I already shared my one big “Ah-Ha” moment from #CMWorld2014 – that no one totally gets it yet – but in the spirit of learning, here are some key takeaways from my experience at the event that I wanted to share:

1) Quality over quantity
We can be our own worst enemies. Don Draper never had the data we have at our fingertips today or the ability to keep as watchful an eye over the competition as we do. It’s easy to get swept up into feeling like you need to “feed the beast” that is content marketing. Scott Stratten of UnMarketing pulled up a slide and asked the crowd to select which of the four were the best days to send an email. Turned out, all were the right answer; depending on which report you read.

How many Tweets or Facebook posts do we need to send each day or each week? When is the best time to blog? We need content for each stage of the funnel, how do we map this to decisions in the buying cycle? Do we have enough case studies? Do we need more white papers? Maybe this works better as an infographic? Have we optimized this for search? Yikes!

2) Take a breath and solve problems; create positive experiences
Breathe; it turns out customer’s value quality over quantity. Develop content that is helpful and answers questions to generate demand. Once you’ve earned the right to a subscriber, fan or follower, continue to share high-quality pieces of content, helpful insights and information that makes his/her life and job easier. While developing a content marketing strategy and calendar keeps us on track, it’s better to share one piece of high quality content a week than ten pieces of worthless junk. Google knows this too. You’ll kill two birds with one stone.

3) Nobody has all the answers
Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnership, had the crowd in stitches with his depiction of an online buyer’s journey and quest for information. He reminded us that a buyer might be online looking for one thing (meatloaf) and end up buying something entirely different (two tickets to see Meatloaf in concert and a meatloaf pan from Amazon).

Image courtesy of the talented Kelly Kingman at Kingman Ink

Image courtesy of the talented Kelly Kingman at Kingman Ink

What does the sales funnel look like today?  I think we saw at least eight different variations. Do the four P’s still exist today? How do people shop for services? Will content marketing plateau? Nobody is an expert. We’re all learning from our own experiences and sharing with each other.

4) As marketers we have an obligation to “send the elevator back down”
I suspect I went into Content Marketing World like many others wondering #WTF does Kevin Spacey know about content marketing? But I came away with this: as marketers, we have far more power than we realize. Outside of our sacred circle of marketing bees, and the big brands we represent, we ourselves have more subscribers, fans and followers than anyone on the planet. The things we share can influence and change the world.

If you feel overwhelmed by the insurgence of social media and the idea of developing engaging content to stay at the top of Google’s search results, imagine how a small business owner must feel? Regardless of where you think you are on the content marketing journey, I guarantee that you probably know more about marketing in the digital age than the guy who owns your favorite local coffee shop.

As Kevin Spacey said “once you’ve broken through a certain ceiling, remember to send the elevator back down.” Share your knowledge; give that coffee shop owner a “helpful lift.” As marketers, we’re obligated to share our knowledge and help those SMBs succeed.

What do you think? Did you attend or follow #CMWorld2014? What were your takeaways?