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‘Sex with Data’ and 10 Other Intriguing Phrases Heard at Content Marketing World

True word nerds geek out when they discover scintillating phraseology. They store up fresh words and ideas, turn them over and over inSex with Data and Other Interesting Words from Content Marketing World 2012 their minds and look for an opportunity to lay them on some unsuspecting normal person who innocently engages them in cursory conversation.

(Let me here interject an apology to Ann Handley. I promise to ‘speak human’ for the rest of this post.)

If you’re an unsuspecting normal person who also relishes a good discussion on the emerging inbound marketing industry (an odd combination, I know), this is your lucky day! That’s because I am burning to share my favorite new words from last week’s Content Marketing World conference in Columbus, Ohio. Of course, these words aren’t new in the same way that “anacoluthon” may be new to some, but each concept caught my attention and got me thinking (aha!) about how I can use the information to make myself a better content marketer.

Sex with Data

Whoa! When Mitch Joel, opening keynote speaker and author of Six Pixels of Separation, used this phrase just a little after 8 a.m. last Wednesday, I knew it was time to wake up.

Joel made a compelling case for the power that exists in today’s direct relationships between brands and consumers online. (Another interjection: I was relieved the word “compelling” wasn’t mentioned in every other sentence like last year. For me, that word has become the new “robust.”)

With these direct relationships, first comes love and second comes…sex with data, which Joel describes as the intersection of linear data (raw analytics like clicks, sign-ups and leads) and circular data (all that social information consumers willingly share that make them individual data points). You know where this is headed, right?

He says, “When [linear and circular data] collide, you go from making out to the good stuff.” However, we as marketers, looking for a score, will almost certainly “screw up” these beautiful relationships.

My take-away: If brands want (and hope and pray and strategize) to be successful in this transitional period in marketing, they will need to balance what they know about consumers with how they reveal and use this knowledge. As Margot Bloomfield rightly noted in her CM World presentation, Leveraging Data to Drive Your Content Plan without Being Creepy, this requires an evolution from data to information to knowledge to wisdom.

One Screen

Apparently, I had already missed the boat with the concept of four screens in marketing: TV, laptop, tablet and smartphone. But Joel leaps into the future with the statement, “There will only be one screen. The only screen that matters is the one in front of me. The best technology has removed technology.”

Mobile adoption is engulfing the world at an unbelievable rate, and marketers aren’t keeping pace. Joel says we have to catch up.

My take-away: if mobile isn’t part of your strategy as an online marketer, you will be left behind.


ZMOTs, ZMOTs, who’s got the ZMOTs? Google, of course. Sam Sebastian, director of local & B2B markets for “the search giant,” discussed Google’s concept of Zero Moment of Truth, which essentially means that search has forever changed the way consumers and businesses make purchasing decisions.

FMOT (First Moment of Truth), a bit of marketing thought leadership pushed out by Proctor & Gamble about a century ago (actually, it was only 2005), refers to a three-to-seven second window when someone notices an item on a store shelf. In an e-book published last November, Google asserts the purchasing decision is made before people even enter the store (or while they’re in the store) because they’ve made a decision based on online search.

Here’s a staggering statistic among all the ones Sebastian shared: 16% of searches performed every day have never been seen before.

My take-away: publishing and disseminating good content online is not just a no-brainer, it’s essential to your existence. But I believed that before Sebastian ever spoke, ZMOT or not.

Social Currency

What the folks in the link-building industry have long called “link love,” Mark Bonchek, chief catalyst at ORBIT & Co. (and Harvard’s first Ph.D. in social media), calls social currency in a gift economy. A gift economy is a system of interaction and exchange where something is given without payment in return. Unlike a market economy based on financial transaction, a gift economy creates relationships and obligations. Status is earned, not bought. As he notes, it’s the pizza and beer on moving day – a gift of appreciation that the receiver will reciprocate if he moves someday.

Bonchek says that in social media, we want to create pizza and beer (or Grateful Dead tapes or the mother-in-law’s secret recipe). We want to create “social currency” with our content to promote sharing.

My take-away: Bonchek’s concept takes one of Mitch Joel’s assertions – that marketers must create utilitarian content or die – to the next level. We must create content that people not only use, but also want to share because it shows appreciation, builds status, offers help or provides opportunity for benchmarking. Oh, and I like pizza. Beer, not so much.

Visual Storytelling

Hunter Boyle from AWeber Communications calls this his favorite phrase from Content Marketing World.

He says, “It’s not so much a surprise, but it’s clear that photos, video and even presentations have skyrocketed in importance recently. From the usual video and social media suspects, to upstarts like Pinterest and Instagram and the often-overlooked Slideshare, organizations have a lot more options for content marketing beyond the written word.”

Hunter’s take-aways: author C.C. Chapman urged marketers to think visually all the time now and experiment with more of these formats to reach different audiences and show them how you’re unique. Also, Maria Pergolino presented examples of content pieces ranging from infographics to cartoons and visual note-taking. So, there’s a lot of creative inspiration in formats you wouldn’t always expect, even with B2B organizations.

Right on! Thanks, Hunter.


This site, now owned by LinkedIn, is definitely not new to me, but I long ago filed it away as a place for simply sharing PowerPoint slides. (Hunter and I must have attended the same session.) Head of thought leadership and marketing at Kelly OCG Todd Wheatland has changed my mind! Author of The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare, Wheatland hit me with statistics and features I was completely unaware of:

  • 60 million visitors per month
  • Search optimization friendly
  • Not format specific (lots of document options here)
  • Ability to embed and customize content for specific audiences
  • Access to social power of LinkedIn (great audience for B2B marketers)
  • Customized lead forms and lead capture
  • Analytics
My take-away: We need to incorporate SlideShare into our social media mix.


Yep, knew about Google+ Hangouts but had not explored their full functionality. Broadcast live to the public (Look, Ma! I’m on TV!) and auto-upload and view tracking with YouTube. Do demonstrations, panel discussions, behind the scenes, virtual conferences, press release announcements, interviews and even a series. Move over, broadcast networks! Here comes Google! Thanks to Arnie Kuenn for turning on the light switch for me.

My take-away: Oh, the possibilities! Plans in the works…


Wondering if this is an allusion to “sex with data?” Sorry to disappoint. Marketing Prof’s Ann Handley calls these frequently unasked questions (FUQs). What would people ask about your business if they knew enough to ask?

My take-away: Fun term! But I didn’t really get good direction on how to develop FUQs. I’m still ruminating on the concept. (Whoops! That wasn’t speaking human!)


Ann Handley gets two nods in this post for coming up with another quirky word: flawsome. She defines it as, “Be awesome because of your flaws and not despite them.”

My take-away: Love the concept, but again, not entirely sure how to flesh this out. So, should we talk about Stoney deGeyter’s mechanically declined moments while highlighting his SEO knowledge? Hmmmm…

Second Customer

This nod goes to Brian Clark and Sonia Simone with Copyblogger. They pointed out that even though much of your content should be directed at customers with whom you’d like to do business, you can’t forget the people who may share your content. They are the “second customer.”

“Don’t write content just for social shares, but it makes sense to write it with social in mind,” says Clark. “Understand who your influencers are. Sometimes, your content is more tactical and higher level. Sometimes it’s for the smaller, more passionate group.”

My take-away: second customers – I like ’em and need to make sure I’m thinking about them when creating content.

Chicken Whisperer

Almost laid an egg when I heard this one! The Chicken Whisperer? Pam Muldoon mentioned this gentleman during her session on podcasting (which was very good, by the way), and I had to check it out, as the only way I like chicken is dead, cooked and on a plate. But seriously, Andy Schneider, the Chicken Whisperer, is a great example of someone who’s made podcasting work! This type of content, often overlooked by marketers, definitely reaches key audiences on the go.

And that’s it! Great words and phrases from Content Marketing World 2012. If you’re an inbound marketer and have never been, this conference should be on your radar for 2013.

Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo

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