ExOfficio, a leading travel apparel manufacturer, wanted to increase the amount of content they were producing in order to engage more regularly with their customers. They turned to RootsRated Media and our Compass platform to source and activate content to engage readers and convert readers to customers.
Speed and Time Savings: Leveraging Tech and Expertise
Amy Brown, Marketing Manager at ExOfficio, sets the stage: "Prior to engaging with RootsRated Media, we were publishing infrequently. I can’t imagine it was zero, but it probably would have been less than ten articles a year. Now with Compass, we’re posting multiple times a week, and we always have something new to talk about." The brand now weaves storytelling into all aspects of the commerce experience, from the homepage to emails.
Brown points to the expertise of the RootsRated Media team as a differentiator, saying that "having well-educated experts helping us develop and execute on stories and then pushing to specific targeted audiences that are relevant to both our brand and the piece of content makes all the difference. We’ve gained exposure and increased our awareness significantly."
For many of our clients, one major factor in ROI calculations has been the time saved by the marketing team in creating and managing content. For ExOfficio, Brown estimates they would spend "hours coordinating with and finding ambassadors or influencers, proposing ideas and working on one off projects to develop stories that both parties wanted."
And then to manage those relationships, she adds, "you’re spending so much time administering the tasks to execute on the project that you don’t have the freedom to brainstorm or be as strategic as you could be. Because you’re too busy dotting i’s and crossing t’s and just trying to get the work done, instead of focusing on the questions that matter: ‘Am I doing good work?’ or ‘Is this getting us anywhere?’ and ‘How can we be doing this better?’"
For marketers to scale their pubishing and engage in content marketing efficiently, they need to leverage technology. The RootsRated Compass platform eliminates much of the manual work associated with publishing content frequently.
Elevating the Day-to-Day: Shifting from Tasks to Strategy
One of the common refrains we hear from marketing teams across industries is that marketers today find themselves so completely consumed with administrative tasks that they lack the time and proper frame of mind to focus on strategy.
Using RootsRated Compass saves marketers time and allows a shift from task-management into serious strategy. We leverage both technology and expertise to elevate a customer’s day-to-day workload from an endless list of production tasks to the higher-level and more interesting work of actually marketing through content strategy.
"Marketers didn’t get into their profession in order to become newspaper reporters or publishers," explains RootsRated Media CEO and Founder, Fynn Glover, “but increasingly, marketers are forced to think and behave as publishers in order to cut through the clutter online. We make content marketing easier, and keep marketers focused on the fun parts of marketing: strategy, idea generation, connecting meaningfully with an audience, and of course, actually marketing their product or service.”
Working with a professional editorial staff and turning content production as well as promotion over to RootsRated Media has completely changed the day-to-day requirements for content production at ExOfficio.
Brown explains: "Now, my whole responsibility with this program, in creating content and being the manager for those stories, is all strategy and ideation and brainstorming. What do we want to be doing? What’s working? What isn’t working? I spend next to no time actually executing on the content. It just happens. This would not have been the case. It would have been the exact opposite, actually, if we were doing this on our own."
"I spend next to no time actually executing on the content. With RootsRated Compass, it just happens."
Working with our editors has been another advantage for Brown: "I appreciate the third party perspective. You know how easily it is when you work with, when you work inside a company, when you work internally to get caught up in your own stuff and the way that you're saying things. And you can forget to check if this is relevant or meaningful to your customer. You, sort of project and say to yourself, ‘well of course it is relevant. They loved this stuff’, but when I get to work with Blane [Bachelor, RootsRated Media editor], she keeps me honest, in that regard."
"She challenges me and also brings fresh ideas to the table. You know you run out of them. How many different ways can you talk about travel? And if that's all you do, with every channel you manage, it's nice to have a fresh perspective to sit down with, from someone who works in the content marketing space. So she's aware and she's current. She has great resources for new ideas, that I wouldn't have, because I don't exist in that writing space in the same way that she does. Yeah, it's really valuable."
Reporting on Results: Audience Measurement and Data Analysis
We optimize the path to success with content along the lines of three main activities that we take to be critical to doing content marketing well: Source, Distribute, Measure. With sourcing and distribution handled, ExOfficio also needs to measure results and understand the data produced by the audience actually consuming the content. With a built-in measurement dashboard, ExOfficio’s marketing team can easily check in on performance at any time inside their Compass account. In addition, the platform surfaces insights and reports quarterly on overall trends, offering the chance to benchmark performance against the larger aggregated results from their entire network.
"Analytics are your compass into the future of what you're doing," Brown says. “You guys do a nice job of reporting on a wide variety of metrics. And anytime that I've ever asked for something specific that may not have been shown initially, you follow up really quickly with that information. And not only the details, but why it's meaningful and applicable and give your own advice, or put in your expertise about things that maybe I wouldn't have considered.”
Why Content? "People Want Brands to Have a Soul"
After talking with Brown for nearly an hour, we had to ask: "Why does a brand like ExOfficio want to engage in content marketing in the first place?" While the answer may seem obvious, Brown had a poetic answer, and it points to the shift in mindset away from things and toward experiences.
"People want brands to have a soul, and in order to have a soul, you have to say: ‘This is what I stand for. This is who I am and what I believe in and what we’re all about.’ Content marketing is a beautiful way to do that.’"
Amy Brown, Marketing Manager, ExOfficio
"You can talk about who you are and what you do. And not only those things, but also what you believe in and what you find valuable. And telling stories is interesting for your consumer. They want to read about that. I mean people are looking for that. If you’re not doing it, then you become irrelevant. You become stale. You become just another brand on the market."
The stakes are high for any marketer, but Brown cites the especially competitive nature of the outdoor apparel market and an additional driver of urgency around doing content marketing well: "When you’re playing in the apparel space, especially the outdoor apparel space, there are a strong set of competitors and your advantage is having that voice, having that soul. Content marketing is essentially your journal. If you want to compete and attract people, you’ve got to lay yourself out there and say, ‘this is who we are.’ In hopes of attracting like-minded individuals and resonating with somebody. You have to differentiate yourself from everybody else."
"You have to be authentic and you have to have a heart. And how else do you do that, than by sharing your story...by writing about it and putting it out there for people to find it? Granted, you compliment that with what you're doing in social media. But the content stories are the foundation of what you do in social. They give you the legs to run with ideas and stories and tagging back to that. And referring to it."
"Because if somebody sees the neat thing that you're doing on Instagram, they're going to want to do a deep dive with your brand. And get to know who you are. And how are they going to do that? They're going to figure out what is the type of stuff that you're putting into the universe. What are you, who are you saying who you are? I mean everybody goes to the blog."
"If a brand doesn't have a blog, you wonder what they're hiding. If they're not putting it out there, then they're hiding something. And there are too many people today who are putting it all out there. So if you're not, you will be disregarded."
For any marketer, the threat of being ignored in a crowded market is all too real. Savvy marketers have to find solutions to leverage their time and make content marketing easier and more effective, or they’re likely to see their brand fade into irrelevance.