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How To Write an Inspiring Content Marketing Mission Statement [Examples]

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How To Write an Inspiring Content Marketing Mission Statement [Examples]

Why does your company create content? Who is it for? What will it do for them?

If you don’t know the answers, you need to figure them out. And you should do so before you create anything more for the company blog, website, newsletters, or any other content platform.

Why? Because if you don’t know what someone will gain from consuming your brand’s content, your audience won’t see a compelling reason to engage with it.

A lack of answers also makes it harder to choose relevant topics, formats, and delivery channels.

Fortunately, there’s a straightforward way to frame the answers to all of these questions so everyone involved with your content (planners, producers, and consumers) will know: Write a content mission statement.

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What’s a content mission statement?

A content mission statement is one of the three key components of every brand’s content marketing strategy. A content mission statement is a centering principle of your brand’s content and it can govern your content team’s creative and strategic decision-making.

A content mission statement answers the why, who, and what of your #content, says @joderama via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

A strong content mission statement reflects your business values and helps you distinguish your storytelling from other content competing for your audience’s attention.

It can also inform content decisions on the creative side, including:

  • The kinds of stories your brand will tell (e.g., the topics to focus on)
  • How those stories take shape (e.g., core content formats and platforms)
  • How the content assets work collectively to create a desirable experience for your audience

Here’s a brief overview of what you need to build a content mission statement for your business:

3 pieces of the mission statement puzzle

A great content mission statement details three elements:

  1. Core audience – who you aim to help with your content
  2. What will be delivered – the kind of information you provide
  3. Outcome or benefit – things your audience could do because of your content

On the Orbit Media blog, Andy Crestodina lays out a simple formula: “Our company [or blog or site] is where [Audience X] finds [Content Y] for [Benefit Z] (with ‘our company’ referring to everything your business creates, publishes, and shares with its customers).”

Let’s look at how to fill the x, y, z:

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Audience is your who

Your business likely has multiple audiences. Your mission statement should focus on the audience segment for whom your content can do the most good – i.e., where you can serve an unmet need, deliver value in areas that your competitors may have overlooked, or address a critical knowledge gap or other obstacle that may be preventing your audience from achieving its goals.

To narrow your focus, look at your most pressing marketing goal and ask which audience can best help you achieve it. For example, maybe the goal is loyalty and the audience is those who have purchased from your business. Or it could be an audience with whom your sales team has struggled to get traction.

Ask which audience can best help you achieve the most pressing #marketing goal, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

You can also take your cues from your company’s corporate mission statement. For example, consider the mission statement that sits in the center of Autodesk’s About Us page:

Autodesk’s mission is to empower innovators with design and make technology so they can achieve the new possible. Our technology spans architecture, engineering and construction, product design and manufacturing, and media and entertainment, empowering innovators everywhere to solve challenges big and small.

While its software tools encompass dozens of applications that benefit companies across multiple industries, Autodesk chooses to target innovators and makers – designers, engineers, architects, manufacturers, and artists – not just the buying committees at the corporations where those things get made.

Though it’s not a dedicated “content mission,” per se, the statement highlights a focus that also flows through all of the content Autodesk produces, from its education-focused technology centers that empower the maker community to adopt the latest creation and testing techniques to the inspiring maker stories on its Autodesk University site. If your content program is new or hasn’t quite found it’s unique tilt yet, try adapting your corporate mission statement to speak to how the values described extend to the content you create.

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Another great example comes from the media brand The Hustle, which has crafted a mission statement in the same irreverent, no-nonsense tone it uses to deliver need-to-know information in its daily newsletters:

We make it easy for you to make smart business decisions fast.

You see, there’s a massive amount of information that you, our dear reader, do not have access to. Whether you’re too busy, don’t know the right people, don’t know where to look – whatever. It’s our mission to unlock that information and give it to you in an easy to consume format.

While most publishers consider “keeping our audience informed” to be core to their mission, The Hustle speaks to a common source of frustration for that audience – their fear of missing out on the most powerful and provocative information available.

Remember: Lots of consumers might benefit from selecting your products or services over others, but they don’t all have the same needs, interests, or motivations for doing so. As CMI founder Joe Pulizzi pointed out, if you create catch-all content designed to target everybody, it likely won’t be valuable to anybody.

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Benefit is your audience’s why

Once you determine the audience, summarize the distinct benefits it will receive from engaging with your content.

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Audience personas provide a clear picture of your target audience’s most pressing needs. (If you don’t have these on hand, we have a quick and easy guide to building audience personas.)

But you also must account for the reasons your business is suited to deliver on those audience needs and how your approach stands out from other brands your audience might engage with.

Detail why your business is suited to deliver and stand out with the #content your audience needs, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Take another look at The Hustle mission statement and notice two characteristics that speak to audience benefits:

  • “highlighting a handful of topical stories”
  • “adding perspective and color to make it easy to understand”

Selecting stories they feel subscribers will want to see (something time-crunched media consumers can certainly appreciate) and making those stories easy to understand are meaningful benefits for all audience members who have ever read a news story only to wonder what the deeper implications are or how it might affect them personally.

As you create your mission statement, think about what you can do for your audience that other content resources aren’t or what informational needs it has that your content competitors aren’t satisfying. Determining that will help you pinpoint opportunities to highlight your unique areas of expertise and distinct brand advantages without making your content all about you.

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Content is your how

Identifying your audience and content benefits are relatively straightforward decisions, as your marketing analytics and competitive research efforts can help inform those elements.

But your mission statement also needs to account for how your brand’s content provides a personally resonant and uniquely valuable experience to your audience. That’s not something you can base solely on logic and data since there’s a strong emotional component involved.

As a brand, what is it that you value most? What subjects do you have the most passion about, deepest experiences with, or more authority and insight on than any other content creator in your space? The answers are how you discover the stories your brand was meant to tell – and how you compel your audience to want to engage with them.

For example, take a look at this blog mission statement from Moz:

The industry’s top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights – all in the name of helping you level up your SEO and online marketing skills.

Two things in this statement emphasize the audience benefits: (1) level-up your SEO and online marketing skills and (2) collaboration with top industry experts to deliver that assistance. Who doesn’t want to learn from the most experienced experts without having to gather those insights themselves?

As another example, consider the mission statement for Ikea Behind the Scenes, a story-driven, personal experience-centric blog that sits within the company’s Life at Home portfolio of content offerings:

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Consider this page your backstage pass – come on inside and follow IKEA products on their journey from idea to prototype to finished product. You will meet product developers, designers, engineers, and suppliers and experience the Democratic Design process in action through snapshots of home visits and design work on factory floors. There will be surprises and failures as well as successes, but it will never be boring. Welcome behind the scenes at IKEA!

Ikea smartly emphasizes that before its home furnishing and decor products become daily fixtures in the lives of its customers, there’s an entire supply chain of people working behind the scenes to shape and build them. It’s all part of a journey, and that Ikea is willing to put every step of it on display on its digital content “show floor” (warts and all) illustrates the company’s commitment to thoughtful design.

1642677102 992 How To Write an Inspiring Content Marketing Mission Statement

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Who does your brand want to be?

Not only can creating a content mission statement help you determine what kinds of stories will fit your company’s vision of marketing success – and which ones won’t – it can also highlight the principles and priorities your business is most passionate about. For the audiences that share those passions, it’s a meaningful differentiator that will set the stage for increased engagement, greater trust, and deeper loyalty.

Grow your content development processes to be more efficient and effective. Learn how at the March 22-24 ContentTECH Summit. Register today!

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

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  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

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  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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