While innovation and thinking outside the box are important for success in marketing, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. By studying the best content marketing case studies, we can learn the most effective techniques and take inspiration to use in our own content marketing strategy.
- There’s a lot to learn from studying the most successful content marketing examples.
- It’s not always easy to get executive buy-in for content marketing.
- You can usually prove the content marketing business case with a small budget and a limited timeframe.
Consulting company Capgemini had a problem. The awareness of their brand was low and they needed to boost the reputation of their consultants. Despite working with some of the world’s top brands including KPMG, Deloitte, and Accenture, revenue growth was slow and they were falling behind their competitors.
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michael brenner and liz bedor
The executives at Capgemini believed the answer to their lackluster marketing efforts was to invest in paid advertising in golf magazines and airports, and even to sponsor a professional golfer. They’d seen their competitors carry out this strategy with apparent success.
However, digital advertising and brand campaign manager Rena Patel was of a different opinion. She’d tried this type of expensive marketing before and had seen disappointing results. Rena had also realized the brand was not engaging with its customers and that this proposed strategy was even further from the interests of their customers. Capgemini customers were not interested in golf, and most didn’t even know the names of the famous golfers that the brand executives wanted to sponsor.
Instead, she set out a content marketing plan that would engage Capgemini with its target audience at a much lower budget. She set the goal of attracting nearly a million new visitors to the website and put her own reputation and job on the line by taking full responsibility for the strategy.
The content marketing strategy for Capgemini revolved around a storytelling website. This site answered some of the real questions and challenges of the brand’s customers on topics such as Big Data and the Cloud.
After one year, the site achieved Rena’s original goal of delivering nearly one million new visitors to the brand website. They also attracted over 100,000 new followers to their LinkedIn page, as well as 1.8 million shares of their content. In fact, this content marketing strategy was responsible for generating nearly $1 million in sales in just the first year, and an even more impressive $5 million in its second year. It’s now estimated that the content marketing program pioneered by Rena is brining in the company a staggering $20 million a year.
You can read more about Rena’s content marketing strategy for Capgemini in the book Mean People Suck.
Cleveland Clinic is dedicated to its core value of putting “Patients First.” The clinic wanted every one of its 40,000 employees (who it calls “caregivers”) to fully embrace this value, and so its in-house media production team and Patient Experience office created a video entitled “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care.”
This three-minute video was distributed internally and set out to pose the question, “If you could stand in someone else’s shoes, would you treat them differently?” This was achieved through a series of emotional vignettes exploring the stories of a varied set of characters including a family with a 19-year-old son on life support, a woman who has just received a devastating diagnosis, and a young girl who is visiting her father for the final time.
This powerful video was certainly successful in its mission to express the power of empathy and how if you stand in someone else’s shoes, you will treat them how they deserve to be treated.
While the video was originally intended for internal content marketing purposes only, the content marketing team quickly realized the potential value of releasing it publicly. They posted it across several social media channels and on Cleveland Clinic’s own blog, Health Essentials.
Just as it achieved amazing success internally, the video went viral and was widely shared and circulated in healthcare circles and beyond. It has since amassed a total of four million views on YouTube alone.
The Health Essentials blog also achieved massive growth and is now the most visited hospital blog in the US, with over six million people visiting it each month. The blog sets out to answer a wide range of health questions including “Is there really such a thing as a ‘broken heart’”, and “What does the color of your urine say about you?”
The content marketing team, headed up by Amanda Todorovich carries out a strategy that includes in-depth audience research and data analysis to optimize their content right down to the choice of words such as “urine” or “pee”!
The Cleveland Clinic blog is a great example of why knowing your audience and their needs is critical to content marketing success. The blog now generates enough income to cover the costs of their content production and to support the brand’s mission of providing top-quality care and education.
You can read more about Amanda and her content marketing strategy in the book Mean People Suck.
In 2011, SAP’s Co-CEO at the time, Bill McDermott, realized that the inspiring stories of innovation from SAP’s customers were not on the brand website. Instead, there was only product information.
Bill realized that SAP was missing out on the opportunity to engage its customers and prospects through inspiring content. Bill tasked me as Vice President of Content Marketing and Content Strategy, with the challenge of changing how the brand spoke to its digital audience, moving from a product-centric approach to a customer-centric approach.
I implemented a radically new strategy by launching the brand’s first content marketing site – SAP Business Innovation, with the objective of engaging with early-stage prospects through quality content. I went on to identify what I’ve now documented as “The Content Formula” – a combination of building the business case, finding the budget, and demonstrating the ROI.
After investigating web search data, I found that there was no content to meet non-product searches such as “big data.” By having no content to address the questions of early-stage prospects, SAP was missing out on capturing these potential customers. Thus, the business case was proven.
There was little to no budget available for this new content marketing strategy, but I realized the brand was spending a significant amount of money each year on advertising, with less than impressive results. I proposed that the advertising team give up half their budget so that he could build a dynamic content marketing platform to replace the original landing pages.
After a year of publishing thousands of articles on the platform, it had not only saved the advertising team half their budget for years to come, but it had also generated over 1,000 leads equating to $750,000 in revenue, and 7X ROI.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.