The First Thanksgiving and Plymouth by Jennie A BrownscombeWe’ve covered ironic hipster mustaches, Craigslist, and even the most daunting of subjects – dating. But, today our “What Content Marketing Can Learn From…” series is taking on the biggest of all: a federal holiday (quite a popular and controversial one at that!).

Thanksgiving offers marketing agencies some crucial lessons in content marketing. In many ways, marketing agencies are like the early Pilgrim settlers in Virginia. After just a few years in this new land (of content marketing), agencies are figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Get the formula right, and it’s a feast. Fail, and, well… your steady stream of clients is sure to dry up.

(Apologies in advance – or is it already too late? – for any gross misinterpretations of factual history. Let me have it in the comments section below!)

Lesson One: Insourcing Leads to Success

If you’ve spent any time at all on the CEM site, then you’ve probably figured out that we’re big supporters of this little idea we call “insourcing.” Really, though, it isn’t a little idea at all. It can have massive effects on your business when done properly.

Insourcing is something of a reaction to the outsourcing of the past. Rather than firing off assignments to nameless/faceless workers around the world or internet, insourcing promotes the idea of working with a different agency as if they’re an in-house team.

For example, as a marketing agency, you might hire a content writing service to take care of all your client’s writing needs. When dealing with an insource-minded writing service, you can trust that your work is being treated as if you had your own staff doing it. Plus, you shouldn’t be paying any more than what you would pay your own team!

Quite a few amicable partnerships between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans (namely Squanto and Massasoit) led to the first Thanksgiving at the Plymouth Plantation. While it would be a bit over the top to call this “insourcing,” it certainly paints a good picture of what results can come out of mutually beneficial relationships.

Lesson Two: It’s Not About The Biggest Turkey

I don’t know what goes on at your Thanksgiving table, but as for mine, I never hear anyone remark on the size of the turkey. What matters is the quality. Smoke it, roast it, deep fry it, or grill it… it doesn’t matter how much your bird weighs; what matters is how well it’s cooked.

As a marketing agency, you have an infinite number of techniques and strategies that you can employ to attain marketing success and please your clients. You might choose to focus on a dynamic blogging strategy with swoon-worthy headlines and an editorial calendar that would make The New York Times squeal with delight.

Then again, your agency’s forte could be in developing SEO strategies that skyrocket your clients to success. Check out the linked SEOmoz article from this week for a run-down on this.

Whatever it is your agency specializes in, go for it with the mentality of quality over quantity. You can’t do everything really well, but there are a few things you can nail!

Lesson Three: It’s All About Spin

Okay, I know, we’re slipping further and further from Plymouth Plantation. But, so is Thanksgiving. In 1863, Lincoln transformed this modest, religious, end-of-Harvest occurrence into a national holiday. In 1939, Macy’s founder, Fred Lazars, Jr., supposedly convinced FDR to shift Thanksgiving on the calendar so that everyone could begin advertising for Christmas a week earlier (in good conscience). And, now, in the 21st century, we have the universally loathed and adored Black Friday.

My point is this… marketing spin is everything. Say what you will about what Thanksgiving “used to be,” and what it is today. It took some clever and industrious marketers to turn it into the roaring economic profit machine that we now know it as. With all of these contemporary impressions of Thanksgiving on our minds, many of us, myself included, are hard-pressed to tell the actual story of Thanksgiving without doing a little research.

So, I’m not asking that you put a spin on Thanksgiving. We have enough of that. The question is, how will your agency put a spin on your clients? If you could use a little “spin-”spiration, I’m happy to recommend a perusal through this legendary list from Ad Age, The Top 100 Campaigns of the Century.

What goals does your agency have for clients post-Thanksgiving?