Michael Brenner is a globally-recognised keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognised by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes.
How did you get to become an expert in content marketing?
My first CMO job included no budget and no team. Content marketing is what you do when you don’t have any money. I found that creating customer-focused content attracted the right kind of audience we wanted to reach. From there, we started optimizing for conversion. We didn’t call it content marketing at the time. To me it just seemed like the logical thing to do. I sort of geek out when marketing can demonstrate contribution to revenue through content marketing at higher ROI than just about everything else.
What areas of content marketing are you most passionate about?
I am most excited about the opportunity to activate employees. (Again) when you don’t have a huge budget to create original content, one of the biggest opportunities for content marketers is to create a volunteer army of contributors. Then you can tap into the rest of your employees to share the content that their colleagues created.
Second, I still think we have a long way to go on measurement. In marketing, we are good at doing stuff, we’re not so good at measuring the things we do, learning from what works and what doesn’t, and optimizing our activity. No matter what business you’re in, your customers are always searching and always sharing. So why don’t we think about Marketing as something that should be “always-on.”
Finally, I have to say AI is going to Mess. Marketing. Up. To me the greatest potential of AI is in showing marketers which crappy campaigns they should stop investing in. Content marketing is going to benefit from that. Video expertise will become more important (because video is so important to consumers), and marketing will start to be seen as a real business asset, with real value. Not just a bunch of folks creating ads.
Which content marketing influencers influence you?
- Joe Pulizzi
- Ann Handley
- Carla Johnson
- Andrew Davis
- Jason Miller
- Lee Odden
- Ardath Albee
- Jay Acunzo
- Carlos Abler
- Doug Kessler
- Todd Wheatland
- Ian Cleary
- Andy Crestodina
- Amanda Todorovich
Oh crap, I’m gonna run out of space…and get into trouble. If you’re on this list, you influence me
Outside of content marketing who else influences you?
- Avinash Kaushik. Because he’s brilliant about analytics, marketing, AI and because he’s an amazing writer
- Simon Sinek. Not just because of his brilliant golden circle and the power of why, but also because I love how easy he makes thoughtful look
- Charles Duhigg, Smarter, Better, Faster is just so good.
- Pixar Movies: you can teach anyone how to be a human and connect with people with Pixar examples.
Which brands or products stand out for you in content marketing?
- Wistia, great example of video content, about how to create great video, from a video technology company. Very meta!
- Casper’s Van Winkles: I love how it shows that you can take the interests of your audience further than you think.
- L’Oreal Makeup.com for linking to their competitors. When you make it all about your customers, you find yourself in surprising territory
If a brand wanted to work with you, what offline / online activities would you be most interested in?
My main focus is on speaking, helping companies define their content marketing strategy and roadmaps, and written or video content development. But it all starts with culture and commitment before content. I like helping brands to completely transform the way they think about marketing and activate their whole company to reach customers.