How Well Does Your Marketing Sell Marketing?

This week I talked with a CMO of a midsized B2B organization about her biggest challenges. She said, “I’m struggling with acquiring new talent. I’m restructuring my team around a content-centric strategy, and it’s hard to find the right people.”

This is a common challenge in marketing these days. In fact, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) just released research showing that the advertising industry is facing “a looming marketing and advertising talent crisis.” It’s not that college grads aren’t talented. It’s that they’re not interested in marketing. As the study put it, “College students were unsure what a career in advertising and marketing entailed and whether it represented the work they deemed ‘meaningful.’”

In other words, not only are people with the requisite talents becoming harder to find, but the number of people interested in this field is also getting smaller. The study said little about how to address the shrinking attractiveness of marketing as a career choice.

As I see it, these findings give us yet another reason to look at how content can drive business strategy. Marketing becomes more meaningful when it is led by content strategy than when it is led by digital tactics. The adventure of creating value with content through every step of the customer’s journey is more meaningful than trying to figure out the next digital ad or data-driven campaign.

Couple that reality with the increasingly difficult challenge of competing for talented people, and you have a recipe for a new kind of strategic initiative. I believe that we will soon be called on to take an approach to content marketing that attracts not only prospective customers but also new talent to our businesses.

We need to create content that today’s college grads can get behind.

There’s an old saying from my childhood (which I thought was famous but can’t find on Google): “Are you selling bibles or religion?” In other words, are you selling the product or the meaning behind the product?

To compete for the new marketing talent, we need to promote the meaning of what we do, not the tactics of how we do it. We need to create compelling places to express the creativity and wisdom that content creators, editors, and producers bring to our business. Yes, we marketers wear many hats. We create ads, we run A/B tests, we optimize keyword strategies, and we implement content management technology. But if we don’t talk about the meaning behind those activities – the difference that all those efforts make in the world – we risk mechanizing the soul right out of the story we are trying to tell.

Marketing itself, as a worthy career, may turn out to be one of the most important things we sell.

Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS.

Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
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Author: Robert Rose
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS. Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.