Leading a data-driven content marketing journey with Vitor Peçanha

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No matter how dramatically the digital space has evolved over the past decade, one thing remains the same: a CMO wears different hats.

Case in point: Victor Peçanha, co-founder and CMO of Rock Content, a world-renowned leader in content marketing.

Using old doors from a country house of its co-founder’s father, Peçanha built the first tables for the startup in 2013.

The big (and small) decisions that shaped Rock Content into what it is today were made around these tables. And the marketing manager was at the heart of every decision-making process, driving growth and purpose through creativity and analysis.

Today, his role as CMO has never been more dynamic and influential.

What does it take for today’s CMOs to become high-impact leaders who drive their organizations to success?

Peçanha has a few viewpoints to share.

Sharing and achieving a common goal

What was your vision when you started your role as CMO?

Victor Pecanha: “As the founder of a marketing startup, all I had at the start was an idea and a plan to execute it.

We founded Rock Content because we believe there’s a better way to market using content to engage and delight your audience and generate business.

When we started in 2013, content marketing was not well known in the country, and our vision was to become the biggest content marketing company in the world, starting by introducing it to Brazil.

How do you ensure your marketing goals are aligned across the organization?

vice-president: “At Rock Content, we have implemented a structured management model.

Every six months, the management team reviews company goals – like revenue, net revenue retention (NRR), etc. – to create the company’s overall business plan.

Then we have a model of cascading responsibilities and key performance indicators (KPIs) that start at the top and end at the individual contributor, where all the steps are connected to each other.

One consequence is that many department goals are usually quite close to revenue, sometimes even shared with the sales team.

My individual goal, for example, is the company’s revenue goal, not a marketing-specific metric. »

Invest in people and training

How has your philosophy on building and managing a team evolved over time?

vice-president: “I’ve learned a few things over the past 10 years, but I believe the most important is that a great team member who delivers consistent quality and goes the ‘extra mile’ is 10 times worth someone who just does what it’s told, even correctly.

That courage some people made all the difference, and now I’m focusing my hiring on that soft skill more than anything.

Of course, if it’s a higher position, experience will play a big role, but I’d rather train a passionate junior employee than deal with a proper senior manager.

In a 2022 Gartner survey, lack of internal resources emerged as the biggest shortcoming in executing content strategies. Faced with this challenge, how do you attract and retain the best marketing talent?

vice-president: “We’ve built a huge brand in digital marketing over the past 10 years. We’re seen as innovators and trendsetters in the space, especially in Brazil, so we don’t have a problem… marketing talent attraction.

Also, one of our “hacks” is our learning center, Rock University, which has already passed the 500,000 student mark because we basically educate the market for our needs.

Retention is a different game because we need to keep them engaged and excited about the company, so we invest heavily in training and other initiatives.

I prefer to have smaller teams, so that each member has more responsibility and recognition. As we outsource our content creation to our own network of freelancers, it is easier to have a scalable team.

Leader in a data-driven culture

What kind of content marketing metrics do you focus on and how do you determine if you have the right strategy in place?

vice-president: “My team’s main metric today is Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), so I need to generate not just volume but high-quality leads for the sales team.

It’s easy to tell whether or not we’re doing well with this metric, and we constantly monitor SQL sources based on how much pipeline each source generates.

So, for example, if a referral generates 1 million in the pipeline and costs me 100,000, I increase the investment there.

They say the role of the CMO is largely driven by analysis rather than instinctive decisions. Do you agree? How do you use data in your daily work?

vice-president: “I agree, and most of my decisions are based on data.

I constantly check the number of SQL queries generated by my team, the cost per dollar generated in the pipeline, and the performance of channels and campaigns. But data alone is not enough to make informed decisions, and that’s where instinct and experience come into play.

A CMO needs to look at the data and see a story, understand it, and write their next chapter.

Of course, not all initiatives are heavily data-driven. It’s always important to do things that aren’t directly measurable, like brand awareness campaigns, but those are a small part of my investment and time.

What skills do CMOs need that aren’t getting enough attention?

vice-president: “Being able to create and tell a great story, both internally and externally, is one of the greatest skills a CMO must have, and it doesn’t get enough attention in a world focused on the data.

Data is key, of course, but if you can’t turn it into a strategy that not only brings results, but also gets people excited, you’ll struggle to be a great CMO and leader.

If you had to sum up the value of a content marketer, what would it be?

vice-president: “A great content marketer can create pieces of content that seem simple and easy to write, but behind them there’s always strategy, a lot of research, and skills that are invisible to the end user, and that’s it. that’s how it should be.”

What do you think will be the future of content marketing? The role of AI in content strategy?

vice-president: “If all goes well, the term content marketing will no longer be used in the near future.

Content strategies will be so integrated within the marketing department that it will no longer make sense to call it content marketing, in the same way that we no longer say Web 2.0.

Good CMOs and marketers will understand that the customer follows a journey where everything is contained (even PPC, offline media, etc.), and it makes no sense to treat them separately. »

Check out this SEJShow episode with Loren Baker, where Peçanha talks more about what lies ahead in content marketing.

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Vitor Peçanha

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