Amplified Marketing Across Industries with IBM’s Stephen Hunton & Caterpillar’s Hailey Wheeler
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to our new show, The Amplified Marketing Podcast, where we get into the challenges that content marketers face and look to the brands who are already knocking down obstacles and raising the quality of their content with a little something called amplified marketing, of course. It's what we've practiced and preached here at Casted from the very beginning, how to create the most meaningful content and then get the most traction from that content by ringing it out across channels. These interviews for our first season were recorded as part of a very special event. Very special to me, that officially kicked off this new approach to content marketing, and we dive into the components of amplified marketing, the strategies that work best and reveal just how much of an impact this new approach can have on your business. But we also explore the ways that amplified marketing makes life easier and more efficient and more enjoyable for content marketers out there, who are struggling to be creative and relevant and cut through the noise. This where the change begins. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted the first and the only amplified marketing platform made specifically for B2B marketers, and this is our new podcast On this show, we've talked a lot about content marketing in industries where we are familiar like SaaS and technology, but amplified marketing is definitely industry agnostic. It works everywhere and anywhere that thought leadership and expert conversations fuel your marketing and deliver relevant information to discerning audiences. There are a lot of niches out there hungry for a brand to simply pay attention to what interests them. As I've mentioned previously on this show, riches abound in niches or riches bound in niches, however you want to pronounce it. But what if these niche audiences are hard to reach and they often are right? What if they've traditionally relied on strictly print materials like catalogs? Yeah. Like the ones that you get in your mail. What role does amplified marketing play in shifting from older models that don't quite perform as well as they once did to really make the most of all the digital channels available for today's content creators, like you, me. My guests today are both at the helm of a pretty significant content marketing shift at two companies that I'm pretty sure you've heard of before. They've both been around for more than a century, the companies, not my guests. Stephen Hunton, VP and Social Discipline Leader at IBM and Hailey Wheeler, Services, Marketing and Communications Consultant with Caterpillar Oil& Gas and Marine are branching out into video and podcasting as well as promoting their content in a bunch of formats and channels. We're going to talk today about how they find expert voices to engage different audiences and different interests and preferences and how both brands, these massive brands are building awareness and building community in a way like they never have before, which is still a tough challenge, even for companies that have been around for a very long time and are as massive as IBM and Caterpillar. Because, you know what? No matter who you are, you have to ensure that your brand is not only recognizable, but also remains top of mind. Stephen and Haley are going to share with us how amplified marketing reinforces a sharp promotional strategy at IBM and how it helps Caterpillar's small team meet a vast demand for very different kinds of content. Perhaps the greatest shift here is to move away from product- led content into audience- led. A huge part of amplified marketing, and both Stephen and Hailey believe that B2B needs to become a lot more B2H, business to human. Or you might even say human to human, right? And speak to the humans out there. Well, like a human, like we all do every day. Let's hear what they had to share during a live panel session from our amplify event. Hailey and Stephen, thank you so much for being here.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. Thanks for having us.
Hailey Wheeler: Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All right. So if you would, let's do just quick intros, Hailey, let's start with you. Tell everybody who you are and-
Hailey Wheeler: Sure.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm so grateful that you're here.
Hailey Wheeler: Awesome. So thank you, Lindsay. Like Lindsay said, my name is Hailey Wheeler and I am a marketing communications consultant here at Caterpillar. And I focus on our oil and gas and marine engine industry. So if you could boil down my job into a few key components, I would consider myself a content marketer that runs all of our oil and gas and marine podcasts, webinars, and about half of our marketing campaigns each year.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All right. Thanks. How about you, Stephen?
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, Stephen Hunton. I'm Vice President of Social Strategy and Content Experiences at IBM. That's effectively all things, social media for us globally across the traditional platforms, we would expect Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, but also as we move into emerging channels, like Reddit, Stack Overflow and TikTok. But then, all things that are owned from a content perspective, whether that's a blog or podcast, my team is responsible for organizing that strategy, governing the work, partnering across all of marketing to bring IBM's best stories, case studies, product, this and that to life and the ways that hopefully our audiences appreciate.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Love it. That's awesome. All right. We're all B2B marketers here, but very different industries. I don't know if it gets a whole lot more different than marine, oil and gas, Caterpillar and IBM. Right? Let's talk a little bit about how you see content marketing, playing a role as we know it, in your world. So just left off with you, Stephen, let's start with you again. Really broadly speaking. I know I ask you to put an elephant in a box here, but, how does content marketing play a role at IBM?
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, I mean, for me, when we talk about how we want to build connections with our audiences, we talk about it in two lanes. One is content. The other is conversations. Both of those things are really important. So content is for us, the way that we tell stories, the way that we illustrate products, the way that we bring to life, IBM stock leadership or points of view that could be done through a variety of formats, right? That could be done through social content, video content, podcasts. For me, it's like the opportunity I think we have is how do you orchestrate that and integrate it across channels, so that it's not happening in silos? I work for a very large organization with lots of different businesses, and so for us, it's really about how do we ensure that anything we create can be threaded across channels in the right way so that we're essentially amplifying those pieces of content in the best way possible, in ways that actually fit the platforms we're putting them onto.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. Fair enough. Sounds relatable. Okay. How about you, Hailey? How does content marketing clear role at a place like Caterpillar?
Hailey Wheeler: Right. So as mentioned, I'm particularly focused in our oil and gas and marine engines segment. So, content marketing has never been very glamorous in this industry. It's often very technical in matter of fact, because that's just how our audience has traditionally been, and that's how we've traditionally done things in the past. However, we're really trying to move away from that more I guess, traditional form of content that we've been pushing out because one of our main goals actually, especially this year and in following years as well, is going to be to reach a younger generation who in 10 or so years are going to be the people making decisions in companies about whether or not to buy Cat products. Because of that, we've really moved away from sending out just a bunch of email blasts and posting the same stale content on social media to now really getting involved in content that's really going to be focused on brand building. So we're on YouTube now, we have podcasts, we post more playful things on social media. Eventually I would say we see Caterpillar really being focused on brand building and community building rather than just trying to make a sale. So in short, we're a brand that's been around for a century, but we really want to utilize our content in a way that keeps us relevant to the next generation and continues to build that community and build that brand for people. Just now out learning about Caterpillar.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Well, I'm curious too, because even though IBM and Caterpillar are very different, you both have been around for a very, very long time. I mean more than century each and how has content marketing evolved at least through the lens that you can see it in your roles and in just the history that you know about and where you are now? How has that evolved at your respective companies? What's that look like, even in your tenure?
Hailey Wheeler: I can start off. I've only been at the company for if you count the internship about a year and a half. From what I've seen, and there's really been a shift already in just my year and a half of being here and like I mentioned previously, we were originally doing a lot of print material. That was the only way to get our content out to audiences. We have Caterpillar dealers, so those print materials would get sent to the dealer, and that was really the only way for people to learn about our products and services that we have. But especially now with social media, the rise of social media in the past 10 years, we're really able to start focusing on things that we weren't doing for previously, like podcast, webinars. Those are some things that we just started within this one year of actually me being here. So it's shifted a lot, we're doing a lot more digital things, especially now with the pandemic. A lot of things cannot be face- to- face and we traditionally did a lot of things face- to- face. So it's nice that we're still able to have that human interaction with podcasts and webinars, but they're a lot more flexible and a lot more accessible than they were 10, 20 years ago.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Definitely. How about you, Stephen?
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. I mean, I'll speak to it from a social media perspective because that's where my focus has been for the majority of my time at IBM. I think the observation I have, having been here for four and a half years is that we are trying to make a transition from what I call a pure volume play in terms of the amount of messaging that we put out into the world, the number of channels that we manage to something that's much more audience- led and tailored for that. For example, IBM used to have 1800 social media channels globally being managed by hundreds of people all over the world, pushing out 50 to 75,000 organic social media assets a year, let alone all the paid assets that are going into the world. And so there's massive echo chamber of content going out. When you start to look at it and you say, " Well, who are those audiences? Where are they?" You see an incredible amount of overlap. So what we've started to do is move towards a model that's much more centralized and consolidated around, how do we make sure that we're being a little bit more respectful of our audience's feeds and spending more time trying to create content that we believe will work on those platforms? What is designed for Twitter? What is designed for Instagram? What is designed for LinkedIn? Because, all those things have different purposes. My expectations of what I want to see on Twitter is very different than what I want to see on Instagram. So I think we're doing a really good job right now, trying to move towards a model that's just intentional about the types of content. I think in the past, because of that volume play, there's a lot of like sea of sameness. You would see a campaign from IBM where the asset on social maybe didn't look that different from the asset that was designed for online advertising or the print piece or whatever. So things are looking a little bit more customized. It's all going to hang together because we have a brand to represent, but finding ways to really tailor it for the platform has been something we've been very focused on.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I mean, it seems like not that long ago volume was goal, right? It was, " Okay, how do we make more? How do we cover all these channels? How do we address all these audiences? How do we to everyone everywhere all the time in every situation possible?" And now we have just mass quantities of content that have already been created that we're not using and largely not using, and also lots of content that we're in this habit, this pattern of creating more, more, and we are absolutely seeing the shift to more intentional, which I love. I love hearing you talk about too. On that note, what do you see as right now, at this moment, I'm not necessarily talking about channel, but what about content and content marketing, do you see as most effective? What's working?
Stephen Hunton: For me, I think... We've been testing some things out in terms of the types of content that we put into the world and it's different across different business units, right? The audience for our security products is different than the audience for our data and AI products, is different than hybrid cloud and systems. So, take it with the grain of salt, but what we've found that the content that typically resonates falls within one of three buckets. It's content that's either demonstrating something, it's educating on something, or it's fascinating on something. So if we talk about fascination, that could be behind the scenes of IBM research in our noise free labs in Zurich, right? There's some really fascinating things we can talk about with that. Or through quantum. We talk about educating, it can be looking at search volume on YouTube. What are people searching for that's related to IBM? Well, Kubernetes is a topic that developers are really trying to understand. So we can create educational content, do explainers. If we're talking about just demonstration, it's like, what's an interesting or compelling way to demonstrate what one of our data platforms like Cognos can do. So we might look at social listening and find that people are talking about forest fires or the NBA or whatever. Then we can go get that dataset, run it through Cognos and create data visualizations of something that's topically relevant and interesting on Reddit, but we put it out on Instagram. So, those are three areas that we've been able to shift our teams to think about. It's also helpful because if the idea or the request for content doesn't fit one of those three things, we can push back in a very loving way and say, " That's not something that our audiences typically want to see organically. Let's move that to something that would be more driven through paid, because we can make sure that things are seen and optimized for clicks and whatnot."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So demonstrating, educating, fascinating. Yeah. I love that. How about you Hailey? What do you see that's working?
Hailey Wheeler: Yeah. Stephen, I like how you said demonstrating, because that is something that is very effective on our end as well. So if we have videos, for example, video content does very well on our social media channels. If people are showing how an engine works, or maybe like demonstrating how the oil and gas train works, things like that, that gets a lot of engagement on our end. I think anything audio and video content is always going to be some of the most effective content marketing that we have, especially things that are demonstrating things. People also really like seeing other people in videos. For example, we do a lot of customer testimonials saying, " Hey, this is what Caterpillar helped me with. Or this is my experience working with Caterpillar. This is my experience running Caterpillar engines." People, our audience on social media really enjoy seeing that as well. So really, I would say it boils town to, is that the most effective part of our content marketing is any content that is relevant in some way, whether it's demonstrating something or it's familiar to our audience. A lot of our audience is customers, and so they like seeing how other customers have interacted with Caterpillar. So, content that's going to be engaging for our audience, that's fun, and that it's, I think at the end of the day, we want our content to be something that our audience actually wants to take time out of their day to pay attention to.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, it's human. It's human connection that we talk about all the time. It's they want to see themselves in the conversation and they want to feel like even a brand as huge as Caterpillar or IBM, they want to see themselves in the situation and in the context.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, I think that that note on human is so important. Really brilliant woman that works for me and leads all of our thought leadership experiences, which is the podcast and the blogs and her whole thing with her team right now is, trying to move us from this mindset of B2B marketers to B2H because she wants, we're talking to humans for crying out loud. So, how do we make sure that the storytelling or the way... It's just more relatable than we've been in the past.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Truly, it's human to human.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I mean, there are humans and literally we're talking about them. We are them, right now, that are creating all this content that are saying, how do I create something that will connect with another person on the other side, even if it's Caterpillar connecting with IBM or vice versa? It's people connecting with other people. And the more we all feel that and experience that, especially with the rising tide of the content that we're seeing come out. I mean, we're all competing against your nothing. Literally people can do nothing instead of consumer content or go turn on Disney Plus or Netflix or any other streaming service at this point. We've got to find a way. We might not be better, might not be able to match the quality, but we can be that connective tissue between our brands and our audiences.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, that's a really good point. We've been working with Twitter for a while to understand some of the data around our audiences. One of the things that they helped us look at was, where are the most overlapping audiences related to some of our accounts? So we look at IBM data and AI, for example, they gave us a list of the top 20 most overlapping follows. So if you're following data and AI, and you also follow XYZ, which were the top 20? A number of them were other IBM brands, which is an issue, because it means that we're overlapping in terms of that audience. 60% of people following that channel, also follow the Watson channel. But the really interesting thing was there was not a single direct competitor to our data business in that top 20 list. That top 20 list was riddled with people like Elon Musk and Barack Obama and media outlets like WIRED and Bloomberg. So it's like when we start to talk about our opportunity on organic because, well, your competition is that. The algorithm's trying to decide whether it wants to serve me, the post from Barack Obama or the branded handle. So who who's driving the most engagement? So when we think about who our competitors really are on social media, it's about understanding they're the competition. So we have to find ways to cut through in a much more relevant way than just typical, good old B2B style marketing.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. That's a great lead into... We've talked about context, we've talked about what content marketing is to both of you and your industries and your companies, speaking these, that you're with right now. But we started to get into some of the challenges and I was not silent just now, earlier in the conversation or earlier in the event about the challenges that we see with content marketing today. What do you see in specifically in your world, in your industries as problems with the status quo of content marketing, as we know it?
Hailey Wheeler: The particular industries that I'm in comes with a slew of challenges. So oil and gas and marine engines are by nature, not some extremely popular thing that has this very large following. It's honestly pretty niche. So it's hard to reach people first and foremost. So we've got a tricky audience to work with as well, which includes people that are from all different audiences with different preferences. Like I said, we support oil and gas and marine, which means that we are trying to cater to three different oil and gas segments, and nine different marine segments. All are extremely different. So for example, a gas compression customer on the oil and gas side is not going to care about the same things as a well service customer. And then the same thing goes for a marine. So a customer more customer with a 70 foot yacht is not going to care about the same thing that a tugboat operator would. So it gets very convoluted and very challenging, and it also doesn't help that our audience spans six different continents and many different languages. So creating a really good content marketing strategy is also difficult because of our team size as well. That's another challenge. So we're a very small team, there's really only about six of us that are trying to support two different industries and 12 segments. It's really unrealistic for us to consistently produce a high quantity of highly effective content when we're all juggling multiple job responsibilities and multiple segments. So I'd say that those are the two to three reasons of what is challenging for us the most.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's that tangled web that I was talking about. It's like, okay, let's do all the things in all the ways. It always can create net new content, and by the time you actually get to the point where you're creating something, you're a mile away from where it all started and yeah, it's a mess.
Hailey Wheeler: Exactly. Yeah. We need to scale it back, definitely.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. How about you, Stephen?
Stephen Hunton: I mean, I would echo the volume issue. I think that's a huge challenge just because it's such a large business and it always seems like a great idea to make a new thing and it's fun to do new creative. But have we really leveraged the other stuff that we've made. We have so much content that we could be reusing, and in some cases, for me, it's not even about reusing it's about the right promotional strategy of that content across channels in a way that drives you back to the original, the asset. Right? So we've done this a few times really well, but often I think the biggest challenge is the amount of time to properly coordinate that promotional strategy. I think that's one of the other things I would say is a thing we're transforming into, is moving away from this mindset of, we have to have a content engine. Because content engine to me, signals production, production, and be more of, creating the right assets for content and then building a promotional engine around it that points you back to that hero piece of content. That's something that we are working very hard to implement. I think too, for us, it's confusing ecosystems. If you just look at our podcasts, if this group goes to search for IBM podcasts on Google, you get a lot of things. There's tons of them out there, not all of them are managed, not all of them are very good. And so how are we creating the right ecosystem or ways for our audiences to properly find us? That's a huge challenge. So it's not only the content, but what's the distribution model and the way that we stand ourselves up? So I talked about 1800 channels four years ago. Now we're at 140. So massive transformation, but still 85% of all engagement and traffic comes from 10% of those accounts. It's like how much busy work is happening instead of saying, " Let's really coordinate, let's build the right promotional strategy for these key messages, make amazing content and then really invest in making sure that that stuff is seen." Then it can sit out in the market along enough time to be remembered.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, so often. I've been there. In my past life, I've been there too where you're constantly creating that new for so many reasons, for internal, intrinsic motivation reasons and the pressure from those outside, within your organization to create more, more. It's really unfortunate because when you create something great, it takes an investment of time and energy and money. It's real. And yet we put it out there and expect it to go take off and fly on its own, as opposed to continuing to come back to it and pull it apart and use it in various ways, and like you said, promote it. How do you continue to drive people to it? Then once they're there, how do you drive them from that to something else? I think as marketers, we have been raised over the last two decades to think that that's less important than constantly creating new and I'm excited to see that change. I guess, let's talk a little bit around expectations, on that note. Around constant net new content. What are the expectations that you found in your... Whether it's in your companies or in your industry, or just in your role as a marketer, what are the expectations within a brand, around content? What have you found, is it supposed to do? How is it supposed to wave a magic wand in your experience?
Hailey Wheeler: We expect our content to generate leads and drive sales first and foremost. But, like I mentioned previously, we're really going to start focusing on brand building and just brand recognition too. Yes, it might take years to see results from this rather than a few months. But I think it's really going to ultimately increase our sales in the long run and our leads in the long run, especially for, again, like I mentioned previously, the next generation of consumers who are ultimately going to be the ones making company decisions and buying our products and services in the next 10 to 15 years. If we can be at the forefront of their minds by continuing to build our brand recognition, that's really what we want. So all of our sales guys and really everybody else, other than the marketing team, they always are so focused on generating leads, driving sales, anything that can make them a profit. But I think we really need to focus on that brand building and community building as well, because I think that's going to be a bigger impact in the long run.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, I think that's really good. For me, I think the expectation of the business historically has been conversion. So, how is content going to as quickly as possible lead to a conversion, whether that's getting them under the website and engaged and then we build a nurture stream and do re retargeting. But I think this, my expectation is that we're going to lean much harder towards consideration. So, how are we building more credibility of IBM through content that's designed to do that. I think that opens us up in terms of the way that we go back to this demonstrate, educate, fascinate model, but also think about thought leadership. Thought leadership is a way to build that relationship with the audience and share our point of view and look more credible so that when that buyer and our buying cycles are very long. So it's very difficult to think about how a tweet or a podcast or a video on YouTube is going to drive a conversion for hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales around the license or services inaudible that audience gravitating towards a podcast that's delivered from some of our data science elite team talking about all the things you could know and learn about the data science industry. I think when you get into the consideration moment where you're looking for something like that, that makes us more... We have the opportunity to be more top of mind. I think it gets to that longer game and also realizing consideration for most of these channels we're talking about, or conversion is just not realistic. I just believe fundamentally, most people aren't going to Twitter to leave Twitter. They're not going to Instagram to click at Instagram. You got to find ways to engage with them on the platform. Then when they so choose to search for you or go a little further and deeper, you give them ways to do that, but that shouldn't be the expectation.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, definitely. I love what you're both saying here, because tying a lot of what we've already talked about together with expectations of uniting, bringing together the humans of your brand with the humans of your audience and leveraging thought leaders and the experts in your space to do that, to be that differentiator that actually does fascinate or educate that, or demonstrate something that's new and exciting to your audience. And so you're making this easy for me, because that's the root of amplified marketing. Right? I'd love to take the time that we have left to talk specifically about that. It's not audio or video or new to IBM or Caterpillar or to most other companies at this point. Most companies today are doing some form of audio or video content. Right? But it's definitely changing. We're seeing it evolve. We are seeing it... The opportunity for it to come more into the center of the strategy. But I'm interested in your thoughts in your respective industries, what that looks like for you. What does audio and video specifically look like in your roles and how do you see it transforming your business or even your industry from here?
Hailey Wheeler: So for us, I think audio and video in just amplified marketing is a way for us to do more by doing less. By using Casted, for example, for our podcast in particular, we're able to pull so much different content from one conversation. So transcripts, audiograms, videogram, these are all different ways to get as many eyes on our content as possible while also catering to the different content preferences that our different audience members have. So talking to subject matter experts within our podcast also gives us tidbits of information that we could possibly restructure into an article or perhaps another video. So these possibilities with amplified marketing are endless plus it makes our jobs as content marketers a lot easier.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. I like that. I think with both audio and video, we talked a minute ago about this promotional engine. So the role of both of those things is they can become that anchor piece that we build a promotional strategy around. So something that we record in audio can become something that we create an audiogram for social. So there's extension of that, and the work that we have to do that I think is very difficult is, how do you build the right systems operating models to make sure that anything that's being created at the podcast level has that kind of promotional rigor behind it. So a lot of times we'll deal with... We'll have the teams come to us and say, " Hey, I made this awesome video. Can you just throw it up on YouTube for us? What are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish? How do we actually..." So it becomes this sort of a time passing thing. But, I guess a couple other things for me with opportunities of audio and video, video, I think we are seeing out of success on YouTube with IBM technology and essentially the approach there is explainer content and education. So radical utility. So let's be less, more show, don't less tell, more teach, less preach kind of thing. Then with audio, it gets into our ability to deliver that point of view in more compelling ways. We have that in a very produced podcast with a partnership with iHeartRadio that Malcolm Gladwell host called Smart Talks. It's really great. But then we also want to find ways to enable that inside the organization, because we have pockets of IBM with some of the smartest people on the planet. I believe our audiences would really benefit and enjoy content from them and getting to hear their perspectives and tell their stories of the types of work that they're doing inside of research or inside of our AI businesses or whatever. So it's just about finding the compelling stories. I think the other maybe pitfall from all of that is that large organizations, maybe every organization, but I think there's a tendency to hear things like audio and video and be like, " I will apply this to everything we can possibly do. What's our podcast strategy for this? What's our video strategy for that? And it's like, it doesn't all have to be there. We have to spend time really thinking what's the right thing for the audience? And then invest in a way that makes sure that, that's concerned and that gets us further and further away from all the volume stuff that we've already talked about.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. One thing that we get asked a lot is, how do I find these experts? How do I find these voices that we can use, in our audio and video content? What does that look like for you? How does that work? How do you find them? How do you find these stories? Like you said, Stephen.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. For us, it's about kind of having people on the team that behave as anthropologists inside of the company. You just have to go explore, it's hard. It's not easy. There's not a magical list of, who's that smart art guy or gal inside of the business that's known for their ability to speak or is camera- ready or whatever, right? It's just difficult. So we do everything from having a very tight interlock with communications inside of the company to spending time inside of the business, with product marketing in our developer business. It's like the developer advocates. So having conversations with them, searching on social for people that work for IBM and they already have a presence and they already are growing some imminence and then we can actually enable them to be even better at what they do. So it's just the research side of being a great marketer and just looking for it and looking, and then every once in a while you're going to find something that's really special and you want to put a lot of energy into it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: How about you, Hailey? How do you find your experts?
Hailey Wheeler: Like Stephen said, it is difficult to find somebody who's got a really great on- camera presence or that's camera- ready, and we're definitely still figure that out. But as of right now, so most of our podcast guests, webinar hosts, our voices rather are Caterpillar employees who are subject matter experts on a particular product or service. So who can provide as much knowledge to both our team and also to our audience as well. But recently some of our other voices are external people that have relationships with Caterpillar one way or the other who are able to share their own experiences and expertise from an outside perspective. For example, on our podcast, we've had a top gun instructor who has spoken at some of our Caterpillar dealer meetings before, on one of our podcasts. He talked about his leadership styles. We've had a boat builder talk about the first re- power with our latest Marine engines. We've had tugboat operators talking about their lives as captains. These are all personal stories that keep our audience invested, and they're also stories that aren't so focused on making a sale. It's really about putting content out into the universe that is different from all the other marketing noise. That's really what we're trying to do with these podcasts, and it's content that's even different from types of content that we have traditionally pushed out at Caterpillar. Those are the two different voices that we're really focusing on with our podcast and webinars.
Lindsay Tjepkema: A way to make the rest of us jealous Hailey, that you have tugboat operators and top gun instructors that you get to have on your podcast. I think a lot of the other B2B marketers watching would also appreciate that. I think one of the big takeaways here that I heard you both mention is that, it's not necessarily the CMO, the president of this, the leader of that, it's the voices and the people and the experts that are sometimes even rather unexpected. Yeah. Somebody, yeah... If they're going to be on video, they need to be camera ready. If they're going to be on audio or video, they need to be able to speak eloquently, whatever that means for your brand, but they don't necessarily have to be a C- level or a senior leader. Of course, that all is dependent on your internal processes, but they need to... It's what's so important and you've both mentioned this in different ways throughout this conversation, but is knowing your audience, and your audience is and what they're going to find fascinating and what they're going to find really of value and how can you provide? How can you be the conduit between the people that, because of your brand, whether they're internal or external, your customers, your partners, your internal thought leaders and what that audience actually wants to know and learn. So on that note, we're here to talk about amplified marketing. What are your thoughts about, about that, about this thing that we're rolling out officially, official today? How do you see it playing out in your industry and or what excites you about it? What excites you about this amplified marketing methodology that we're looking at today?
Hailey Wheeler: I think amplified marketing is really going to change the game. So firstly, audio and video make things I think a lot more personal, even in a time where face- to- face is very limited. I think we can still have genuine interactions with people over podcast webinars, you name it. Secondly, I think the return on investment is really fantastic. So in the grand scheme of things, it takes very little money to produce an entire year's worth of podcast and webinars. Then with amplified marketing, we're able to continue to reuse and repurpose this content in so many different ways, while also cultivating brand recognition, generating leads. I think it's arguably more effective than maybe paying for magazine spots or social ads, things like that. But I am really excited for amplified marketing because I think it's going to provide a new, flexible way for our audience to continue to learn and interact with us in very different ways. I think it's going to let us be able to reach a much wider audience. I think we are also able to prioritize our audience by pushing out all these different types of content that they actually want to see, not just what we want them to see in order to make a sale. So I think amplified marketing, I'm super excited for it. I'm excited that it's going to make our lives as content marketers a lot easier, but, I think it's going to be something great that we're going to use for a long time.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. I mean, I think it's just the smart framework, right? We've talked so much about, I think maybe attention that we all feel. It's like, how many new things are we going to make versus having a strategy that really does amplify that content and ensure that it's... Not just that it's seen in that, it potentially gets someone to do something with it that first time, but that, if we're talking about building the brand and consideration, those are things that take a while and you need to build some frequency. So for me, it's focus and frequency are a huge advantage of a model like this, where you have to be a little bit more intentional about what you're going to build. You have to build, you create the right thing and then you have to promote it in the right ways in favor of ensuring that Stephen or Lindsay or Hailey all see it enough. If you only see it once, chances are, it's not going to move the needle on the brand for us. It needs to be from a social perspective, the data we get is six to nine times. So it's like, if you're really going to make sure that, that message just seen and remembered, you've got to drive frequency. So I feel like the amplified marketing framework enables us to do that more easily.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it. Okay. Any words of wisdom or words of advice before we switch over to questions? This is for everybody watching, if you have any questions, just go ahead and put them in the Q& A. We'll get to as many as we can. Anything you want to add? Yeah. Thoughts on how to make this transition from that crazy ball of yarn that we call content marketing strategy to this new approach where you're putting what we've talked about, thought leaders at the center and amplifying it across channels.
Stephen Hunton: I just... For me, one of the observations or learnings I've had in the last six months as we're going through this very massive marketing transformation, that's much bigger than even my organization is that I could be doing a much better job enabling people outside of my particular area, my discipline. Right? I spend a ton of time doing enablement and education for social practitioners, blog, podcast teams, all that. Everybody's getting better at what they do, but are we making sure that the organization understands what we do, why we do it? What good looks like, what good isn't. And so we are going to go under on a huge road show in the next year, both virtually and physically to help educate and spend time enabling the organization versus getting frustrated when people don't understand our perspective. Right? That gets into really helping people understand the principles that we live by, in my organization and then using data all the time. I'm a creative strategist by trade. That's my background. But, I am one of the more data- led people. It's like, well, let me talk to you about some... Let me show you some data that illustrates why it is that we want to make this kind of change. That just helps break down some barriers and open you up for conversation versus feeling the pushback intention that happens when we just want to say, " No, that's a bad idea." Or whatever. So yeah. It's enablement, and then data.
Hailey Wheeler: Yeah. Honestly, I don't think I could say it any better than Stephen. We are definitely still figuring out our strategy. It's going to be hard to make these changes. It's going to be difficult for us to... I guess, it's hard for us to, especially just in oil and gas and marine, where Caterpillar has all these other different divisions. It's going to take a while for, I think people to understand why we're doing this, but I think we have the data there, and once we show that amplified marketing really does work, I think this is going to spread throughout Caterpillar and I think it's going to be something really great.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Love that. Okay. Thank you both for your insights. Let's answer some questions. How do we effectively make the case to leadership that our content marketing creation structures need to support first equality output with a secondary of quantity. I think this is something that has plagued us as marketers for a very long time. I'm interested in your thoughts.
Stephen Hunton: I'll give you two answers. One is data. I mean, we all have that... There's more data than ever, right? So I know exactly how many average engagements proposed, average link clicks proposed. We deliver through a piece of organic content that I would define as good. I also know whenever it's a thing that we don't know doesn't work that well, if it's events- related content, the way that we do that. So I think data can be very powerful to making your case. The other thing that I've been doing as of late, because I've had to go in and convince leadership, why we're going to do some new things next year, and one of the questions that I've been asking people as a pre- read of the meeting is, think about for leaders, you can think about this for yourself, but like for leadership, answer these two questions, what's a social brand that you'd love to follow and why? Would you actually actively search for that brand inside of the search bar on that platform and go see what they're up to? Who do you love to follow? Then what are what's content that you love to experience? I went through that, I went through those exercises personally, as we were thinking through this reinvention of IBM's go- to feed strategy. So I have answers to that. When you start to have that type of conversation with them supported by data, for sure, but you realize that the things that we are making, they don't fit those answers. So it's like, I want to make things that fit those answers. I want to emulate the brand that I love to follow and the content that I love to experience, because I think that's what's going to move the needle for us. Not the volume plays and just doing things because we can, right?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I mean, there's always a way to bring it back to being a human, right? The beautiful thing that we have here is that we all are consumers of our own stuff, the stuff that we're buying all the time, and then we also buy things or have influence over, or at least the wish list of things that we buy on behalf of our, of our brands. So you're absolutely right, Stephen, is what do you want to hear about? That might not be the same exact content. Hailey, we're not all buying from Caterpillar as individuals, but, we have opinions on what resonates with us and what would fascinate us and what we would find engaging. Yeah, I think that we overlook that a lot. We underestimate the power of just our own opinion. The data that we have from our own experiences that we've lived. So where do you gather your data to show the lead off of that, to show the rising trend of using audio and video content in your marketing strategies.
Hailey Wheeler: We actually did a study with our subject matter experts, our Caterpillar dealers and our customers to determine what types of content they wanted to see. Literally, what do our customers want to see? And what we got overall was, they want this content that is relevant to them, that shows people, that shows interaction between people that shows our subject matter experts talking about things that they are interested in. I think that alone, the best way that we're able to do that is through audio and video content. I mean, and I could talk about there is, between articles that we have read or just numerical data, just based off of how well audio and video content has done on our social media, for example. That's also data as well, but I think this customer study that we did where they said, " Hey, we want you to see people." I think the best way to do that is through audio and video.
Stephen Hunton: Just to add to that, I think there's a couple different sources for data or just, I don't know, data and best practices or strategic choices. One might be the partners that we have. So it could be agency partners, it could be a partner like Casted, bringing data to us. It could be the platforms themselves and the data we could pull out of those platforms, or it could be our own homegrown internal tools that we build. We do a lot of data integrations between the social management systems we use, the data that we can pull out of YouTube and we have this massive data tech stack that our analytics leader has built out. So all of those things are interlinking together into what we call the social scorecard. I think audio and video are a little interesting because, that's a new part of my organization. So figuring out the right ways to build the data visualizations and understand what impact that content is making, is something we are going to embark on this year. But, we talk about... The term I use is a fitness term, but it's time under tension. So if I think about time under tension and fitness, it's like how much time under tension do I have with weights on my back or whatever. Right? If I think about people engaging in a podcast or in a video it's, what's the time under tension? I don't care so much about a three- second video view, I want to know how did they watch 75% of the video? Did they listen to 50% of their 30- minute podcast? That's pretty awesome. It doesn't have to be... So it's just like thinking about, is this holding the attention of our audience in a way that we think is a number worth talking about. Then we also spend a lot of time gathering qualitative data, looking into discussing what we're learning from the data that comes out of the platforms, talking with our social strategists and the people managing the podcast, so that we can add that, the context around it. So why did this do better? Why did this do worse? What about it? Can we learn? How do we try something different next time? So there's a lot of testing and learning and iteration that happens because of those, we have retrospective meetings to discuss all that. It's a long- winded answer, but we spend a lot of time trying to look at it and understand it. I think our new intelligence leader in my organization is spending a lot of time thinking about, how do we remove the metrics that are... They're just showing us that we completed something. The number of posts we did, the amount of content we produced, the whatever, and spend more time talking about how to make the work better next time, versus being excited that we finished something.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I mean, one thing that you're actually describing is creativity, right? Thinking about ways to get more creative. It's not about doing the things, not about checking a box, it's trying new things, it's testing new ideas, which is super important. Also, I'm not going to think about time and intention the same way and ever again.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Every morning in my workout class, I say that and I'm thinking now about having attention and reaching-
Stephen Hunton: There you go.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So thanks for that. I love that. Cool. Let's see, you mentioned Stephen, about pointing to the different accounts that you like and having that be an answer to people who push back on quality over quantities. Are there any companies that you look to for inspiration that you look at and say, " This is a company that really has their content strategy and distribution down packed. Let's emulate it." And who do you point to in those situations?
Stephen Hunton: Man, I have a bunch of examples, but I'll... One of my social brands I love to follow is Nike, which is a cliche answer, I think that's sort of expected, but my reasons are two reasons. One reason is I feel like they spend all of their time and energy from my perspective, trying to convince me that they love running as much as I love running or that they love training as much as I love training. They're not really pedaling shoes to me. The shoe ends up on the athlete's foot. I think I'm like, " Oh, that's the new shoe. I got to go buy that shoe." But they're not telling me about it. Right? They do that with paid. So I love that they're trying to build a connection by telling really interesting stories and connecting to a passion versus product. The other thing that I think they do surprisingly well, through most of their flagship accounts is they're really disciplined editorially. They tweet like five times a month and our joke is, " Do we really have more to say as IBM on social media than Nike?" We tweeted 5, 000 times last week. So they're definitely one that I really love to follow. Another is just, I love following Wondery. It's apodcast company. I've been fascinated with their ability to kind of create shows across a variety of genres so they could have a mystery podcast or they could have a business podcast, and I am in love with Business Wars by Wondery. I think they do an amazing job from a production standpoint, highly entertaining, you learn a ton about business and the stories of those companies. I just think they do from a promotional engine perspective, I just think they're really tight there. But yeah, I mean, I had to come up with a bunch of answers to that question. We don't have enough time.
Lindsay Tjepkema: How about you, Hailey?
Hailey Wheeler: I can probably keep mine short because this is the one that it's actually a competitor of ours that does a really good job, and that is John Deere. I think that they do a fantastic job with brand building. They're not pushing out so much content all the time. I think they're very selective with what they choose to put out, and I think they're community building, brand building, brand recognition is really strong. I don't know what that says, but I think we want to emulate that competitor of ours. They do a really great job and we'd like to follow in their footsteps.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, for as long as Caterpillar has been around, John Deere has been doing content marketing longer. I remember in marketing class 101, a million years ago, starting to talk about content marketing first time ever, all the textbooks still referenced John Deere and that newsletter that they printed and sent out. I don't even know how many hundreds of years ago it was at this point, but... So you have a bit of time.
Hailey Wheeler: Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: You've only been around for 125 years-
Hailey Wheeler: crosstalk.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. It's going to take like 200. It's okay.
Hailey Wheeler: Right.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's all right. Okay. How do you think about nurturing your existing audience of podcast listeners, video viewers, your audience, and trying to grow that audience or expand your reach. Do you prioritize one over the other or try to balance them both equally?
Hailey Wheeler: Again, this is something that we are really still trying to figure out. So we started podcasts and webinars a year ago and it's been... Like what I mentioned a while back, it's hard for us to get our word out to our customers. If we promote a specific engine on our podcast or our webinar, there's only going to be a small amount of people that are interested in that, just because there's so many different segments, so many different people that are interested in so many different things. I actually don't really have that great of an answer for you on that. I think that's still something that we are very much still trying to figure out.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. Similarly, I mean, think for podcasts for us right now, we're going through a massive audit to just try and understand why they were all stood up. What are they there for? Why did they do them? A lot of the podcasts that IBM start, we have more than we need is basically, the short answer. So we've got to figure out that and figure out how do we use that as a way to build and nurture that relationship with that audience, do the right content. For YouTube, IBM technology is a good example of I think they are building a really strong community, based on people that are looking to learn things about technology. They used to have a lot of variety in the types of content they were posting. It might be a product demo. It might be that's from the marketing team. It might be something communications made. It might be an explainer. It might be... It was just like, no, the audiences don't want that. So, let's completely flip that on its head and let's only be focused on what we know the audience wants and their search behaviors. So everything that they put onto that site now is related to something of that nature. So it's been really cool because that account used to be IBM Cloud. So it's all about cloud topics. In the new model, we've said, " Well, let's just rename that IBM Technology. And let's adopt that model for all of our business units that are software and systems- related. So you'll see this transition over time where everything becomes about that utility, about that education. I think that gives you a reason, that audience a reason to continue to come back, hit the subscribe button, hit the notification button. Then you're getting back into their mindset, more regularly. I would hope that we do the same thing with podcasts. I mean, that we really understand, for this particular audience, this is the type of thing they want. So let's build our programming around that, versus it just being, " We want to talk to this executive today and he's going to share his point of view and it might be a good conversation. It might not. But we're not really sure yet.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Super important. Okay. One more question, basically to gate or not to gate? Where are we at now? Do you believe the B2B content marketing teams should continue to prioritize? I think keyword there is prioritize, lead generation by using gated content that requires the audience to share content info before reading, or do you consider this as an outdated content experience? I'm guessing it won't be a red light, green light on, off, but a little bit of a mix. But I'm interested here, what are your thoughts?
Hailey Wheeler: This is a tough one because this is how we get a lot of our leads. Would I consider it outdated? Probably, but right now, with the nature of everything, everything being, I guess, digital, I mean, this is the one way that we are able to get leads. We do this with our webinars, but we don't do it for example, with our podcasts. We do it for some pages on cat. com, but we don't do it for others. That's a difficult one because, our upper management really wants to, that is something that they prioritize so much, is how many leads can we get? How many emails can we send out to these leads? How many sales can we get from these leads? We are so lead- focused. And yes, I think to a certain extent it is outdated, but I think it's going to require a lot of data and a lot of... Or yeah, I mean really a lot of data to back up, maybe why we shouldn't be doing so much of this capturing leads through all of the different content that we push out. That's a tough one. That's something that we'll have to figure out within the next coming years, what makes the most sense? Or how can we get leads other ways, or how can we make sales other ways? It's definitely something that we're very much figuring out and that we'll probably have to have a lot of discussions on too.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah. I think my answer is, it depends. I think we're going through an exercise right now on the performance marketing side of things. So I'm more on the market relevance brand side, but performance marketing is doing a massive overhaul of their approach to gating, in this quarter. I think part of the issue is that, we over- gate. It's like, can we gate this? Sure. Gate it. And it becomes this really bad poor experience for the audiences that are getting there. Right? So I think just, it depends. One dependency would be, how strong is your brand? If your brand is having a relevance issue, then I want the person to get access to the content as easily as possible, so they consume it. I don't want to drive them into something that asks them for 10, 15 lines of data, so that they can have access to a white paper. I'd rather then read the white paper and think IBM is smart and therefore we built the brand. So, we just have to be more intentional about the use of it. Then there are going to be things that absolutely you should gate that, maybe the value is super high or it's a really compelling piece of content or piece of research. Then it's worth the ask. But the other thing I think too, is how hard is it to get through the gate? How much are you asking for? Are we asking them for their phone number and email? Are we asking them for the names of their kids and what flavor ice cream they like most? I mean, we ask so many questions in that experience sometimes, that is just... I just think it's rude. So it's just figuring it out and finding the right places to apply that very important tactic in a way that benefits us, but also benefits the customer.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So the big takeaway here is ask for favorite ice cream flavor or names of the children.
Stephen Hunton: I mean, if you know their favorite ice cream-
Lindsay Tjepkema: crosstalk.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah, if you know their favorite ice cream flavor, then all of a sudden you can personalize content.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. That comes back to knowing your audience, comes back to knowing what the value is of each piece that you're putting out there, and it comes back to how you're going to use the information about their favorite ice cream flavor.
Stephen Hunton: Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Mine is Ben& Jerry's Non- Dairy P. B. & Cookies, in case.
Stephen Hunton: Cherry Garcia.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's so good. Okay. So now that we know that, thank you both. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. We've talked a lot longer, but we've already been chatting for an hour, so we'll let you go get some water and get about your day. Thanks for being part of today. We appreciate you, both. Stephen Hunton, Hailey, thank you.
Stephen Hunton: Thanks so much.
Hailey Wheeler: Thank you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's our show. Thanks so much for being a part of it and to learn more about the new content marketing strategies that Stephen and Hailey are working on, be sure to visit ibm.com and to check out any of the shows in their extensive library. Also, take a gander at Caterpillar. com and check out their shows Beyond the Iron: The Caterpillar Podcast and more. To learn about how Casted can help you, visit casted. us, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and to watch more shows like this and be the first to get all things amplified marketing, B2B, podcasting, and more. Thanks for being in a part of our show.
As a VP and Social Discipline Leader at IBM, Stephen Hunton is all about understanding what his audience wants: Is it a product demonstration? A topic they need to get educated about? Or do they just want to be fascinated by a new look at something or a deep dive into an innovation?
Likewise, Hailey Wheeler, Services Marketing Communications Consultant at Caterpillar, is also building relationships with the brand’s varied audiences using content from print to podcasting and all the channels in between.
In this special live panel from our AMPLIFY event, Stephen and Hailey discuss how Amplified Marketing allows them to reach more people with less-frequent-yet-higher-quality audio and video content.