Pam Didner, global integrated marketing manager at Intel Corp., develops and manages worldwide enterprise and small-business strategies at the chip manufacturing company.
In this role, she is responsible for audience development, content creation, media planning and social media outreach on a global scale.
In the following interview with CMO Close-Up, Didner discusses Intel's global content strategy.
CMO Close-Up: How important is content to Intel's marketing strategy?
Pam Didner: Content is the core of everything we do. Our business marketing communications strategies are: No. 1, to signal business advantages; No. 2, to stimulate interest; and No. 3, to engage with IT. To engage with IT, we need to find relevant topics to interact with them. To stimulate interest, we need to create compelling content. To signal business advantages, we need to create compelling content in the context of relevant topics. It all comes down to editorial and content. In addition, we don't create content for one region. Given that Intel sells products to 120 countries, we need to create content that applies to all geographies. Working with geographies is vital to ensure content scalability.
CMO Close-Up: What are your goals with regard to content marketing?
Didner: Our goal is to create useful and compelling content for IT managers. Historically, we tended to talk about processor performance in terms of CPU clock speeds. Now, we talk about the processor benefits in the context of capabilities, productivity and cost. For example, one of the topics is “PC refresh.” We focus on end-user benefits instead of processor performance. Creating content through the lens of our target audience is what we strive to do. I'd say that while IT managers find the content we create useful and educational, it's not necessarily telling a compelling story that moves their minds or hearts. We still need to figure that out.
CMO Close-up: How do you manage editorial planning for your content development?
Didner: We need to decide on topics before we create content. Editorial topics are usually gathered through feedback from our sales, regional marketing teams and primary/secondary research. We make sure that the topics we select are (both) broad enough for us to create content and relevant enough for IT managers. We create a high-level editorial calendar with three to five topics in a year. Content managers drive development based on the high-level editorial calendar. Our regional marketing managers or community managers will create a more detailed editorial calendar, which also incorporates local needs.
CMO Close-Up: How do you scale content globally across your organization?
Didner: To scale content to different geographies, we create a topic marketing kit. This kit includes information on the audience perspective, messaging and positioning of our products. It also contains the “Intel story” and a list of content such as white papers, videos, demos, training presentations, etc. Our geo teams will pick the appropriate content from the kit that will fit their marketing plan. They can also select the content they would like to translate and localize. Recently, we added one piece of content called the “Social media conversation guide.” It provides our geo marketing team examples of Twitter feeds or quick social media posts, recommended hash tags, etc. It has been well-received. We encourage our geo teams to tweak their social media feeds or posts and add their own personal touch to them. The kit provides most of the content that our geos need. One drawback of the kit is a long lead time. It takes time to create messaging, positioning, the Intel story and the relevant collateral.
CMO Close-Up: What are some of your biggest challenges with regard to content marketing?
Didner: There are internal and external challenges. The big internal challenge is to help not only our marketing organizations but also our business units to think like a publisher. It's a mental shift. A high-level editorial calendar does rally everyone, but it takes time to make that transition in a big company.
External challenges are presented by the vast array of marketing channels, from traditional media to social media, required to reach our customers. Channels are fragmented. You need to tweak your message or content a bit based on the marketing channels, which adds a layer of complexity to scaling content.
CMO Close-Up: Do you develop most of your content in-house or work with partners?
Didner: It's a hybrid model for Intel. We have content pieces that we develop in-house, but we also work with agencies to develop content. In addition, through our co-marketing efforts, we develop content with our customers.
CMO Close-Up: What advice do you have for marketers about doing editorial planning for content development?
Didner: First, senior management's understanding and support of editorial planning is a must. Make sure that your CMO or VP of marketing understands the need and the trends. Second, it's very beneficial to have the role of an editor in chief or a content strategist in the organization. This person can provide the editorial planning and content strategy while overseeing content development. Most important, he or she can ensure that the company tells a consistent story.
Traditional marketing tends to be advertising- or creative-driven, while editorial planning is more topic- and content-driven. They certainly complement each other.