Do you worry about FDA regulations for social media? How about navigating your next idea through a grueling content approval process? Do you stress each night on how you can solve claims annotations across integrated marketing campaigns?
For those unfamiliar with all that jargon above, I’m referring to situations that arise when carrying modern marketing practices into the uncharted, turbulent waters of highly regulated industries like life sciences, medical, and manufacturing. Often times these industries’ marketing campaigns and content are labeled a bit “boring.”
The truth is, sometimes our marketing is a bit boring.
I’m a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom about a pair of physicists and their scientist friends. In an episode called “The Classified Materials Turbulence,” Howard realizes a crucial flaw in the toilet he designed for the International Space Station. He recruits his friends to find a solution using only the tools that are actually available on the space station.
Most modern marketers share the same goal of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content that attracts and engages our respective audiences. However, some of us—like Howard—are trying to accomplish this with limited tools in a zero gravity environment. Something as simple as an email, blog post, or tweet can be as complicated as getting a toilet to reliably flush in outer space.
Marketers in these types of industries don’t have the liberty to work with unobstructed creativity or deftly employ humor to gain influence. They often have detailed, heavy restrictions on what they can and cannot say in marketing messaging.
If I’m describing you and your marketing team—take heart, you are not alone. I’ve been there, too, and below have provided a few tips on overcoming these challenges. And in the spirit of The Big Bang Theory—things are going to get a little nerdy.
Tip: Just breathe.
Joe Pulizzi opened the February issue of Chief Content Officer (CCO) magazine with a dare to focus your content marketing on a single niche of a single channel. This should be a breathe of fresh air for anyone doing content marketing and, actually, the math behind it makes a lot of sense. Now I’m not a oxygen expert, but anyone who lives in or visits Colorado (where I live) understands that air “feels” thinner here and knows it is harder to breathe.
Where things get a little nerdy: The funny thing is that oxygen is actually a constant 21%, it’s the decrease in air pressure that limits our lungs ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. The simplest math problem to solve for the inspired oxygen pressure at altitude is .21 x (PB-6.3) with .21 being the percentage of oxygen and PB being the atmospheric pressure. As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure decreases which decreases the inspired oxygen pressure and therefore our ability to properly breath. In Boulder, that’s only 3.5% less available oxygen than sea level, in Aspen 5.5% less and on Pike’s Peak it’s almost 9% less.
Where things make sense: How does this prove Joe’s challenge? I think Joe is trying to say that we all tend to play out a similar scenario: as we increase content channels, we decrease content concentration which lowers the overall ability of our content to impact our business. So take a deep breath, and take Joe up on his challenge. You might be surprised at how well you can breathe.
Tip: Know the physics of your company/industry.
Every company in every industry has their own unique set of forces that affect marketing capabilities. Those forces can range from the skill sets of your team and technology to budget limitations and regulatory restrictions.
Where things get a little nerdy: Ignoring the reality of these forces is like trying to fly—you’re either never going to get off the ground, or you just jumped off a cliff without wings or a parachute. The more you understand these forces that we fight against, the more you are able to find solutions. By understanding the laws of physics, humans have figured out how to jump off a cliff with a wing suit or a hang glider, fly a plane up high enough to jump out with a parachute, or put a man on the moon.
Where things make sense: The same can be true for your content marketing aspirations if you take the time to understand your environment. The exciting thing is that no matter where you are in your content marketing evolution there will always be more challenges to overcome. That’s why we all have the best jobs in the world.
Whenever you get frustrated, just think about how you wouldn’t have this new challenge if you hadn’t overcome 20 others. It’s kind of like having to solve for a toilet on the international space station—if you weren’t in space it wouldn’t be a problem.