Dazed & Confused after Content Marketing World 2016

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Televerde CMO Note: The following was ripped from the mind of water-logged, Portland, Oregon-based, Televerde demand gen strategist & content director, Mark Evertz. We calmed him down a bit. Made him drink a lot of fluids and asked for his insights so the rest of us could steal some of the good ideas he heard or read about at Content Marketing World 2016. Below is the result.

We’re dazed, confused and inspired after consuming a year’s worth of schoolin’ in less than a week at Content Marketing World 2016

With a tip ‘o the fedora to Jacquie Chakirelis, and her Freshman Guide for Content Marketing World 2016, I sit here feeling a bit Dazed & Confused – but inspired – after consuming a year’s worth of schoolin’ in less than a week.

What I mean by Dazed & Confused in this context is that drinking through the fire hose isn’t even an appropriate metaphor for how waterlogged my brain feels today. I consumed so much Orange I no longer need sunglasses and I binged on so much good information that I’m in sloth-mode right now. I know I easily missed as much as I gained but I’m too bloated to care.

The fear that grips me now as I sift through the synapses is that no bank of PowerPoint decks or videos could replicate what I did manage to experience. I believe the kids call that “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO.

The stuff that stuck like glue.

  1. Jay Acunzo’s machine gun delivery of Unthinkable: How the World’s Most Creative Content Marketers Do What Others Wouldn’t Dare. Jay … you have a follower/subscriber/pimper for life! You were spot-on that our relentless pursuit of someone else’s “best practices” is killing the creative process and the innate joy derived from sharing your passion with others in any and all mediums. Keep bringing fire!
  2. Mitch Joel making his case for shifting your mindset from content as a creative exercise to one of network development and distribution so that the work we do finds our intended audience. OK … he said it better than I wrote it here, but you get the idea. Everything Mitch says and does makes me want to be a better man … and yeah, I guess, a deeper thinker, information conceiver and knowledge dispenser. I’m trying, Mitch. I’m trying!
  3. Robert Rose – and others – pushing us all to create more experiences and fewer PDFs. Guilty as charged, Mr. Rose. Guilty as charged. I will follow the light by first buying your book and putting your phone number into my mobile phone.
  4. Our esteemed Godfather of Content Joe Pulizzi – boldly going where few co-founders of conferences that rely on warm bodies to fill seats have gone before – by saying if you can’t do it right and commit to the craft of helping others via content “Go buy ads!”
  5. Michael Brenner and his new BFF Mark Hamill. Hearing Luke Skywalker utter his name and praise his work as a provocative storyteller (Putting WTF in a headline works, folks!), will undoubtedly test our Jedi-in-Training Brenner’s humble, gracious and affable nature. If he lands a Luke-in-transition role in an upcoming installment of Star Wars we may just lose him forever to the Dark Side.
  6. The really smart and talented people of our Content Universe also happen to be some of the most helpful, nurturing and reassuring people on the planet. I‘m looking at you again, Joe Pulizzi. I think you spoke to every attendee of the event at least once. I managed to hit you up twice and walk away thinking … what a conscientious & genuine dude, with a Zen-like demeanor that calms as it teaches. Then you shared The Orange Effect Foundation in all of its glory. 3 things. Anytime. Anywhere. And I mean it.
    And then there’s Ann Handley
    ... If Joe’s the Godfather, I guess you’re my Godmother, but only in the way that Patti Smith, Joan Jett or Chryssie Hynde are Godmothers. Forever the best. There is no substitute. Our moment getting real outside the Exhibit Hall on the dizzying state of MarTech/ContentTech and then wondering aloud together if being a barista or a gas station attendant would help us maintain a better work/life balance was worth its weight in gold. And, before we jump to 7 … to one of sweetest of them all, Clare McDermott of Chief Content Officer Magazine – thanks for taking a moment to chat IRL. Our witty phone conversations and writing session many moons ago pale in comparison. I think this section is meant to highlight that CONTENT IS PEOPLE. Talk to them. Meet them in person to see their smiles or anxious lip bites. Understand their passions, fears and visions. Then commit to doing something to be of service.
  1. Speaking of service: Comedian Michael Jr. on “Finding Your ‘Why?'” and then sharing his own ‘Why’ via setups and punchlines is my new hangover cure.
  2. The grief the city of Cleveland gets is wayyyy overblown. Upon telling people I was heading to Cleveland for the event, I heard … “Oh man! That sucks!” or “Duuuude. I’m sorry!” no fewer than 10 times. GET OFF OF CLEVELAND. I get it. The Cuyahoga River caught fire once. The year AFTER I WAS BORN. I ate well. Soaked up some Hipster vibe at will in The Flats. Saw some really beautiful sunsets over Lake Erie. Hung out at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Believe me when I tell you. Cleveland … despite being a bit sweaty in September … does in fact, ROCK!
  3. Really compelling and useful recaps here, here, and here that will get you off to a good start after you dig out of all of your emails & phone calls from the week missed. They should also serve as good cliff’s Notes for those who were stuck at the office. Reach out if you have any questions about how to put some of this stuff in play.
  4. And, almost finally … Katie Martell introducing me to one of the more intriguing marketing personas of the event in the last ‘here’. In Hype, Disillusionment and the Great Content Marketing World Troll of 2016, Katie, almost apologetically, introduces Selfie Humblebrag – a Twitterbomb launcher with a fixed target of marketing puffery, self-importance, and the guidance provided by its resident leaders of thought. Katie details a potential reason for this and captures the laughs, retorts, hurt feelings, and confusion before and after the event. My unsolicited take – not necessarily the view of my employer BTW – is that every industry event that picks winners & losers has an A-list and, well, unleashes a Petabyte of selfies on the world each year, needs someone to poke our bruises a bit. Keeps people sharp, humble and helpful. I say let’s rip. Especially when a new word for ‘authentic’ or a new acronym for list segmentation hits the lexicon in the next 6 months. Welcome, Mr./Mrs. Humblebrag, the Ricky Gervais/Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of marketing events. Maybe someday I’ll rise to the level of being worthy of your abuse.


OK…I’m spent. To all of you thinking about going to Content Marketing World 2017 in Cleveland next year – Do it. However, I’d do it with these things in mind.

  • Have a plan of action – Is it info-gathering at sessions? Networking to pitch your wares? Sidling up to smarties to get better at your craft? I tackled all 3 simultaneously and tried to keep up during the off hours … look how I ended up!
  • Meet as many content luminaries as you can while you are there. Come ready with a question related to where you’re having the biggest challenge to seeing if you can get unstuck.
  • Build in time to recharge & reflect. Nearly a week of Go Go Go ain’t healthy man/woman.


To Ray Kemper, my Televerde colleagues, and our clients … thanks for releasing me into the wild for a bit. I’m coming back with a massive feast for the herd.


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