Second City Works Takes B2B Content Seriously

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros
Second City Works offers workshops to help professionals think like improvisers.

It’s been said that there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy. For Second City Works, the line to tightrope walk in content marketing sits between helping B2B prospects understand the serious benefits of what they do, while remaining entertaining and irreverent.

Second City Works is the professional services arm of the famous improv theater company that has spawned several generations of comedy legends, from John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Martin Short to Steve Carell, Jordan Peele and Amy Poehler. It creates both live and digital content, and offers workshops on improvisation skills to help employees learn how to better communicate and innovate.

“Second City Works has a lot of conversations around creating content that helps people conceptualize what we do so they will view us as serious investment, while keeping true to the Second City tone of voice,” says Marilyn Cox, former vice president of marketing and CRM for Chicago-based Second City.

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To help do this, Second City Works has partnered with the University of Chicago to create content with a more academic focus that explores the connection between behavioral science and improvisation. One aspect of this is RewireU, a professional development program that teaches participants to “rewire” their thinking like an improviser and process ideas in a more nimble way.

Second City Works also used a podcast, “Getting to Yes, and,” to help engage B2B prospects. “It’s a way Second City can hit on content that challenges [our audience],” says Cox of the podcast, which showcases conversations with writers and visionaries who are taking a creative approach to business problems.

Traditional B2B content formats like whitepapers and webinars don’t really do justice to Second City Works’ offerings, she adds. “Video assets, particularly candid stuff, performs well. If we can capture our performers [behinds the scenes] working on content in real time as it comes together, that resonates with people.”

Marketing ROI is traced throughout the buying cycle, from conversion back to the original lead source. It’s trickier in B2C because of the numerous channels where ticket buyers come into contact with the brand.

“In B2B, Second City looks at revenue attribution as it goes through the pipeline, but its more difficult to do on the consumer side,” says Cox.

To learn more about Second City’s use of CRM to build engagement with prospect accounts, check out the special report Masters of Martech 2018.

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