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Juntae DeLane on Why Authenticity Matters in Content Marketing

Juntae DeLane has helped market major consumer brands including Coca-Cola, Sony, Verizon, NBCUniversal and Paramount Pictures.

We talked to Juntae DeLane, now the the Digital Brand Manager for the University of Southern California and founder of Digital Branding Institute, which helps solopreneurs establish and maintain their digital presence.  He addressed the challenges marketers face, the importance of authenticity and more.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing marketers right now?

I think the biggest challenges facing marketers now would be to understand the data that’s being produced by their target audience and utilizing that data to produce more relevant communications. The data produced by the target audience can come from engagement, the likes, the shares, and so on…also it could be what they’re saying online, their social chatter, looking for recurring themes or keywords in their chatter. If you’re able to dive deep into what your target audience is saying you’ll be able to reveal some insights that probably weren’t there before.

Do you have a favorite tool for analyzing that data?

My favorite tool would probably be SimplyMeasured.

Are there any emerging platforms or trends that you expect to see heading into the second half of 2016?

I think that live streaming and live online events are starting to become a trend this year. Facebook live is starting to really catch the attention of brands, because you’re getting the reach in triple or even quadruple your previous posts on Facebook if you use Facebook Live. You also have That’s an emerging platform that’s being utilized and replacing some traditional platforms like Google Hangouts. Snapchat is also having that live feel by allowing users to report things. Consumers value authenticity. When you have a live stream, it’s not edited, it’s not polished, so it resonates more with consumers. When you have the archive of your streams, I think that that content is valuable because it’s perceived as authentic and unpolished.

Does marketing a university differ from marketing a consumer brand?

In my former life, I’ve worked with all different types of brands and for-profit companies. It’s different because with higher education in general, everything is cyclical. You can execute a marketing campaign and you can have a different result if you execute the same campaign for the next year. For the most part, there are different variables that contribute to their decision to either enroll or apply or even request information. It could be because of a great football season and students wanting to have that big football program and experience the games. Ultimately when you look at the traditional for-profit marketing funnel and overlay that with the higher education recruitment funnel, there are variables that you cannot pinpoint because you don’t know what is going to influence that person’s individual. As a brand manager for USC, I want to create an experience for each prospective student, they can see what it’s like to live and to learn on the campus. A great platform to do this is obviously social media and anything digital.

What do you think are the biggest mistakes that see marketers making?

Focusing on the wrong metrics. As a marketer, you have things that you want to do and you have things that your senior managers want you to do. Your approach is obviously a marketing approach and theirs could be more of a business approach. Sometimes marketers aren’t identifying the right metrics that are important to senior managers. They’re not reporting the things that are actually moving the needle and showing how social media and digital marketing in general is able to contribute to the business.

Anything else you’d like readers to know?

One of the reasons why I established Digital Branding Institute was for individuals…who are trying to market their expertise. This will be a resource for them. I feel as though content marketing in general allows individuals and organizations to establish their identity in the digital space. Through content marketing you’re able to tell your brand story and establish your identity online. It also connects to the authenticity that today’s consumers want.

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