Thanks so much for continuing to follow our Future of Marketing series where we are getting the thoughts and insights from some of the most innovative marketing leaders in our industry.
In our last interview, Todd Wheatland predicted that content and technology would combine to drive the future of marketing. Previously, Mark Schaefer discussed culture and the future of search. Marcus Starke predicted the rise of the science of marketing. Ann Handley called for more brands to become Content Brands. And Alan See reiterated that the customer and the content is king.
Today I am thrilled to bring you an interview with Doug Kessler (@DougKessler), the Creative Director and Co-founder of Velocity Partners. If you don’t know Doug, you should. And you also need to see the great content his firm is creating. You can see some of their recent hits on the Velocity slideshare channel. I have covered some of his team’s work before including the Content Marketing Checklist and their must-read B2B Marketing Manifesto.
So without further ado…
Doug, Tell me about yourself?
My father was a copywriter and my mother a world class salesperson (real estate). So I was destined to go from college straight to Madison Avenue (Ogilvy New York).
I gravitated towards B2B marketing because I prefer convincing someone to do something instead of manipulating them into doing it (sorry, B2C guys).
I married a wonderful British woman named Halina and she took me to London 22 years ago (two kids later and I’m stuck here — send help). Founded Velocity with a brilliant partner, Stan Woods, and never looked back. Now we’re on the amazing learning curve that is content marketing, along with our clients and the wider B2B community.
Tell me about an interesting marketing challenge your team faces?
The big challenge for Velocity and all of our clients is to scale up content marketing without losing the quality: helping to build great content brands that people really want to turn to.
Pressure to produce more and more content tends to push marketers up into the shallows. Great content taps something deeper: real expertise and authority.
How are you approaching that challenge?
Part of it is about being students of great content; to figure out what makes one piece fly off the virtual shelves and another just sit there. We’re constantly surprised.
Another part is to develop processes that almost inevitably lead to great content instead of just lots of content. The key is finding the sources of a company’s expertise and mining it mercilessly.
And finally, creating a content marketing culture is the challenge nobody really talks about but may be the single biggest determinant of success or failure.
It calls for a full-on commitment to a new way of working, thinking, behaving and collaborating — and that doesn’t happen without some serious effort.
One thing we’ve discovered is that content marketing can be a filter as well as a magnet. It can actively screen out the prospects you don’t want to spend time on so you can focus on the ones you really value. That doesn’t come naturally to a marketer but it can be a hugely powerful dynamic.
Our own recent content – from the B2B Marketing Manifesto to the ‘Crap‘ slideshare – has worked this way for us. It turns off the timid and the traditional (people we just won’t work well with) and attracts the bold, ambitious and confident (people we love working with).
Do you have an interesting or provocative prediction on the future of marketing?
As a consumer of content, I’m waiting for a new generation of intelligent filters that will learn all about me and serve up only the content that is most relevant, timely and fun.
This happens a bit in search today but I want it to be proactive, pushing me content instead of waiting for me to search for it.
Flip that around and content marketers will need to find ways to earn their way past the filters.
Another one: As it gets harder and harder for content to rise out of the effluent, outbound marketing will come back in a big way.
Finally: To help us all navigate the new content oceans, editors and journalists will make a comeback. I want a trusted curator. I want someone who puts my needs above the brands behind all this content. I want re-intermediation.