Throw Out Your Old Tired MarCom Structure


How communications can drive sentiment and behavior change

I have been a publisher, editor, journalist, PR professional, media relations director, digital communicator, advertising copywriter, media buyer, membership marketer, teacher, entrepreneur and strategic communications adviser to the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness.  Everywhere I’ve been, one thing bothered me. Should “marketing” sit at the head of the table?  Marketing (with it’s myriad definitions) is often split off from corporate communications (who usually works directly with the CEO).  Something’s wrong.

From my vantage point, it’s time to reorganize marketing and elevate communications. And rather than organizing the divisions by tactics (like advertising, PR or communications), it should be by result: influencing sentiment and behavior.  And best of all, we can measure them!  We need to break down silos between owned, earned and paid media and let objectives drive.  Should advertising copywriters be banned from producing content?  Should PR agencies be forbidden to conceive of and place “native” advertising? I think not.

Communications should drive the new structure and be in charge of “brand equity” and revenue (with strategy, brand experience, audience insights, positioning and messaging underneath).  These disciplines would then support “sentiment” which would be charged with attraction, engagement and validation.  “Behavior” would be responsible for conversion and retention – no matter what tactics they used.

The holy grail would be to understand the role sentiment and behavior change efforts played in generating revenue and brand equity.

What do you think?

Thought Leadership: The King of Content

Thought Leadership:  The King of Content

If Content is King, thought leadership is the King of Content.  Why?  Because done right, it reflects your personality and greatness, emphasizes what you do for others, and builds loyalty and advocacy.  It also sustains your relationship with courtesans, allies and confidants, which helps secure your realm and ward off challengers.

So what’s different about Thought Leadership from other forms of content marketing?  As a practitioner and scholar in this fast-emerging discipline, I called Joel Kurtzman (who coined the term in 1994) and asked.  He said:

“Thought leadership is not just trying to further knowledge – it’s about furthering a discussion that leads to action.” 

He’s right.  I found plenty of definitions for thought leadership that didn’t reflect the imperative for action, so here’s my new definition:

Thought Leadership is the ability to aggregate followers around ideas to educate, influence and inspire. 

You can’t lead if you don’t have followers, and the action you want your followers to take is up to you.  If you subscribe to this blog you’ll probably be want to convert them into customers or persuade them to support your cause.

In coming blog entries, I’ll talk about what companies are spending on Thought Leadership and where great content comes from.

What do you think of my definition of Thought Leadership?