Content Marketing Conversations: Jay Acunzo’s 6 Questions for Exceptional Marketing

Christel van der Boom / October 19, 2017

Jay Acunzo, a former digital media strategist at Google and head of content at HubSpot, is also a gifted speaker—which was apparent during his keynote speaking slot at Content Marketing World this year. His talk there in 2016 earned the highest audience evaluations, which is why the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, invited him back to CM World’s main stage this year.

On his podcast, Unthinkable, Acunzo explores examples of work that seem impossible at first— but when he unpacks them, they turn out to be inspiring tales of innovative thinking and overcoming the odds. Years of analyzing marketing strategies allowed him to create a methodology that empowers marketers to trust their own intuition—knowledge from within, as he calls it—instead of relying on “best practices.” Best practices, he says, only lead to average results.

The methodology boils down to asking these six questions (two about yourself, two about your audience and two about your resources):

1) What’s your aspirational anchor?

Articulate your intent for the future and how your dissatisfaction with what’s happening today applies to that.

2) Why you?

What’s your or team’s personality? What do you bring to the table? How would what you offer be different if someone else did it?

3) What is the first principle insight about your audience?

Ask “why” of the customer’s situation enough times to get to the fundamental truth. A customer’s request for strong coffee might conceal a need for energy—and this need for energy might be related to the work they do. That “why” insight will inform your marketing.

4) Who are your true believers?

Find a small group of people that react passionately to what you’re doing or making. That means you have resonance. Lean into that, dig deeper and do more of it.  

5) What are your constraints?

We don’t have endless resources. It’s a myth that creativity needs freedom. The contrary is true: research shows that you actually generate more and better ideas when you work under constraints.

6) How can you expand?

Embrace your constraints and look for ways to be creative within them. Start small, see what works and build on that over time.  

With these six questions, Acunzo hopes to inspire marketers to move away from taking advice from others and using best practices. So if you’re looking for some inspiration, watch the full interview for yourself.

~Christel van der Boom is listening to Unthinkable: Stories of Breaking from Conventional Thinking at Work on Flipboard