Content Marketing World Recap
Content Marketing World has quickly made a name for itself as a Mecca for all things content, orange, and Cleveland. Vertical Measures was proud to be a sponsor of the event, and found an impressive concoction of motivated marketers and intrigued businesses.
Content Marketing World 2013
Flying into Cleveland on a Monday, we arrived in time for CMW’s Opening Night Reception at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, sponsored by Skyword. This provided an exciting opportunity to network with content peers, have drinks, and enjoy the Hall’s incredible collection of memorabilia; from Jimi Hendrix’s childhood drawings, to the plane wreckage from Otis Redding’s tragic accident. Joe Pulizzi could often be seen taking pictures and socializing while wearing a leather suit with luminous orange flames on the back. The environment was fun and lively, setting the stage for the upcoming two-day event.
2013’s Content Marketing World was proud to be one of the first events at the newly completed Cleveland Convention Center. This unique, almost hidden structure (due to the beautiful grassy sloped-lawn that runs along the roof) faces First Energy Stadium (Cleveland Browns), Lake Erie, and the Hall of Fame Museum we had thoroughly enjoyed the night before. This fantastic venue would be host to CMW’s most successful event yet.
As 2,000 marketing professionals made their way down to the expo hall, they were greeted with many orange-themed refreshments, including orange slices, cheese crackers, and of course, cheetos. The many sponsors displayed their booths with fun games, collectables, and friendly staff. After the Networking Breakfast, the crowd was directed into the main conference hall, with classic Rock & Roll jams and brilliant orange lighting around the stage. The collective buzz of excitement continued to build as the audience awaited one of Joe Pulizzi’s now famous grand entrances. The audience was also sporting orange T-shirts, backpacks, shoes, and ties as Ian Hunter’s “Cleveland Rocks” boomed from the stage.
Robert Rose walked onstage with a piano to his right, providing the new convention center’s first musical number, Rose played short medleys along with content-themed quips. Rose warmed up the crowd, only to discover Joe Pulizzi was missing for his grand entrance; the audience directed their attention toward the two Jumbo-screens onstage:
Nearly 2,000 people from 40 different countries watched a vibrantly orange and charismatic Joe Pulizzi command the stage; launching right into the event and setting the tone for CMW 2013; fun, informative, and exciting.
As one of the opening keynotes, Jay Baer announced what would be the main theme throughout CMW, “Be smart marketers. Smart marketing is about help, not hype!” Baer’s book, Youtility, comes from expert insight rather than data; the importance of researching what customers need and how to address that need. Baer noted that it’s an exciting time to be in marketing; content opens the creative hatches to not only produce content that might be viewed by a lot of people, but if done correctly, has the potential to help the masses.
Smart marketing has become something that every person wants, and many have begun to understand the value of quality content in the past year. Baer describes, “If you sell, you’ll have a customer for one day. If you help, you have a customer for life.” The importance of actively engaging the audience and offering help for future customers is crucial.
After the keynote, the audience was ushered by the many helpful and friendly staff members of CMW. Joe Pulizzi continued to shake hands, laugh, and share in the overall enthusiasm of the event. The breakout sessions were informative and motivating; excellent speakers discussed topics from effective content marketing strategies, to tips for promoting content with simple tweets.
Robert Rose’s “The Three Models of Content Marketing Creation” allowed the audience to decide what model would work best for them. Rose created a relatable, engaging tutorial on becoming content aware, being a thought leader and storyteller. With plenty of time in-between sessions, the 2,000 marketers were able to visit many of the Sponsors’ booths, purchase books, and network with fellow content enthusiasts.
Jonathan Mildenhall of CocaCola offered a motivating, visually enticing, and enviously impressive keynote to close the first day of CMW 2013. Although CocaCola’s marketing projects were far beyond the budgeting realm of the audience, the message remained the same: a company must take risks, and actively engage with their audience in new ways. When asked about adjusting to the budget scope of smaller companies, Mildenhall responded with a inspiring conclusion, “If your brand can’t afford to take risks, it can’t afford to grow.”
The city of Cleveland was open for 2,000 newcomers; when Pulizzi asked earlier that morning, roughly 98% of the crowd had never visited the city. CMW hosted 80’s Night at the House of Blues Cleveland, with the award winning Mega 80’s performing for the night’s entertainment. Pulizzi, exuding what seemed to be endless energy, danced the night away with friends, and marketing peers. Content Marketing World 2013 posters and signs were everywhere throughout the city, while many local restaurants offered discounts for CMW attendees.
The second day of CMW began with the same anticipation and excitement; orange t-shirts and refreshments everywhere. The morning keynote by Northwestern University’s Dr. Don E. Shultz was arguably the best presentation of the event. “The Father of Integrated Marketing” brought his years of experience and conventional wisdom to shed light on the way new media, i.e.; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are changing the branding landscape.
As the audience continued to the breakout sessions throughout the day, there was noticeable excitement in the air – William Shatner was in the building. As it got closer to CMW’s final keynote speaker, people began flooding towards the main hall. When the doors finally opened, the previously calm-and-collected crowd rushed in a star-struck fury into the front rows.
The convention center quickly filled as the two big-screens projected a Shatner-filled compilation video. The 82 year old Shatner took the stage, and discussed a collection of projects, successes and failures, and his love for good wine. While the ending keynote provided many Shatner-worthy moments, the actor, musician, motorcycle enthusiast, and watch designer fittingly echoed CMW’s 2013 theme: Marketing is a constantly evolving field; creative thinking and active engagement can mean the difference between a marketing flop and viral branding success.
Vertical Measures encourages individuals who are interested in Content Marketing to attend next year’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland. This incredible display of organization, professionalism, fun, and content expertise is more impressive than the newly revitalized Cleveland area. We are proud of Joe Pulizzi for his hard work, his effort towards reintroducing Cleveland to the masses, and rocking that awesome Orange suit.
About Brad Kuenn
Brad Kuenn is the co-author of Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business. As Senior Editor for Vertical Measures, he focuses on making content compelling and valuable for the desired audience. He is responsible for ensuring that content efficiently reaches client goals, delivers optimum results, and aligns with Vertical Measures’ values. Follow him @BKuenn +Brad Kuenn