Effortless Content Doesn’t Come Easy

CT blog imageEveryone has that one friend who is always so put together – and they make it look easy. In reality, that well turned-out friend works out faithfully at 5 am, after getting 8 hours of sleep, eating clean, and drinking 64 oz of water daily.  Annoying– maybe.  Effortless – no.  Inspirational – absolutely.

In content marketing, there are a few brands that also seem to get it right consistently and serve to inspire the rest of us as well.  Recently, I’ve come across updates on three of those ‘beacon brands’ that, if you haven’t seen them, are worth a read.

GE: Be a Person, Not a Corporation. 

That’s just one practical piece of advice that GE’s CMO Linda Boff shared in her keynote at the ANA/BMA16: Masters of B2B Marketing Conference. AdAge reported that in this kick-off session, Boff spoke to how GE reinvented its approach to storytelling in order to reinvent its brand. From telling the story of GE’s industrial businesses through the eyes of a child (“Childlike Imagination,”) to partnering with Jimmy Fallon in “Fallonventions” segments featuring kids’ inventions to its engaging call for #6secondscience UGC on Vine, GE’s innovative content continues to creatively challenge perceptions of the brand and reposition it as a 124-year old ‘start-up.’

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3M: Silos Get Sexier

In a Q&A Session with Content Science Review, 3M’s ‘Content Czar’ Carlos Abler outlines how they embrace the content complexity inherent in a global firm with 50,000+ products across 70 countries and 100 markets. Scaling content excellence across this enterprise is daunting. But a shared vision for content plus a series of workshops, frameworks, and other resources help tame the beast – efficiently onboarding content contributors and accelerating 3M’s ability ‘to build competency for developing content across the customer relationship cycle.’ Taking a tiered approach, 3M considers different levels of the business to assign roles in content capacity. For more tips on successfully integrating content marketing into the broader strategic marketing planning process, check out Lee Oden’s pre-CMWorld interview with Abler.

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Dun & Bradstreet: No MarTech Before Its Time
CMO Rishi Dave echoes the ‘strategy first’ imperative. In Marketing Land, he shares how his team leveraged marketing technology to completely overhaul its go-to-market strategy. But Dave made clear that strategy drives technology decisions and that technology without the right processes and people in place first, yields negative ROI.

“CMOs increasingly own the marketing technology stacks because that’s the primary lever by which you have the marketing strategy come alive, as well as drive those great experiences for the customers,” he explained. As important as it is to get the best tech solutions in place to enable content strategy, “the #1 challenge for CMOs is to lead a diverse set of people, and get them to work together in an integrated way on behalf of a customer.”

As they say, nothing worth anything comes easy.

Cheryl Treleaven
Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.

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