What can Jiu Jitsu teach us about effective strategies in media and business? It’s all about focus, discipline, and the fact that tact can beat size, says Monica Ho, CMO of SOCi, Jiu Jitsu practitioner, and our guest for Episode 2 of the Heard on the Street Podcast (listen above).
“You can have a small business and make huge waves,” she says. “We’re seeing that with some of the disruptor brands. You have to keep your eyes and ears open. If you’re not constantly thinking about what you can be doing better, you’re going to become irrelevant, so you have to think on your feet.”
Another important lesson that’s been evident throughout Ho’s career is the importance of content. At TMP/15 Miles and xAd (now GroundTruth), she initiated lots of content marketing efforts such as data-centric white papers. It’s all about feeding the marketplace’s need for data, insights, and education.
“All we were really doing was educating ourselves and the market,” she says. “By approaching it from a thought leadership and educational standpoint, we were bringing the market along with us … and positioning ourselves for what the market needed and how we can be that solution.”
This approach preceded the broader shift to content marketing that followed and has become industry standard today. It sets aside traditional marketing tactics of speaking at audiences with brand jargon, to instead provide some sort of value exchange—in this case, with data and education.
“I’m a big believer in a value exchange,” she says. “Whether you’re a brand or an agency, or maybe you’re an entrepreneur, everyone is starved for more data on more information on certain things that are affecting the landscape. … I think there’s tons of opportunity to do that well.”
Meanwhile, the common factor that’s driven Ho throughout her career is an inner curiosity and desire to be part of disruptive technologies. That was the case when joining xAd at the advent of the smartphone revolution. And it’s the case with the inflection she sees now with social media and SOCi’s part in it.
“In the past, a lot of the social platforms allowed us to be lazy marketers,” she says. “We could do a post, and it was easy to get really broad distribution. A lot of the platforms are really cracking down on that … and forcing us to be better marketers and rethink how we message appropriately to audiences.”
So as a CMO, how will she push this message and SOCi’s differentiation in tackling it?
It will be content marketing and thought leadership, of course. Carrying forward that thread in her career, we can expect lots of data from SOCi soon, to pinpoint social best practices and ranking factors that matter.
“One of the first projects I’m taking on, as you can see through the trend, is that we’re going to do a ton of research and first-party data around what’s driving social engagement and social activity for us,” she said. “So, expect a lot from us over the next couple months.”
Check out the full episode above, find out more here, and stay tuned for episodes every two weeks.
Mike Boland is Street Fight’s lead analyst and author of the Road Map column. He covers AR & VR as chief analyst of ARtillry Intelligence and SF President of the VR/AR Association. He has been an analyst in the local space since 2005, covering mobile, social, and emerging tech.