Open Your Mind appearing behind torn brown paper.

If you’re based in the Northeast like myself, that means you’re preparing for even more extremely cold weather this weekend (let’s get that early spring happening already!)

In the meantime, I’ll continue offering piping hot doses of marketing inspiration to keep things warm and flowing. This weekend I’m excited to feature an interview I conducted with Carrie Majewski, director of content marketing and brand strategy at RI-based IT services company Atrion.

Considering our busy and sometimes chaotic schedules, I can’t help but think of a piece of Carrieadvice offered by Majewski: slow down. Having said that, sit back, relax and read on to hear Majewski’s thoughts about everything from website innovation to the unparalleled power of words to why Coca-Cola will always be better than Pepsi.

Q: Please describe your current role and chief responsibilities. What does an average day at work look like for you?

A: In my role, I am responsible for conceptualizing and executing a best-of-breed integrated marketing and branding strategy that will further propel Atrion towards its journey to become a top 1 percent organization. An average day for me includes a large swath of tasks from overseeing our marketing department to identifying quarterly and yearly marketing campaigns to crafting compelling content for our online platforms that moves existing and prospective clients closer to a point of purchase. One of the many facets that makes my job so enjoyable is that no two days are every exactly alike though they all center around my passions of communicating, executing and storytelling.

Q: What content marketing challenges do businesses struggle with today and why?

A: Today’s brands struggle with the notion of integrated marketing. They fail to see that some of the strongest content marketing vehicles (e.g. blogging, social media, email marketing, etc.) become even more powerful when married with complementary tactics. Today’s marketers still view these vehicles in silos and, as a result, hamper their ability to truly make impact. If leaders can see that the unification of these vehicles is possible, brands will enjoy a heightened level of brand consistency, awareness and sales success.

Q: Is there a content marketing success story—or a specific brand—that has left an impact on you? Why?

A: Those who know me know that I will always choose Coca-Cola when asked this question. Aside from loving the product (is there any beverage that is truly more refreshing?!), I think Coca-Cola launches some of the most inventive marketing campaigns of all time. In 2013, the brand launched an amazing prom campaign posting a photo from an ‘80s prom. The caption read: “Fun fact: in 20 years that Coke is the only thing that won’t look outdated in your prom picture.” I loved it so much I blogged about it! Incredibly innovative! I am always eager to see what my favorite brand tackles next!

Q: What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received about marketing?

A: Wow… what a great question! I am very execution-driven—sometimes too much—so one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is “Slow down.” I tend to be so focused on crafting an action plan and problem solving that sometimes my quest to achieve can get in the way of me seeing an alternative path.

As marketers, we have to be willing to slow down—to explore a different road even after we think we’ve arrived at the solution. Many times the best marketing campaigns, slogans and strategies come from weeks—months even—of incubation, brainstorming and evolution.

Q: What’s the greatest piece of marketing advice you can give in return?

A: Put your audience first. As marketers, we can be quick to go in a direction that feels right to us. We will choose words that speak to us, designs that resonate with us… the list goes on. But many times, we are not our brand’s target audience. In other words, we can’t market based on what we like. We have to step into the mindset of our target audience.

Q: Three marketing trends you expect to see dominate 2016 and why?

A: Integrated Marketing: As an industry, we’ve made progress but we have a ways to go. 2016 will be the year that brands choose to invest in core content marketing platforms and create a cohesive strategy in which they all play.

Website Innovation: The bar is being raised. Today’s brands are investing in incredibly bleeding-edge website tactics (from hero images to scrolling numbers) to stand out. Which trailblazers will emerge in 2016? I can’t wait to see!

Marketing Automation: Because what brand can honestly survive without a demand generation strategy that is fueled with marketing automation?

Q: Three content marketing vehicles every company needs to use and why?

A: Email Marketing: By far this is the most effective means of reaching your target audience, if executed intentionally and strategically. Leverage email marketing to drive lead generation, promote brand awareness, foster intimacy with existing clients and create up- and cross-sell opportunities.

Blogging: Whether you play in the B2B or B2C sector, blogging is an incredibly powerful tool for demonstrating your subject matter expertise and striking up meaningful conversation with your audience.

Social Media: There is no greater platform to connect with industry luminaries and influencers. Utilize this platform for real-time communication and to keep your finger on the pulse with industry happenings.

Q: Why do companies need content marketing?

A: Today’s brands need to have sharpened focus around penetrating their existing accounts deeper and wider, as well as reeling in net-new business. Content marketing gives brands viable mediums for increasing sales, deepening existing relationships and augmenting brand awareness.

Words are the most powerful tool marketers have at their disposal. They can incite behavior, drive emotion and educate and inspire. The companies that figure out how to take their words and proliferate them across online channels will enjoy considerable success this year.

Want to be featured in my #weekendinspiration blog series? Comment here or e-mail me at telling me what inspirational topic you’d like to discuss!

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