Sonja Jefferson’s masterclass – Why does the world need a business like yours?
Sonja got us started by making us think back and reflect on yesterday’s lessons. She asked „What ideas did you take away from the conference yesterday? What will you do differently in your work as a result?” Now that’s a tough question, isn’t it? The people in the room were diverse and so were their takeaways from the conference. Somebody remembered Sonja’s advice from yesterday to interview at least one customer every week. This gave her a cue to emphasize again how important this is for a business. Don’t be afraid to ask clients for their feedback; they are happy to be asked. Later on, we discussed some of the questions we could use in this process.
Just think about how often you are asked for your feedback as a customer. Not too often, right? But do you remember how it made you feel when you were asked? Probably pretty good and happy to share your thoughts on the experience you had with that company. How about if you were even thanked for your valuable contribution? That is next-level customer care. „Care” being the key ingredient. As Sonja said at the conference: „Love your customers and your craft”.
Next up, Sonja presented us her famous Content Marketing Map and we each tried to identify where we are on that map. Everybody wants to get to Bountiful Bay, drinking tequillas on the beach, knowing people love their content marketing, right? Who knew you can drown in Bountiful Bay, as one of the participants said about their content marketing state of affairs. 😊
According to Sonja’s research, most companies are in Foggy Bottom, meaning they have all the good intentions but just don’t know what to say or why they’re doing it. Good news! The „why” question is the answer to the „what” question. Referencing Simon Sinek’s TED talk and his book „Start with why”, Sonja explained that diging deep into the „why we’re doing it” question will make things less foggy. Once we have the answer to this question, our job is to communicate it. Just think about it: how many companies communicate what they’re doing? Everybody, right? But very few communicate WHY they’re doing it.
Sonja showed us some examples of companies that communicate why they’re doing what they’re doing. These are the companies that are winning the inbound marketing game. They get leads every day from their content marketing efforts. That’s because they took the time to understand their customers and give them the content they need. That’s knowing why you’re doing it.
One of these companies is HSBC. They know that a big chunk of their customers are expats. So they sat them down and found out what their challenges were. They then created this whole universe that is the Expat Explorer program, where they give out valuable (or rather invaluable) information to people who are planning to go work abroad. Every year, they run the Expat Explorer survey, to compare the overall rankings of the best countries and territories to live in as an expat. So if you’re an expat or planning to become one, you’re very linkely you’d bump into their Explorer website while doing your research online. And then, come time to choose your bank, which bank name would you have top of mind? Isn’t it the one who selflessly gave you all those resources to help you out?
Or the case of the Romanian unicorn UiPath, who has grown from 12 people back in 2013 to 1700 people today because they put their customers’ needs above all else. Here’s what Mina Deckard from their content team says: „Every piece of content we share is informed by the realities of our customers, our prospects and the world out there. Their challenges, their problems, their experience of RPA, the needs of their businesses. Our content has helped us grow at incredible speed.”
Of the lesson we can take from Hiut Denim, a British company whose owner took it upon himself to revive a small town’s jeans making tradition. But his „coffee budget was bigger than his advertising budget”, so only through content he managed to create a brand that people love. Check out their Medium blog.
We can do it too. Sonja gave us her valuable content strategy process:
- Be clear on your goals
- Know your business
- Know your customers
- Find your story
Once you have these, you’ve reached your content sweet spot & vision, the heart of your valuable content strategy. This is where you start on the second leg on your journey:
- Content commitment & plan
- Platform & tools
- Organize – people & process
There are lots of things you can do but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to do them all. You can choose one thing and do it very well, just like HSBC does with their Expat Explorer. But everything starts with knowing your business and customers. Sonja gave us some interesting questions to ask ourselves in this process. When asked „if you could choose just one, what would it be?” she said „Why does the world need a business like yours?”.
As she said at the beginning of the masterclass, we can learn as much from her as from one another. That’s why she made us think of multiple questions throughout the workshop and discuss among ourselves the answers. We want to leave you with just one question to ponder about: Why do you want to change and how do you know when you’ve got there?
See you next year!