Agency Influencer Q&A with Stacy Minero: The best content focuses on consumer needs

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Stacy Minero is part anthropologist, part magician and all trailblazer. As Mindshare’s head of content marketing, she uncovers what consumers need and transforms those insights into campaigns that go beyond traditional advertising. We asked Stacy to share her perspective on the ever-evolving ecosystem of content: the top challenges, the winners and the future.

Twitter Advertising (TA): Why did Mindshare create a content focus?

Stacy Minero (SM): We saw a growing complexity in the changing landscape that’s creating big challenges for marketers and media people. You have content creators, distributors, amplifiers and social discovery platforms. Some marketers have few content assets while others have thousands. It can be daunting and difficult to navigate, but there’s so much potential to unlock through really great content.

Right now, I’m working across the agency to take a more strategic and systematic approach to content. We build out roadmaps that serve as a navigational tool – we identify what kind of content to create, curate or co-create with strategic partners. We work through how to distribute and amplify assets in a more effective way.

TA: A lot of your work focuses on consumer insights. What do you think are the greatest unmet needs around consumer media consumption today?

SM: There’s a huge lack of consumer insight around content affinities that tap into mindset or motivation. The industry is oriented towards media channels or properties. There’s what I call “the missing middle” around content insights.

We might have a B2B client who wants to know what topics engage a business decision maker. Or a retailer who wants to connect with young women through “how to” videos. We’re working with some tech partners to build real-time access to insights around content consumption and sharing.

But I think Twitter is already capitalizing on unmet needs in a unique, real-time way. Instant replay in Tweets taps into a desire for fans to see sports highlights in the palm of their hands within minutes. 

The beauty of this is the simplicity. You know people are viewing TV with a second screen and that they want to relive that moment, brag about their team or debate the call. The more value you can add to the viewing experience, the more of a heroic role your brand can play.

TA: Which brands are doing content marketing well?

SM: I’m a big fan of content that’s more consumer-centric and less product focused. I see content as part of the consumer journey, and think it needs to work in concert with advertising. You don’t have to drive instant conversion via content. It’s a warming process – inviting consumers in versus pushing messages out.

I’m in awe of what Dove has done with their Real Beauty sketches. They do an amazing job of tapping into rich insights that drive comms strategy and content ideas. For me, the content illuminated a tough truth and tied it to a brand belief - women should appreciate their inherent beauty vs. pick apart their flaws. They did it in an unexpected way that created a cultural moment.

Nike is another one. They created a smart social engagement platform with #MakeItCount which challenged people to commit to sport or exercise with more intensity. I love that it’s a platform powered by Nike but it doesn’t have Nike in the hashtag. It’s about the individual versus the brand and that makes it more impactful. It wouldn’t have cultural traction if it was #NikeMakeItCount.

It’s a call to action and rallying cry for people to share their own goals or achievements. The content pieces – profiling athletes and sharing user-generated assets – were ways to make participation more rewarding.

TA: How do you show the ROI of content marketing efforts?

SM: It’s tough. It’s one of the areas the industry needs to coalesce around. For now, we look at interactions, shares and social sentiment as indicators, then attribution to brand lift or business results.

It’s important to get content programs plugged into clients’ overall tracking studies or modeling. Then you can look at content as part of the total marketing mix and not evaluate in isolation. The issue is that content is still a relatively small part of the mix relative to mass media. This will evolve, but we need to move faster.

TA: How do you see TV and Twitter working together today and in the future?

SM: I didn’t expect the second screen explosion to happen so quickly. The growth trajectory has been amazing, especially when you look at Tweet volume around tent pole events like the Oscars, Super Bowl and VMAs.

Twitter Amplify is one of the most exciting things to happen in content in the last year because we can connect TV with social delivery of content in a way that’s seamless. We did the Twitter TV ad targeting beta with American Express and were really happy with the program.

Twitter’s TV ad targeting has so many applications. You can increase frequency of spots or serve secondary content. Think of how many people are doing YouTube searches during the Super Bowl in order to see spots again. I can imagine an advertiser deploying a link to their spot in a Promoted Tweet minutes after it airs.

Or Coca-Cola, which let Super Bowl viewers vote on a commercial ending. They drove to a custom microsite, but I can envision them serving up a Promoted Tweet that links to the three content choices.

TA: What is unique about what Twitter offers marketers?

SM: The beauty of Twitter is that the whole user mindset is about “deliberate discovery” – users actively seeking great content but not knowing what they’ll discover along the way. And that means brands have a huge opportunity to use content marketing to build a long-term relationship versus just close a short-term sale.

Twitter gives us the chance to tell different parts of a brand’s story and play around with lengths and formats. It’s exciting to think about how content and advertising can co-exist and work together to be more effective.