Cracking the Content Code with Mark W. Schaefer

mark w schaefer

“I’m a teacher in everything I do.” As an international speaker, author, consultant, and educator, Mark W. Schaefer does a lot of teaching. On top of that, he’ll join us in Iowa this fall as a keynote at the Social Brand Forum. I couldn’t wait to talk with Mark about his new book The Content Code, marketing curriculum, and everything in between on this week’s episode of the On Brand Podcast.

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About Mark W. Schaefer

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognized author, speaker, educator, and business consultant who blogs at {grow} – one of the top marketing blogs of the world. He teaches graduate marketing classes at Rutgers University and has written four best-selling books including The Tao of Twitter (the best-selling book on Twitter in the world) and Return On Influence, which was named one of the top business titles of the year by the American Library Association. His clients include Dell, Adidas, and the US Air Force. He has been a keynote speaker at prestigious events all over the world including SXSW, Marketing Summit Tokyo, and the Institute for International and European Affairs.

Mark is also the author the new book The Content Code and a keynote speaker at this fall’s Social Brand Forum here in Iowa.

Episode Highlights

“Teaching isn’t just spewing information.” As an educator, I couldn’t agree more with Mark here. Whether you’re consulting, speaking, teaching, or presenting, “It’s about creating something that people remember. It’s really about storytelling.”

As a couple of educators, we both had a lot to say on the state of marketing curricula today. Mark didn’t mince words — “I think it’s pathetic today in general. It’s fallen behind in a lot of ways. The single biggest shortfall is in analytics. Marketing is increasingly about math. How do we tease the truth out of big data?”

Do we focus too much on case studies? “Case studies are a double-edged sword.” Schaefer got his MBA from Claremont where he studied with the legendary Peter Drucker. When it came to the course’s Harvard cases Drucker would tell students, “Your job isn’t to come up with all of the answers. What you need are the right questions.” It’s all about discovering why something worked for a particular business.

What is the state of content today? Schaefer’s latest book The Content Code addresses this issue head on. Anyone can create content today. “We live in an age of overwhelming content density. I became obsessed with what’s next.” While anyone can create content, most are forgetting one thing — ignition. Good content isn’t just read. It must be shared.

Focus on your Alpha Audience. “We spend so much time focusing on generating massive amounts of traffic. They’re tourists!” Schaefer asserts that it’s that one percent that actually shares your content — what he calls your “Alpha Audience” — that you should be focusing on more intently.

Culture is everything. “Culture is the number one predictor of success — not budget, not resources.” Schaefer shared some work he did with Dell. Their internal social program is successful because of Michael Dell’s commitment and participation. “The person at the top gets it.” And does a program have a chance of making it without support from above? “No!”

What brand has made Mark smile lately? “So much (has made me smile) — so I’m going to give you two! First, GE. They are doing intensely amazing content reaching out to the young people they want to hire. And Denny’s — they have an amazing social media program.”

To learn more about Mark, his books, and lots of free helpful content and resources, go to Remember, every attendee at this year’s Social Brand Forum will get a copy of Mark’s latest book The Content Code. REGISTER NOW AND SAVE.

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