InnovaBuzz Episode #87 – Chris Marr, The Content Marketing Academy

InnovaBuzz Podcast - Chris Marr

Chris Marr, The Content Marketing Academy

In this episode, I welcome back to the Podcast, Chris Marr of the Content Marketing Academy in the UK. Chris talks to me about how he has transitioned his business from agency services to a membership organisation that runs events and serves its community. We covered topics ranging from growing a membership organisation, what it takes to be profitable, how to launch and sell-out successful events and more.

Listen to the podcast to find out how Chris transitioned his business to a successful membership organisation.

Learn from and model the best and adapt based on the learnings. @chrismarr101 on #InnovaBuzz Click To Tweet

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Show Notes

Key points and take-aways from this episode with Chris Marr of The Content Marketing Academy include:

  • Transitioning from client services to a membership organisation requires a different mindset and a shift in approach to the business. Chris has successfully negotiated this transition in just one year. Key has been learning from and modelling the best and adjusting from the learnings along the way.
  • Chris started the Content Marketing Academy Live event with 4 people on a meetup and 2 years later CMA Live was run in Edinburgh with 170 delegates and 16 speakers from all over the world, over two days in June 2017. Key was not to get discouraged by the low turnout at the first event, and then asking for help to get people into some workshops, where Chris demonstrated the exceptional value of this event. Also, building a community around the event was crucial – something that Chris does through Facebook live.
  • All of the marketing for this event, that resulted in this growth was done organically; mainly through content marketing – providing useful information, education and building relationships. (Note, Jürgen – does this sound familiar!) Also, introductions provided by people who love us – so developing our customers into enthusiastic advocates who promote our event. It’s also important to get the right audience in the events – people who get value from the event and also are contributors.
  • Chris’ objective is to build the event to be the best, rather than the biggest – he aims to sell out the event six months in advance to the right delegates, at the right price, have 200 people at the event that are a perfect match for what the event will deliver and then run an awesome event for them. His marketing philosophy is built around that objective.
  • Events like this require help – Chris has a business manager and some part-time assistants. The community members also contribute a lot of energy to helping with various aspects of the event.
  • The campaign process for the event is really important – it begins with building a waiting list for the event after the next one through a campaign that starts a few weeks before the event of the current year. Chris uses email marketing to build that waiting list over a couple of months. Content marketing is where you build the trust, provide the information and develop the relationship. Email marketing is where people “click to buy.”
  • The best time to market a live event, is directly after delivering a great experience such as at a live event that you’ve just run. At that point, your audience WANTS to buy something else of value, so you really owe it to them to give them something else of value.
  • CMA Live 2018 will run in Edinburgh in June, and the next round of ticket sales will be released soon, but you can get on the waiting list via the link below. Apart from Chris, Keynote Speakers include Marcus Sheridan, Ann Handley and Brian Fanzo.
Be the best, rather than the biggest! @chrismarr101 on #InnovaBuzz Podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

We covered the Buzz in the last interview with Chris here.

To Be a Leader

Chris previously answered the “Be a Leader” question here, but it’s worth repeating:

BE a leader, and believe what you do is important to people and BE the best at it!

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Chris or ask questions via Twitter – @chrismarr101.

Suggested Guest

Chris suggested James Schramko and Mike Morrison from the Membership Guys, for me to interview on a future InnovaBuzz podcast.

So James, we’d love to have you back on the podcast and Mike have you on for the first time; so keep an eye on your inboxes, for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Chris Marr.

Links and Books


Cool things about Chris

  • He did his university degree in his late twenties.
  • He got his first contract as a consultant off the back of writing a blog!
  • He is always exercising his “idea muscles”.
Email marketing is where people 'click to buy.' @chrismarr101 on #InnovaBuzz Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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