Ahead of her presentation at the Content Marketing Summit in New York on December 11 & 12, we spoke to Kejal Macdonald, Vice President, Marketing at THINX.
Kejal has won two eating competitions (watermelon and grilled cheese) and in between meals she's helping revolutionize the world of feminine hygiene at THINX while shattering antiquated, patriarchal taboos.
After spending 10 years in ad agencies, working with clients like Anheuser-Busch, Harley-Davidson, Toyota, TOMS, Equinox and the New York Times, Kejal is using her feminist wiles to launch THINX's newest brand, Icon: pee-proof underwear for the 1 in 3 women who accidentally pee a little. It happens, and it's totally NBD.
Kejal studied Advertising at Purdue University, and has a Masters in Branding from SVA.
With GDPR coming into force next year, do you think that content marketing is now a necessity for outreach?
I think content marketing has always been a necessity for outreach. I'm no expert on all the implications of GDPR, but I actually think it's a good thing. As someone who runs a data-driven e-commerce business, I firmly believe companies should be respecting personal data and privacy, and acquiring customers on the merit of their own value, communication, and creativity.
Data is a tremendous asset to a company, but it has to be earned. A company should have to attract customers by being valuable, likeable and ethical.
There's been a bit of a power shift from the old guard of big business marketing, and now individual customers are in the driver's seat. I think that's how it should be and will be a test to see what brands survive. So yes, content marketing is one of the best ways for companies to earn and win the affection of potential customers, and have fun doing it.
How has the perception of content marketing changed in the past 5 years?
Over the past 5 years content marketing has proven itself to be an essential part of brand communication, and not just some fluffy immeasurable nice-to-have.
Content helps humanize a brand, and enables much more of a back-and-forth relationship between companies and customers. That's essential for all stages of the funnel from prospecting to retention and loyalty.
Content marketing has become ubiquitous in the past 5 years, but people also demand a higher quality because there's so much out there. When done well (and it always should be), content provides value to viewers (either information or entertainment), and the best content is welcomed into people's lives, not forced upon them.
Companies can now calculate the direct value content brings to their brands, and in my experience the ROI is tremendous. So now we know it's important, and the challenge becomes how to do it well.
With the amount of content around today, what do companies need to do to stand out?
Have a point of view. Provide value. Pay attention to what's resonating. Do more of that.
It's important to be consistent, but stay flexible and learn by doing. The best feedback loop and idea garden is the feedback, questions and insights you hear from your customers.
What is the single biggest mistake that companies make when implementing a content marketing strategy?
Navel-gazing. Make sure what you're creating adds value to your customers and viewers lives. Don't just talk to yourselves or try to tout how great you are. Consider your customer first and make sure everything you do serves them.
What can the audience expect to take away from your presentation in New York?
My presentation is one big metaphor for how to approach content creation as if you were dating your customers. It's a fool-proof test for creating content that wins their hearts. There will be plenty of puns and zero jargon. Also, I'll definitely say "vagina" at least once.
You can hear Kejal's presentation at the Content Marketing Summit in New York on December 11 & 12.