Episode #15: Heather Otto


Guest: Heather Otto (San Diego), Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. She works as the Global Customer Advocacy Content Marketing Manager. She is responsible for the quality of the overall experience when inviting customers to one of their 55 globally located HP centers.

Personal History: She wanted to be in theater and be an actress as a child, so she ended up in California to fulfill this dream after college. “If you see an opportunity, go get it!” She is a creative content marketing manager. Her first job was a reporter/producer. She moved into content management by taking various passions and turning them into facets of her life’s work. 

Career History: She describes the idea of “trigger points” as the moments in her life that created the opportunities for connection, “It’s all about connecting with people, listening to them, learning their story, finding a way to tell that – in the most compelling way – and this is what content marketing really comes down to.”

“What it comes down to is being able to listen to your audience and listen to content, or communication that hits them … pulls at them … moves them in a way that makes them want to do something.”

If the product that I’m trying to sell … you know and I’m noticing the product doesn’t suit their needs I’m going to tell them, but then I always hear back from other people, “No, that’s genius (marketing), because that’s what makes a good sale at the end of the day is trust.”

“Content management is looking at different audiences and finding the content that will suit them.”

There are prep calls prior to first coming in for services. This helps to “get a pulse” on the customer. “It’s intended to be sort of an informal workshop to brainstorm and work together.”

“It’s not enough anymore to be engaged. We need to be entertained.” Now videos must be reduced from five minutes to 30 seconds. It makes it difficult to communicate content.

“What I’ve learned from the corporate environment in terms of creativity is the structure to take it forward... and what I mean by that is now in the corporate environment they really appreciate someone who can think like that (creatively), but also, justify it and present it as a business piece for why we (as consumers) need it.”

*Executives are increasingly realizing that targeted content is becoming the bulk of the substance for marketing organizations. And while consumers are well-aware of advertisers’ many strategies to capture their business, target marketing serves to bypass this awareness for the sake of getting the consumer excited about something that pertains exclusively to their own interests.

“I think people are a little afraid their idea is going to be taken away from them... because the more people that you ask, the more opinions you introduce… and if you think you’ve got a brilliant idea but your audience is like… yeah, not so brilliant. You cut your losses. In other words, it’s important to really test ideas with consumers up-front, so a marketing company doesn’t invest resources into an idea that consumers do not want.”

She talks about how when consumers are solicited for their ideas about which content should belong within a product, they tend to feel a sense of partial ownership in the product that eventually comes out as well, and they’re much more likely to not only use it - but tell their friends too! And I got the impression it is this sort of organic, from the ground-up, content that really sells to the largest possible target audience.

“Personally, I think LinkedIn has really evolved over the last few years. I think it’s a great professional tool, and I appreciate that it has not become cluttered with personal anecdotes... And I wonder sometimes, at what point does Linked-In just become the 30+ Facebook? … They have really branded themselves well in terms of targeting people with certain content (I.e., new job opportunities, workshops, professional opportunities etc…)”

Having an awareness and being reflective of how you are thinking and taking to people (I.e., situational awareness) is so important and something not taught in school. You must build a positive relationship with someone to humanize the relationship before you ask anything of them; otherwise, they might feel like they’re being treated like an object.

“When you go forward in life - just recognize the impact that you make is not measured by the number of projects you complete…. But the impact you make is the impact you make on people…. Just to be genuinely interested in other people and express that to them.”