Right place, right time, and right content by Laura Buczynski
Director, Demand Generation, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Growth Fit - Episode 09

Laura Buczynski Director, Demand Generation at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt brings 18 years of her marketing experience that surrounds the marketing philosophy of, “Right place, right time, and right content”. While explaining more about this, Laura elaborates, “Find out where your customers are, what are they looking for, when are they available, and share the messages and content that they care about.”


Being in the digital publishing business, Laura recognizes that creating quality content should be a marketer’s top priority. And, this can happen only when you know your customers. Talking to sales teams, customer success teams and your customers is the first step to know more about your customers. Knowing this provides insight into the challenges your customers are facing and the solutions for which they are looking.

During this conversation, stay tuned to hear:

  • Community building as a part of the marketing mix
  • How to know more and research about your audience?
  • Data points that matter for paid campaigns
  • Being organic and gamifying to increase your online presence.

Community, as a part of the marketing mix

Laura: Building the community is essential. In the educational field, there are different layers such as teachers, administrators, principles, and district heads. On our website, we have communities that are run by teachers, though we support them with content and solutions. They talk to each other and share ideas. Building a place for those in industry, making it unique for them is what builds a community.

Creative ways to research audience

Laura: We do a lot of surveys with incentives. We explore what our competitors are doing. Another source is to check out what teachers are doing on Facebook groups. It is like being a detective.

Personalizing the landing page of the website is important.

Laura: It is important to ask the question, ‘What does a customer do when they go onto the landing page?’ Thinking of the customer journey is very important. We need to think about where they are coming from and where they will go. You need to ask yourself, ‘Will the content be engaging enough?’ and have the right content for them to help them click on a CTA.

Data points that matter for paid campaigns

Laura: Having data to know what has worked and what has not, is very important. When you don't have data, then it is really the content. By providing content to ensure they get what they don't have already, you can deliver a successful campaign. The question is, “Is the campaign valuable for the customer at that moment?”

I use conversion rates to measure campaigns. But, there are also vanity rates like the open and click-through rates that tell you the success. 3 to 6 seconds is what you have to get their attention for and get them to click with compelling content in an email.

For us, since we already have some market penetration, a visitor stays on the website for 5 to 7 seconds. If they end up with a sample packet and trying us out, that is a good measure. To optimize your campaign, you need to be agile and work with change.

Being organic and gamifying to increase your online presence.

Laura: Organic is important because consumers are already looking for what you have and create on your website. An effective way for a brand’s online presence is to produce great content and to think outside the box.

Instead of doing a webinar, a company I know did a jeopardy game show. They produced a game show called “Jeopardy”. It was a 40-minute game show that talked about the company in a fun way.

Having said that, you also have to remain ‘authentic’. Try this, ‘anything that you have written with your brand name or product name in it, then write it again without saying your product name or brand name. This helps you tighten the content and message that you are trying to sell. If it is the same, it helps you stay authentic.

Your advice for an entry-level marketer

Laura: Be present. Listen to everyone. Don't be afraid to speak up. Take up everything that comes your way and become that invaluable person. At the same time, balance your life.

                  "Organic is important because consumers are already looking for what you have and create on your website"                              

Contact Laura Buczynski

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/laura-b-200ab52a/

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