change the score. Because “What is your basis of conversation?” is much bigger than content marketing. It’s a determining factor in whether the brand is interesting or not. Brands, like people, are interesting when they care about things bigger than themselves. No one’s charming in an echo chamber, it’s a social skill.

In my mind, Relationship Marketing is the underlying force for all the important changes in the industry today.

Traditionally, advertising and relationship marketing had nothing in common. Now, the digitally empowered consumer has many channels to talk back, so it is a conversation whether brands know it, agree to it, or not. The challenge for brands is to be good conversationalists on TV, in-person and everywhere in between. And while it goes without saying, good conversations do not contain self-absorbed talking points (as so many ads do).

The task is to find common points of interest and dwell there.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.