CIC Snapshot: Telling Your Story to a Market That's Tired of Listening

With so many new ways to reach educators, publishers are actually overwhelming their customers, said Jim McVety, Principal of First Step Advisors, at the 2015 Content in Context conference. Speaking at the session Telling Your Story to a Market That’s Tired of Listening, McVety talked about audience fatigue and why one of the best strategies is to have your customers tell your story for you.


  • According to an MDR study, email open and click-through rates in the education community are trending down. In addition, McVety has noted that tradeshows are trending empty with not as many educators walking exhibit floors.
  • McVety says part of this is due to audience fatigue. 
    • There are a lot of publishers trying to get educators’ attention (3,000-5,000). 
    • We are making a lot of noise—soft estimate of 500,000,000+ emails.
    • We tend to sound alike in our marketing messages.
  • What publishers need to do is be able to tell their story—and not just the CEOs and salespeople, but everyone in the company. If all employees can’t easily complete three statements (We are… We offer… We’re important...) then the company needs to work on reinforcing their story within the business. Unfortunately, companies often spend a lot of time on creating a style guide for a logo and branding, but rarely do they have a story guide.
  • Once you understand your story, you need to challenge your staff to answer: Why us? That will help you define your message for standing out among the marketing noise.

After all employees understand and can easily share your message you then need to map your message to the different stakeholders. While not all of them share purchasing power, your goal should be to make advocates of as many stakeholders in the system as possible. Their input and influence could be the difference in getting and retaining customers.


Content in Context