LLL visited recently with Shana Steigerwalt, the dynamic owner and founder of Modern Driven Media in Philadelphia, a content marketing and CRM implementation firm.
Like more than a few entrepreneurs, Shana’s journey in the agency world started around 2015, when she was approached by people in her network seeking her assistance to vet potential content marketing agencies. Shana offered to handle their projects herself, and Modern Driven Media was born. The firm’s growth is made evident by its own designation in the Philadelphia 100 (Greater Philadelphia’s 100 fastest growing firms) in 2021.
Modern Driven Media is guided by the principle that strategy comes together at the intersection of creativity and data. Accordingly, it recently divided into two primary elements: a creative division (social media, content marketing) and technical division (CRM implementation, marketing and sales automation).
Shana stresses the importance of proper and consistent measurement in successful content and digital marketing. One of the great advantages of the medium is the ability it affords the marketer to react to relevant data points in real time. Based on that information, the marketer can double down, adjust or take whatever adjustments are needed almost immediately. This, of course, is in stark contrast to some of the more slower developing marketing channels or strategies.
That said, Shana agreed with us that one of those slower developing strategies, thought leadership through content, is becoming a critical component to the most complete marketing approach. She emphasized the importance of thought leadership as a human connection. In reality, there is no “B2B” or “B2C” in marketing, but human to human.
Of course, one of the major challenges to any content marketing campaign is the length of time it can take to achieve a significant ROI. While that ROI is often powerful, senior leadership—especially in the age of instant metrics in digital marketing—can often grow impatient after weeks or even months with minimal gains.
Shana, however, points out that thought leadership and content marketing take time and energy to create, and repeated exposure to a target audience to build a relationship. This is where the value of the strategy becomes apparent. Instead, it’s a momentum building process, akin to reputation building. The value comes in the resulting relationship, which can then open the door to sales. All of this, however, can take time and patience.
Good content, Shana observed, starts with a solid understanding of the target audience: what interests them; what challenges they face…even what entertains them. Authenticity is critical and it’s the content itself, rather than the quality of video or window dressing, that brings the audience back for more.
Shana also cautioned that some marketers attempt to be all things to all people and, in so doing, fall short. There’s no need to be on every social media platform. Instead, she advised, pick something you do well and double down on it. “Don’t waste your time where your audience isn’t.”
Finally, we discussed the traditional challenge of keeping a business’ sales and marketing teams on the same page. Far too often, these two groups of what should be aligned professionals find themselves at odds or working parallel or even conflicting paths. Shana pointed out that much of this arises from the organizational division of the two functions itself. She noted the rise of hybrid or mixed teams, such as “Revenue Ops” divisions. With unified goals and team planning and metrics/goals, the best sales organizations are finding far fewer of these traditional difficulties.