Meet HZ: Zach Wales, VP of Digital

“Content” is arguably the biggest buzzword in our industry today. To you, what is content marketing, really?

Content marketing is a very broad discipline, because it can arguably apply to any activity that involves the creation and distribution of content with the intention of attracting and retaining customers. What makes it a discipline is the ability to leverage multiple marketing channels (e.g., video, email, social posts) to execute an integrated content strategy—and to a clearly defined audience. In other words, you could take a highly siloed marketing operation, and with the right thinking, resources, and production, turn it into a content marketing beauty that brings real value to the intended audience.

Why do you think it’s important for brands to consider a true content marketing strategy?

It’s important because when you’re doing content marketing well, you find yourself in the business of creating assets with lasting, profitable value. One of my favorite thinkers in this field, the Content Marketing Institute’s Robert Rose, calls these “unassailable assets.” I would advise any client to look at the content they’ve been creating recently and ask themselves: Am I creating long-term assets or short-term collateral? If it’s the latter, I would wager that you’re not getting the most out of your investment and efforts.

 

When you first started at HZ, you were a one-man SEO team. Since then the digital team has taken off, with dozens of members in various disciplines. What happens to you if people stop using the Internet?

Aren’t they kind of doing that already? Here are a few questions back at ya: Will apps become the new internet? Where is virtual reality taking us? Do you have an interactive refrigerator strategy? As long as we keep asking thoughtfully outlandish questions, we’ll stay in business.

 

In all seriousness—digital marketing has opened up a whole world of opportunities for brands, each with distinct functions, metrics, and practices. What are the benefits of turning to an agency that can handle all of those pieces?

Probably the biggest benefit of an agency is how much exposure it has to different industry verticals, technologies, and marketing disciplines. Diverse exposure challenges agencies to innovate and push boundaries.  

 

Enough work talk—what do you like to do outside of the office?

Travel with my wife. You can’t put a price tag on experiences.