Over the past three years, content marketing at Macy’s has been growing at a fast clip, with a new Facebook presence in 2009 and the launch of mBLOG in 2011, not to mention the integration of Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. Spearheading that growth is Jennifer Kasper, group vice president for digital media and multicultural marketing.
With mBLOG garnering Macy’s a spot on our Top Brands to Watch in 2012 list, we recently caught up with Kasper to learn more about the company’s approach to content marketing and the values that are spurring its success.
We focus our attention on engagement, first and foremost. As we’ve grown, we’ve shifted our focus from how many fans we have to the quality of conversations. This means we look at how many comments and likes we get, what types of content generate the most interest, what content goes viral, what videos have been shared or viewed the most. We’re launching forums in the mBLOG and have done product giveaways in beauty—all to create engagement with our brand. While we do look at who is reading which content and what kind of traffic it gets, the engagement is a larger piece of our focus.
We started asking the community—Facebook fans and mBLOG readers—what they’re interested in hearing about. And when we took their feedback to heart, we saw much greater action and sharing. On Facebook, we started out with the goal of creating conversations above and beyond sales, promos, and offers. We thought that we were communicating sales and promos thoroughly through other channels. But we asked them what they wanted and the resounding response was “We want coupons and offers!” So now we incorporate that information on Facebook through their new offers product.
Our content marketing is focused on storytelling, the stories only Macy’s can provide, like covering the Thanksgiving Day Parade in a way only we can, or focusing on our exclusive designers. For example, our Culinary Council had previously been expressed through in-store cooking demonstrations; now, we’re bringing the chefs’ points of view to life in written or video form.
We’ve had great success in staying true to what our customers know and love about our brand. When we tap into their logical understanding of Macy’s, the content we build just reinforces that brand. Our whole social ecosystem reinforces the parts of our brand that customers are excited about and that distinguish us from our competitors.
For content creation on a variety of platforms, we leverage all the teams within Macy’s. We lean on our merchandise marketing partners to understand product- and sales-promo content needs. We also use the media relations, cause marketing, and special events team to develop content around things like the Believe Campaign or Go Red with the American Heart Association. Then there are the designers we work with, celebrities we work with, bloggers out in the field talking to makeup artists, vendor partners, etcetera, covering this content in a unique way.
We have a well-established process for routing content, but we want it to be as authentic as possible, as short as possible. We plan our calendar and run a process that is a couple weeks out in terms of content publishing, but we want to stay as nimble as we can. When Elizabeth Taylor died last year, we wanted to express our sympathies because we had a long-standing relationship with her. Our flexible process allowed us the freedom to remember her immediately on Facebook.
There’s enormous value in every asset. Images are just as powerful as words. We’ve had tremendous success posting our TV spots on YouTube and also sharing spontaneous flash mob videos from our flagship stores during the holidays. Sometimes it’s hard to predict what will go viral, so leverage all your assets.