Talking Content Marketing – With Tim LeRoy

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Talking Content Marketing brings the content marketing b2b perspective from Tim LeRoy.

Tim is the owner of DirtMeetsTheWater and believes in using old skills with modern tools. In Tim’s words, “The time is right to rip up the marketing and advertising rule book and to get back to communicating like real people.”

Six questions, six answers, lets go… 


How difficult is it for a business to change an approach that has been imbedded for generations in a transactional/mass media approach to one that is based on authenticity and creating an attachment with an audience? 

It’s not easy at all, because it takes a fairly large shift in thinking from senior management.

I’d like to kill the idea of marketing as a separate ‘thing’ altogether.  Growth comes from the way the whole company goes about their business, so everyone in the company has to be on the marketing team. 

Michael Eisner, the former Chairman of Disney said that great brands are “a living entity – enriched or undermined cumulatively over time – the product of a thousand small gestures”.

The greatest brands and companies are all laser-focussed on their customers’ experiences. If they are consistently great (a thousand small gestures), the stories pour forth naturally and sales follow again and again.  The brands we trust most are nearly always totally authentic and communicate so well that we can’t help forging a loyal attachment.

So if senior management understand the commercial strategy – and are committed to the work it will take – it’s easy. 

 

Are the majority of businesses still getting social media wrong i.e. treating it as free advertising? 

 Yes, absolutely. 

Social media are communication tools like phones and post.

Businesses have to respect the fact that most people use Facebook etc. for mucking about with friends and wasting time.  They’re looking at babies and cats and people falling over and they don’t want to be sold insurance. 

If you take the analogy that social media are like pubs, then most companies are standing in the corner of a busy Wetherspoons on a Friday night shouting at people. No one can really hear you for all the other noise and they’ll try and avoid you even if they do. 

You have to find quiet corners, listen to your kind of people and then join in the conversation naturally with something relevant.

 

How do you see businesses standing out in a world that is becoming even louder with others scrambling to be heard and recognised?

 You just have to be awesome.

Be great at what you do and talk to people individually, naturally and like a human, not like a sales machine. 

It’s really not that hard but you have to really, really know your customers – preferably by name, not as a dataset – and work out how to communicate with them the way they appreciate most.

 

 

Has a huge choice of channels created more of a problem for businesses?

Well I think it’s often a case that marketing teams confuse the quality of the message, with the quality of the messenger.

You have to be honest with yourself. Did our blogging fail because blogging is rubbish or because our blogs were rubbish?

More importantly what do most of your customers use?  Do they really use Periscope or Meerkat? Do they want to hear from your business on Snapchat? 

I don’t really listen to podcasts or follow many blogs, so if you’re targeting me you need to use Twitter or maybe Instagram.  People who send me really well written and very thoughtfully targeted email newsletters get my attention too.

So to answer your question, no, the plethora of channels is an opportunity to find the right thing for your tribe.

 

Is consistent participation the key to building an audience and creating relationships with prospects/customers?

Consistency (of everything) is certainly very important, but I’d say personalisation is the real key to building valuable relationships. 

The strategies that have worked best for me were all about sending the right thing to the right person at the right time. 

I don’t care if your blog or newsletter or podcast only comes out every other month, as long as it’s just what I needed/wanted to see/read/hear when you do. 

The tools and data are all there for you to talk to your customers personally – even individually – but it takes smart planning and smart work. 

It’s vital that you really know who your audience and prospects are, and that you’re not just shooting off a shotgun randomly hoping something will hit someone.

The sniper approach is much more effective in the long run.

 

If I gave you an evening out at your favourite restaurant with three other people and the topic of conversation was ‘where is the world of business heading?‘, who would they be and why?

 Alas she’s dead, but I’d love to have talked with Anita Roddick who founded the Body Shop. She couldn’t afford advertising in the early days so relied on telling the stories of her suppliers and customers (brilliantly) to build a very human and compassionate brand. She was light years ahead of her time and I suspect she’d be ace-ing the content marketing thing.

So I’d like to invite Steve Jennings who is a fascinating visionary working in human and business collaboration, amongst a thousand other things. He’s one of those guys who is committed to changing the way we work together, for the better. 

I’d also invite my friend Mark Shayler. He’s a true polymath and disruptive thinker who teaches businesses, large and small, how to think and act differently. His business philosophy combines sustainability, design and purpose, which I believe is the best future for all businesses and British manufacturing in particular. He’s funny and bright with an amazing shoe collection, and if you get a chance to hear him speak you should grab it.

And finally I’d love to talk to Elon Musk. He has the capacity and intellect to make tectonic shifts and even though he’s thinking big on a galactic scale, he’s building solutions for real people.  Tesla Motors’ marketing focuses almost entirely on their customers’ experiences and stories and it’s beautifully infectious. I want need one; so it clearly works. Most of all he looks like he’s having fun.


A HUGE thanks and a HIGH FIVE to Tim for being part of the Talking Content Marketing project. To find out more from Tim:

DirtMeetsTheWater: click here

Tim on Twitter: click here

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