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Using Content to Power Business Decisions with Trade School Founder, Genna Franconi

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Genna Franconi has been in digital marketing so long, she fondly remembers the day she pushed out the first Instagram post for Barbie. But social media marketing has changed significantly since those days. These days, lone marketers aren’t the ones worried about hitting send on a post at the right time. Instead, brands now have teams of social content creators who monitor trends and leverage a brand’s voice to get personal with consumers and entice and engage them at each point of the buying journey.

“For years we have been saying that brands do not need to be investing in organic content…That makes a ton of sense. But if you’re trying to participate in a cultural conversation by throwing out content that is old school, those days are over. Now marketing is really sophisticated and marketers are using the channels to reach these audiences. We’re not screaming through a megaphone. Now we’re laser-targeting people to give them something that’s either helpful or educational within their buying path.”

Genna is the founder and managing director of Trade School, an integrated content shop that works with big brands such as Home Depot and FedEx. On this episode of Marketing Trends, she reveals just how the social media landscape has evolved from the wild wild west of marketing to an integral piece of every marketer’s toolkit. Plus, Genna touches on the evolution of influencer marketing and why it’s important that every brand and creative agency understand why and how to effectively deploy a successful influencer strategy.

Main Takeaways

  • Organic Content Sets Brands up for Success: Creative agencies need to understand that the best way to partner with brands is to not only understand the creative voice of the brand, but also the business goals the brand wants to achieve through its creative efforts. If you don’t align your creative vision with the business goals of your brand, the content you create for them won’t resonate with its consumers.
  • Content is Less About Format and More about Engagement: As the social landscape has shifted, marketers’ strategies need to pivot from thinking about what content works best for each social platform to understanding what content will get the most engagement from their consumers. This means marketers should spend less of their budget on large-scale commercials that will reach a broad audience and focus on more organic content that can be targeted to hyper-specific audiences.
  • Influencers are Now Competitors to Agencies: Many brands view influencers simply as talent that they can direct, but the reality now is that influencers must be seen as competitors to creative agencies because of the hyper-targeted audiences that each influencer possesses. The best influencer strategies allow influencers to leverage those audiences and give creative license to influencers so that the material they post is organic and  aligns with the influencer’s audience.

Key Quotes:

“For years, we have been saying that brands do not need to be investing in organic content…That makes a ton of sense. But if you’re trying to participate in a cultural conversation by throwing out content that is old school, those days are over. Now, marketing is really sophisticated and marketers are using the channels to reach these audiences. We’re not screaming through a megaphone. Now we’re laser targeting people to give them something that’s either helpful or educational within their buying path.”

“The work that we do is not for us. It’s not for our creative ego. It’s not so [Trade School] has fun things to show off. It is to drive our client’s business and to connect with consumers.”

“When we say we’re an integrated content shop, we sit at the intersection of the automation of content with the craftsmanship of creativity.”

“Marketers sometimes live in an echo chamber and we listen to our own stories and get caught up in that stuff in a way that I try to remind myself, ‘Would my friend who was not in advertising or my mom care about the Burger King wars? Do they actually think that’s funny?’”

“A lot of brands think of influencers as just as a different version of talent that they can boss around and say, ‘Here’s how we want it to look, and here’s what we want it to be.’ That’s not how it works at all. You work with influencers because they’ve created their following, they’re their own brand, their creation process is why you want to work with them.”

“I think about influencers as competitors to creative agencies, creative enterprises and content agencies, because they hold in their hands with their iPhones essentially what used to require a $30,000 camera. They can create, they’ve got editing technology, and it’s more than just the ring lights, but the democratization of content creation is no more evident anywhere then than there.”

Bio:

Genna Franconi is the co-founder and managing director at Trade School, an integrated content shop and full-service marketing production studio in Atlanta. Trade School helps clients like The Home Depot, FedEx, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Sweetwater Brewing Company scale their approach to content creation.

Genna has more than a decade of social and digital marketing experience, having overseen earned and emerging media offerings for clients across retail, QSR, CPG, auto and travel industries. She helps her clients navigate the changing landscape of social, providing strategic counsel across platforms, audience insights, content strategy and influencer marketing campaigns that maximize investment.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

Episode 228