Amy Walker: Cognitives

A word with … Amy Walker

In Interviews by Peter Gearin

Cooperate’s head of growth on matching marketing with technology.

Operations platform Cooperate* helps brands centralise their marketing activities, content and reporting. Amy Walker co-founded Cooperate with Justin Cannon, Tom Spencer and Rohit Gupta after working with a series of software as a service (SaaS) businesses in Australia, Spain, Japan and her native New Zealand. She manages Cooperate’s marketing – from lead generation to thought leadership.

Brand Tales: What attracted you to the world of startups, SaaS and content platforms?

Walker: I’ve always been interested in finding innovative solutions to problems, and that is what the SaaS industry is really built on. It’s about creating technology-driven solutions that empower brands to compete in today’s marketing landscape, regardless of budget. Finding smarter ways to leverage content across multiple channels, markets and regions is a real game changer for many brands and something we’re passionate about.

Brand Tales: Has your definition of “corporate storytelling” changed since you started work on the Cooperate platform?

Walker: Absolutely. In the five years since we started [the business], I’ve seen brands move through what I think of as the content realisation lifecycle: from the initial realisation that content that offers real value to a customer can impact sales, to the realisation that this is true of all marketing content across all channels, markets and regions – not just “content marketing”. The most successful brands I’ve seen move through this lifecycle understand that corporate storytelling should form the core of all of their marketing activities.

Brand Tales: Do you have a story that best explains what Cooperate offers clients?

Walker: I think this Pepsi example sums up the challenge we have today. Pepsi used to create four pieces of TVC content a year and have $1 million to spend on each ad, plus the luxury of time. Now they’re creating over 4000 pieces of content a year across an array of channels, but budgets haven’t changed. This is the new reality for marketing teams. It’s a constant battle to keep on top of the amount of content needed to “feed the beast” of marketing and deliver a personalised experience for the customer. Platforms like Cooperate take that pain away, centralising people, content and processes into one marketing engine and enabling teams to deliver consistent, on-point messaging that is on-time.

Brand Tales: Are Australian companies and organisations getting better at measuring the effectiveness of their content programs?

Walker: I don’t think so. And the problem isn’t the data, it’s the number of different systems brands use to manage their marketing content. If you have your paid social, native social, articles and email content all in different systems, how are you expected to know if a piece of content is truly effective? For brand consistent measurement, you need a holistic view of content performance across all channels, and that’s why we partnered with DOMO to help give brands that consistent level of visibility.

Brand Tales: What is your pet peeve about the content business in general?

Walker: When you see siloed marketing teams, with one specific team driving “content marketing” rather than integrating content strategy across the organisation. It’s such a wasted opportunity.

Brand Tales: What advice do you have for brands (and agencies) that want to use content as part of their marketing mix?

Walker: To me, content should be at the core of all of your marketing activities, as it’s critical at every step of the customer journey. My advice would be to stop thinking of “content marketing” as a channel and think of it as a tactic. Look instead at the entire customer journey, and map the right content to the right stage to deliver maximum impact, then work out the optimal channel to deliver that message. Then track everything, of course.

Brand Tales: Is there one specific content execution that you admire? What can other brands learn from this?

Walker: [Cooperate client] Monash University continues to impress me. What [CMO] Fabian [Marrone] has achieved in the past year, mapping out a detailed and complex customer journey that allows the customer to interact with different content aspects and duck in and out of different journey paths at any time, is exciting to see. But what has excited me more is how Monash has broken through that traditional university siloed faculty content approach. It’s building cross-faculty content that talks to current global issues and demands a response from audiences. I’m looking forward to seeing where Monash is in another 12 months.

* Cognitives was rebranded Cooperate on November 2, 2018.

Links & references

Monash University’s Lens storytelling site

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