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Podcast Episode 15: How Strategic is Your Content Strategy?

What is your company’s approach to creating content? Has an overall content strategy been developed or has the general strategy been “let’s throw it against the wall and see what sticks?” On episode 15 of ONNAMP, Lindsay Kelley, VP Digital and Content Marketing at Telit, talks about the importance of developing a strategic approach to content creation complete with ongoing sales input and digital alignment.

Listen to Episode Fifteen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

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Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: The below transcript is AI-generated. It may contain errors and not translate verbatim to the podcast episode.

Will Davis: Welcome to ONNAMP. Oh No, Not Another Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Will Davis. I’m the Chief Marketing Technology Officer and co-founder at Right Source, with over 20 years experience in the marketing space. On this podcast, we’ll cover everything from strategy to content to Martech platforms and everything in between. You’ll hear honest talk about successes and failures with our guests, plenty of analogies, maybe a couple of jokes and a lot of data points along the way.

Lindsay Kelley: You’re changing your KPIs because, you know, where it used to be how many leads you’re gonna get me, now it’s how many qualified leads. What are you going to do to help me get the bigger one? What is it that is going to really move the needle to get up into the free market?

Will: Welcome. With me today, Lindsay Kelley, VP of Digital and Content Marketing at Telit. Lindsay, it’s great to have you here today. We’ve known each other for probably longer than either one of us really wants to admit. But really great to have you on the podcast and I’m looking forward to hearing some of your perspectives on marketing and content and digital and conversational and all the things that really move the needle these days.

Lindsay: Yeah. So many things to talk about and very excited to be here today. Yes, we go back way too long, but if I went to hold up the age that I keep telling my daughter that I am, which is 29, then I can’t admit how long I’ve known.

Will: She’s just gonna be in a deep math soon and maybe crack the code, but you may be okay for now.

Lindsay: Oh Mom’s 29. Yeah, sure I am.

Will: That’s great. So I know you very well, but I’d like our audience to get to know you a little bit more. Not just on the business side but just something kind of fun about you. So we always like to start with a fun fact. We’d love to hear your fun fact today.

Lindsay: Fun fact. And I wanted it to be so different from anybody else that you’ve ever had that I’m gonna go way back to when I was 16 years old in Baltimore. One of the worst job that I ever had. I was actually Chuck E Cheese in the costume, running around with tiny children throwing things at me, trying to strip me, and I thought that was about as fun as I could get for your show.

Will: Wow. As a germaphobe, that just made me cringe a little bit. It’s a good thing this is audio, not video because I had just gotten a little bit of the yucks but, let’s see.

Lindsay: The heebie-jeebies, right? It was all that you could imagine inside that suit.

Will: Very nice. Very nice. So you are my first and maybe only guest ever who will say that in fact, you were in the Chuck E Cheese costume.

Lindsay: I will hope so. Someone else needs to break that bar though. Let’s see, challenge your next guest to beat this.

Will: So let’s jump in a little bit if you want to tell us about Telit and what your focus is there?

Lindsay: Absolutely. Telit is an Internet of Things enabler. So to break it down in much more simplistic terms, we take your phone, let’s say for instance, and we enable it through the IoT. So we’ll have a module that’s inside of it and on that is provisioned software and connectivity elements, teeny tiny little antennas. And that enables us to be tracked basically through our phones and enables us to connect through your 4G LTE or your 5G and also allows on a larger scale, like say you had a fleet of scooters and we had a Telit module inside with connectivity and then there’s the platform aspect where you can track and manage the fact that in San Francisco, somebody just checked out one of my scooters. And I can see where that scooter is all over the state. So it’s a really interesting and vast world. We cover so many different industries, it’s amazing. I can tell you stories for the next hour that would really be interesting but in a nutshell, we’re in the IoT space and we are the enabler of end to end IoT.

Will: Very interesting. I say very interesting as something that we share in common is we’ve kind of grown up in the nerdy B2B marketing space where a lot of people sort of gravitate towards consumer stuff and CPG brands. And we’ve kind of taken a very different route, which is how do you get into something that’s maybe really technical and really challenging to understand and has multiple buyers involved in the process and maybe long sales cycles. And as marketers, we’re sorta like, yeah, bring on the challenge. So it’s nice to have a kindred spirit here.

Lindsay: Yes. If I can tell the story of an IoT enabled rat trap, then I’ve done my job well. And yes, that exists.

Will: And so I would imagine as you’re talking about telling those stories and some of the complexities of IoT and what Telit does, and based on just your title, VP of Digital and Content Marketing, content is a big part of that. So how do you use content to drive marketing?

Lindsay: It’s funny because when I first got to Telit, content wasn’t such a big aspect of their plans. And we did a lot of digital advertising. And so in the past 18 months, I think the amount of content that our team has turned out now has really started to show what a value it can be. And I say that because, you know, when I walked in the door, marketing was responsible for about $4 million worth of leads. Most of that was through PC, digital ads, things like that. And when I came in I said, well, let’s really beef up the organic aspect of it. We need content, we need high-quality content. And so I think that last check in 2018, the leading drivers of our regeneration were the organic searches and blogs and white papers. And I think we are supposed to be $16 million to it at that point in time. And that’s just my little corner of the world. With global and, you know, digital is one small piece of it.

Will: That’s great. It really helps to kind of reinforce the message we’re always putting out there as B2B marketers, that content really is a key to driving those marketing results and it’s not just let’s publish more stuff for the sake of publishing more stuff, that we can actually look at what content is effective, what content maybe we thought would be effective and it didn’t hit the needle, so we need to adjust the content itself or the topic or the way it was distributed or the format or many of those other things. How do you evaluate some of those things because clearly you’ve developed a pretty high performing engine?

Lindsay: Yeah. We actually take a look at a lot of the content that we have in existence and we say, A, can we improve it? And B, can we condense it and make it better and make it immediate? So we literally had a conversation this morning about, and you know, how are we going to address concerns about connectivity?

And you know, without going too deep into what the strategy of the campaign is, we’re basically able to say, well here are the common challenges, because of course, we have sales on the call as well. Here are the common challenges. Here are the things that they always get tripped up on. How can we take all of these different pieces and tie them into one big nice long killer page type of content that will really drive. It really jumps up and down and says, hey Google, this is me. Look at all this great information here.

And it really provides the answers that these guys are looking for from kind of the high-level awareness aspect through to mapping out the journey that someone would take to the end where they really need those technical facts so that they know whether or not this could actually work in the device that they’re making. Whether it’s a piece that goes on the scooter to track it or you know, the little tiny tracking thing inside of a rat trap. Like they need to make sure that it meets their qualifications and meet the specs for what they’re building. So it gets very deep.

Will: Yeah, that’s really interesting and probably some things, you know, as you’ve learned along your way, it would be great to hear about your career journey and your time at Telit now, but really what kind of led you there? What were some of the experiences you had that have gotten you to where you are today? 

Lindsay: Well, it’s a very interesting way that I got to Telit. As you know, I was always B2B, and usually, small business, small to medium-sized business. And when I applied for the role at Telit, I actually applied for a role that was not the VP of Digital and Content. I applied for a director-level role because I thought, well, you know, I just came out of owning two different agencies, selling those, too much travel for me, to be very honest, you know, we both have kids. They’re growing, you know, from tiny humans to now they’re kind of like medium humans.

Will: We keep feeding them.

Lindsay: We keep feeding them and they grow, we put them in the sunlight. But, you know, I found that the amount that I needed to travel being one of the kind of the basis of my agency, was taking a time out. So I took a step back, actually took a break for a while and then I started looking at what do I want to do and I wanted to ease back in and I definitely didn’t ease back in. So I applied for this role. The CMO called and said, “I actually would like you to do this other role instead.” And so that’s how I came to Telit.

And one of his and my biggest concerns was the fact that this is global and I’d never worked in the global market space before. So not only culturally, but from understanding, you know, how do I rank on Naver? In APAC, you know, Google is not really a big thing. So how do we navigate these spaces? There’s so many different moving parts and pieces but, to be honest, there are so many different folks within the Telit family from all different continents.

It’s interesting with how you work with different types of culture and where some of your jokes work really well with people in North America, they really don’t fly with folks in Tel-Aviv. They’re like, what do you mean? You try to name the campaign, the home run campaign and they’re like, “What is home run?” I’m like,” Oh, you guys don’t do baseball. I forgot. Okay, what are we going to call this thing?” So it was definitely jumping into deep end and has been an amazing experience from learning how to navigate all those different waters.

Will: Well I would say too, as someone who’s myself, I’m LinkedIn endorsed for humor, that would be a challenge when my jokes didn’t fly. It would require a lot of sort of adjustment, optimization, repurpose that content. It’s probably a really interesting experience making that global shift. And you talked about content, I’m sure content plays very differently. Not just campaign names but like what the different types of content, what the different formats are in different markets globally. What have you learned in your time there about sort of what performs in different areas?

Lindsay: There’s a lot of different things that content can be and that’s usually where I start. I say content can be everything from a web page to a blog post, to a white paper, to an infographic to a video. And you know, we have found that a lot of what works really well in North America doesn’t work well in EMEA. And so we have to pivot with that. So it’s much more niche, vertical, and targeted when you get into it to EMEA from a channel perspective. So we’ve had to learn how to work more with the distributors, what kind of information they need in order to help us get our product out there in their market and what really resonates with them. And you know, here in North America it’s much easier for me because it’s, a native. So I understand. I can make jokes and I know it’s gonna work.

But at the end of the day, the funny thing is, is that across the board, what we’re seeing is it’s still that really nice, very well-written long-form piece of content that’s going to start as kind of your pillar. And we’re repositioning a lot of our pages as pillar pages because we’re able to then take multiple different types of content to serve a global market. So we have a video that’s all now there that people can, you know, pop out and watch and engage with through, you know, Wistia, so we can monitor the analytics, look at what’s working, where are they dropping. One of the things that worked very, very well in EMEA for us actually is webinars as well. So webinars have been a big piece of our puzzle here with media partners because it exposes us to other audiences. We’re able to showcase, you know, subject matter expertise and then take a lot of that content.

And I know that this is something that, you know, Will, we’ve talked about before and we take pieces of content like a webinar and we do what we call Thanksgiving Turkey it. So let’s think down in Thanksgiving. So we have a gigantic bird that none of us are able to eat all of it on that one day. So how many different dishes can we create from that one bird for the next week without our families saying, “Oh, please, I can’t eat another piece of Turkey.”

So we will take something like a Webinar, we’ll transcribe it, we’ll chunk it into different sections, create blog posts out of it based upon questions that we’re getting. We’ll chunk it into, you know, as an expert answers one particular question, we take that video, we make it a whole piece. We give it a bumper and that you put the question on there and then somebody could consume that one piece that maybe only three minutes instead of the full hour webinar. So how many different ways can we take that and repurpose it? And we’ll do that also with we’re starting to do that on Linkedin as well. Taking little pieces of it, sharing it out there in the constraints of what we’re able to attach to a post to see what kind of response it gets.

Will: And I mean, I love that analogy. It’s funny, we always end up taking marketing tactics and strategies and turning them into food analogies. So, you know, somewhere on our website is a content food pyramid, and you know, we talked about turning cake into donuts or Thanksgiving Turkey. But first of all, we all love food, but I think that sort of mentality really works. And what I liked about even where you started a couple of minutes ago was I think so many marketers, particularly B2B marketers these days, presume when we use a phrase like content that people in the business know what the heck we’re talking about, right?

And so I like where you started explaining sort of here’s things that we consider content. So when we use the word content, that’s what we mean, right? Because I think a lot of times as marketers we get a little jargony. We get inside our own bubble and we don’t necessarily realize, okay when I tell a salesperson content, they may not know what that means. When I explain to a business practice head why it’s going to be really valuable to be interviewed for a white paper or a blog post or something else and, you know, how we can Thanksgiving Turkey it because some people like their leftover sandwiches and some people like their Tetrazzini and some people like all of the above. I think sometimes they don’t know what we mean until we really explain it.

Lindsay: No, you’re right. And that was part of what the team did when I first came to Telit and we started, you know, trying to break through some of the silos that always exists between sales and marketing and you can’t get around that. I don’t care where you are. It’s always going to be something that’s very hard to get through. And we said, well are we presenting them with why we need them to help us with this or why we need them to help us with that? And, you know, to sit down and explain to them, you know, here’s the why behind it. Here’s all the pieces of content that we have. Here’s how you need to think outside of the box about content.

So having a podcast, this is content, you know, we sponsor a podcast. So it makes so much sense to be able to take something and repurpose it in so many different ways, which is what you guys will do with this. This will become A, a piece of content that could be listened to, B, it will become show notes that will be able to be optimized. It’ll be out there for everybody to index in the world of Google and Bing and Yahoo and you’re Thanksgiving Turkey-ing it.

Will: You know us so well.

Lindsay: Because we do the same thing.

Will: Right. Exactly. So shifting gears for a minute, you and I spoke about conversational marketing. I know that’s a topic you’re A, passionate about and B, sort of on the celebrity podcast circuit talking about these days. So just love to hear a little bit from you while we have you today on some of the things you’ve done with conversational marketing and you know how that has changed some things in sort of what the steps you had to go through to make that work would be, and I totally just asked you a three-part question, but I think you’re gonna get them all.

Lindsay: All right. So let’s start with the circuit first. I think the reason that I’ve been on the circuit is because word of mouth. I’m all over the place asking a thousand questions about how conversational marketing is working, how you advertise using chatbots and somebody with their podcast could say, “Come be on my podcast.” I think it’s just because I’m talking about it so much now and everybody is doing it in some way, shape, or form. It’s how you package it. And so in order to get buy-ins in my organization, because a lot of people have this challenge, they work in an organization where, you know, the guys at the top are making all the decisions and it’s not always the easiest thing to be able to express the benefit of moving into another direction. Like the…..working just fine. Like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

And so I think that, you know, coming in and all of a sudden, you know, being able to show with the impacted content I think I got a little bit of buy in there from my CMO was like, oh, okay. She kind of knows what she’s talking about. So you know when Drift first hit the scene, which is a chatbot tool, they spoke about conversational marketing. And, you know, I think the distinction of, you know, a chatbot versus conversational marketing is in the methodology and strategy put behind it. So you can’t just implement a chatbot on your site and think it’s gonna be great. You actually have to build processes behind it. You have to have a strategy, you have to have the right players, you have to have the right buy-in. So we started very small. I said, let me just get a little tiny pilot going. Okay. Give me one guy.

So we originally started with some folks in EMEA. It wasn’t working as well as we thought. Very interesting because it, you know, EMEA is a little behind North America when it comes to, or “Do I really wanna engage with this little thing that just popped up on my screen?” I don’t know. Whereas in America we’re, “Oh heck yeah, give me my…I don’t want anybody. Give me the answer here. Thank you so much.”

So we were able to take one guy in North America and in a matter of six weeks we were able to show, I think about $2 million for the opportunity in the pipeline just based upon the touchpoints of the Chatbot. So we were very strategic in the places that we put him and the question that he’s asking people. The whole one-to-one personalization that really is kind of taking the marketing world by storm, it already has. But if marketers aren’t thinking about that yet, you know, it’s something you really got to start digging into. Whether that’s, you know, through your conversational marketing and the personalization or through your ABM strategies, whatever it is, you really have to start thinking about how to make people feel like you’re speaking to just them.

And I love that about certain companies where I go to their site and they feel like they know exactly who I am. So in taking it and getting this proof of concept with one individual, we were able to go back and say, you know, I was able to literally send an email to the president of the sales who I’d never met of my global company. I haven’t met, you know, a fraction of some of the people I work with on a daily basis. And I put together the tiniest little presentation. I was like, here meet Otis Bosch, [SP] this is Otis Bosch. Here’s what he looks like on the website. Here’s what I did here in North America. I would like permission to put more people on this. Can I do it? He was like, of course, you’re seeing that it’s helping guide the sales process.

And so, you know, now we have 18 people who are all actively using it. We’ve got North America and EMEA. I’m about to move into Tel Aviv with some folks and get them onboarded. But it’s honestly just listening to the feedback from the sales rep. Every chance we get on the call, there’s no agenda. I’m like, what worked, what didn’t, what are you seeing? I have a list every week, I have two weeks to fix it and go back and improve it. But you know, we’ve been able to attribute so much to, you know, meetings booked instantly online, reps who have their top accounts that they get notified the minute that they’re on the site.

It’s just insight for sales reps that really helps them smooth the process through their sales process through and, you know, it’s a delightful experience for someone who’s just looking for an ebook. We’re starting to replace our form with the ChatBot popping out. And I mean, I’m sure that everybody listening to this, they’re all savvy marketers. They see the behavior is changing of our consumers. People are less likely to give away that valuable email address because they know what’s gonna happen to them. We, marketers, are gonna send them. That’s what we do. Now, we may be very, very strategic about it, but still, if I don’t want my inbox to be full of stuff because you know, 10 years ago, revolutionary, oh my goodness, educational content and you’re gonna email me this stuff, this is great. All of a sudden everybody else figures it out too and now we’re sitting here where you know, people are filtering what they would see.

So to be able to grab something, you know right from online, engage right there, not feel like you have to give away the keys to the kingdom on your information, you know? Little do they know what’s going on in the backend with cookies but it’s what we’re seeing. We’ve actually had a few people where our sales reps have said, let me have your email address so we can set a meeting up and they literally will reply with I will give you my email address if you promise me that you’re not going to market to me. That is not something that you want to break the trust of. You know what I mean?

Will: Absolutely. I think it’s really interesting as you talked about some of your major initiatives already in this role were around content and really driving content marketing forward conversational, which is a form of content, right? And ways that you can do that. But what’s consistent, and I think the reason why it’s been effective, no surprise, is let’s build a strategy. Let’s just not start throwing stuff against the wall, right? Let’s roll some of this stuff out in a measured way. Let’s understand what’s working, what’s not.

Let’s acknowledge the fact is not everything is going to be a, I would say a home run, but again, we heard that doesn’t always translate. So not everything is going to be a whopping success right out of the gates but they are learning opportunities. We’ll adjust, we’ll start to get some wins and then we’ll scale it throughout the organization successfully and really demonstrate to our partners in sales that marketing is effectively helping drive the business. So, you know, whatever kind of the channel, whatever that the tactic really starting with, okay, before that, what’s the strategy? Why are we doing it this way? What are the expected outcomes and what is sort of the growth path?

Lindsay: I would add to that also that you’re doing this in conjunction and in partnership with sales, and that’s a big deal. You really, you have to involve sales in this. And once they understand and see the value, then they’re very open to helping you help them during the wire.

Will: Yeah, well I think that’s key too, right? It’s that maybe overused phrase, but often hard to attain sales and marketing alignment. And I know that’s something you’ve been passionate about throughout your career, but really saying, okay, like we are in fact on the same team and wearing the same colored Jersey and we’re trying to drive the same business outcomes. So how do we make sure marketing understands what sales is doing, sales understands why marketing is doing the things they’re doing and ultimately we’re having those conversations, we’re doing those calls you talked about, we’re going through things, we’re learning, we’re understanding what’s working, what’s not, and then we continuously improve.

Lindsay: Exactly. And a lot of times that means you’re changing your KPIs because you know where it used to be how many leads are you gonna get me, now it’s how many qualified me? What are you going to do to help you get the bigger ones? What is it that is going to really move the needle to get us into this new market? And you know, it’s a difficult barrier to break sometimes because it’s a very easy metric but the number of weeds is typically what people look at. And with the personalization and with getting very one-to-one marketing, it’s got to change. This has got to be more about, okay, at the end of the day let’s share the revenue responsibility.

Will: Yeah. So it’s almost like you read my mind because my next question was going to be from a measurement perspective, you alluded to a few things, you know, qualified leads versus just, you know, anyone can get an unqualified lead. That’s not really a great metric. What are some of the KPIs you are really focused on?

Lindsay: So from just our internal digital team, we honestly, we went down in the number of weeks that we served when we did a quick analysis hat year of last year to this year. We went down to the number of leads by about 26%, I believe. However, our revenue was up and I’m not gonna say the number, astronomically. It was the opportunity value versus the leads, night and day. And the SQLs were much higher than they were last year.

So instead of looking at, let me throw as many at me because I can do that all day long. And I’ve said this before to my CMO I’m like, well, you know, I can throw leads at them all day long. I said, but you know what history is showing us, that’s not what they need. They don’t need to be tied down with leads that aren’t going to be high quality, not for bringing enough money to really justify the cost of what this program is. And so we’re in this transitional period of what are we really gonna focus on. And so we’re looking at what the ROI is on a lot of these different programs and what the revenue is that we’re able to help sales achieve.

Will: Yeah, it’s funny, I was talking to a marketer a few months ago and he had talked about his 2019 plan. He had actually come out at the end of last year and said, I’m proposing that we generate fewer leads. Everyone’s sort of gasped, you know, and he’s like, I think we’re wasting too much time on the wrong leads. And what we really want to do is say, let’s sift through it, right? Let’s get rid of a lot of the sand as we pan for gold. He referenced the movie, where it’s like Jerry McGuire manifesto moment almost, right? We’re gonna get fewer leads. And they’re like, oh, that sounds bad.

Lindsay: Good. You had me at hello.

Will: All right. So we’ve covered a lot today. I know we’re kind of in the home stretch. Let’s talk tech really quickly. What you mentioned Drift as a tool. What are some of the can’t live without technology tools that you and your marketing team use.

Lindsay: So I could go on for hours on all of the different Martech things that we have implemented that we research. My director of marketing ops in Tel Aviv and I are constantly looking at ways to improve our Martech stack, but what I can’t live without on my team is actually a tool called Teamwork. Have you heard of it?

Will: I am familiar, but for those in the audience who are not, if you can a give the quick thumbnail.

Lindsay: It’s a wonderful little project management tool that helps keep us all in check and actually allows us to get projects done quickly, easily, and then go back and look at, you know, how we could even make it more effective the next time. So I can’t live without that.

Will: Very cool. Any other sectors on spotlight?

Lindsay: Oh my gosh, there’s so many. No, I’m going to stick with just that one right now. Because that one is definitely one that if we lost that tomorrow, the team would just be, we feel like we were in the dark.

Will: Gotcha. Good one. So final question I like to ask this of all of our guests through your career, obviously a lot of growth, a lot of exciting things. If the Lindsay of now could travel back in time and give advice to Lindsay of early career, what would you tell her?

Lindsay: I would tell her that collaboration is key. When I first started my career, I felt like there were a lot of obstacles. There were always challenges. I was always pushing boulders uphill jumping up and down, trying to get people to come listen and like this is gonna work. This is going to be fantastic. So I would say go back, learn how to be a better collaborator, find your champions, find your supporters, and then just get stuff done together.

Will: Great advice. We definitely heard that today. I mean the tool you spotlighted is Teamwork, the sales meetings and collaborations you talked about. So that’s clearly something you’re living and seeing the success with.

Lindsay: Yeah, I know they have. I’ll leave you with one thing. It’s one of my favorite quotes from Simon Sinek. The role of the leader is not to come up with all the great ideas, the role of the leader is to create environments in which great ideas can happen.

Will: Well said. Well, Lindsay, thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciate it. I know we could have gone off for hours and hours, but I think this was really valuable and hope to have you back again soon and we can dive into all sorts of things.

Lindsay: Sounds great. Thanks so much, Will.

Will: Thank you.