How Walmart Creates Content for a Massive B2C Audience


As content marketers, we spend a lot of time talking about truly understanding our audience, narrowing our focus, and sharing valuable information regularly, everywhere. We talk about knowing what makes your customers tick and show off everything your brand stands for.

But ultimately, this is a strategy that inherently favors B2B brands, especially those with a finite audience and niche appeal. When you’re the largest retailer in the world, things get a little more complicated.

Kay Streit is senior director of editorial and content strategy II at Walmart eCommerce. aims to reach a large audience, an audience with extremely diverse needs, tastes and values. Streit faced the challenge of finding common motives for a large target audience, while dividing that audience into more specific groups and delivering tailored content.

(Full disclosure: Walmart is Internal customers .)

Streit leads a powerful internal team that creates articles, slideshows, videos, buying guides, and other editorial features to help Walmart shoppers make their purchasing decisions. She finds that helping shoppers understand how to make both products and dollars last longer works better, and she relies on her copywriting experience and psychology to do that.

Recently, I sat down with Streit at Content Marketing World to better understand the unique challenges B2C companies with large target audiences face, how they are taking on these challenges, and what she does. He hopes on the horizon for B2C content marketing.


Partner with members of the Walmart eCommerce team.

What was the inspiration for your story?

You know, it all starts right now with the marketing calendar. We start by looking at all the big marketing initiatives and then we go back and see what gaps we have. Then we try and pull the story from there. That’s really our bread and butter content.

We’re also working on creating a series of content that’s more episodic — more crossover. For example, we don’t focus on groceries. We focus on get-togethers, parties, summer get-togethers, and what you can do to stretch your dollar. Walmart talks a lot about: How do you throw a birthday party for your kids so they can have all 25 of their friends come and still have a bang-up birthday party? We are looking for ways to provide them with amenities that help them live a more fulfilling life.

OK. I will rewind the clock. Did you drop by Walmart around 2011. What was marketing like at that time at Walmart, and what was the role of content then?

When I first started working, the purpose of content was a space for advertisements. Over time, we have expanded to truly grow as a native advertising brand and content platform. My department was taken out of marketing and into customer experience, where we now really think less of it as a sales tool or a type of paid content. We consider it more than a useful tool for our customers.

Who are your biggest advocates of content at Walmart? Who is the insider source for you?

Internally, perhaps our biggest partners are still our marketing partners because they understand that a lot of the tactics they have are not as effective as storytelling. At Walmart, everyone knows everything is on sale, but that also creates the perception that everything is cheaper or less. That the Samsung TV you bought at Walmart is of lower quality than the Samsung TV of the same model you bought at Best Buy. That is not the actual case. It is because of the relationship that we have with that supplier and we are able to attract a large number of customers. They also get a huge platform with us, so they don’t have to pay much for advertising.

That’s it.

Customers don’t know it and especially longtime customers don’t know it, so they see it as lower quality.

So one of the interesting things that we discussed before this interview is that you come from a writing background. We see traditional marketers trying to understand journalism, journalists trying to understand marketing… writers are often not part of that equation. How did you jump over the fence?

Sure. Actually, my degree is news editorial journalism. When I graduated, the best jobs were in marketing and advertising, and that’s where I got a gig. What I really love is that it’s a combination of art and science, and it’s very involved in understanding consumer psychology. , I was turned away by a few people. They say, “Well, you’re a mar-com. We think you’re great, but we don’t think you’re necessarily savvy with content marketing. ”

I said, “Well, I’m all about the psychology of the customer and getting to the heart of the story, about what’s important to them. It’s not so much all this digital stuff. You have other people managing those pieces. You really need to tell a story and get into the customer’s mind. Understand the solutions they are looking for. ”

That’s where copywriting really helps me. That’s the psychological part.

So what advice do you have for people with less traditional backgrounds who really want to get into content marketing?

You know, as I see this growing industry, there’s a lot of room for a lot of different types of people. At, I helped grow the organization from four people to a team of fourteen. So over the past three years, we’ve not only impacted the value businesses place on content, but also shown how many different roles need to be filled within a content creation team. That is whether you are working with a third party or not.

You need people with different skill sets. You need your testers to understand how to put together. You need your SEO. You need your content marketer to understand distribution. You need a team to manage and create and manage content projects, and then you need your ads too. I think there’s a lot of room for people to play a lot and specialize too.

Let’s talk about science. Walmart is a company known for its expertise in data management and customer insights. How do you understand what is working in the content you produce?

We need to improve that. I’m here at Content Marketing World to learn more. Right now, we use SiteCatalyst. That’s what businesses use. We’re actually looking for more ways and we’ve actually talked to you about how we can get higher quality. That’s really my top priority for the coming year: understanding. I want to know my customers and I want to know where has authority to talk to them about things.

We have a lot of data, but really understanding how content changes brand perception is harder. At the end of the day, my team is in charge of driving frequency, so we’ll really have to understand that customer psychology better than just the data.

Are you saying that B2B guys are easier?

I envy them a lot, because it feels like the B2B side has been served by the content marketing industry. There are many tools developed for them. It is a suitable one. I even envy niche retail brands — I look at someone like Dot & Bo who can do everything really centrally.

It’s certainly been difficult for Walmart, knowing the wide range of customers we have to serve, knowing the wide range of products we deal in. Content that helps certain product categories more than others; which one is correct? It’s an absolutely huge thing that needs to be split up, and the scale of it is very challenging. So on the B2B side, I envy the extent to which they’ve got on the plate to really help them on a daily basis, and how streamlined their programming is as well.

What are you grateful for on the B2C side?

(Laughs) I’m really grateful for the opportunity to figure it out in some way, too. Many times I just complain, I really like in a lower position. I’m something like that so I don’t know because it’s hard. I have had many easy jobs. In fact, that’s why I left copywriting, because it was a bit too much of a “meh” for me. I need something a little more. It’s like I have to chase cattle around the field every day.

I think there are retailers that are doing a great job with their content, but I don’t think anyone has broken that, and really turned it into something that everyone likes, “That’s the norm. yellow! We all need to follow that best practice! ”

There is still a lot of room to explore and improve. We can only get better and that’s exciting for me.

I love that and that’s why we go to places like Content Marketing World.

Entirely possible.

What’s the biggest takeaway from the last couple of days here?

Basically, Kristina Halvorson said everything I was thinking. For her tissue example, “it’s a commodity and a utility”. It pretty much encapsulates everything that has been going through my teams’ minds over the past few months. It’s all, “Where does Walmart have content?” We can do all sorts of articles about which crib to buy, and how to choose your mascara, and the like. It just seems very flat compared to what we can do.

The other interesting thing that I was just reminded of is the importance of getting out. Again, I’m in Silicon Valley. All around me are leading thinkers and all kinds of new technologies, and sometimes I still feel cut off from the rest of the world. Really amazing to see what all these great brands are doing, what all these great thought leaders are doing, making us think and making us think about the future. rather than daily. It’s very important.

Perfect. You just touched on my last question that I asked everyone here. Content marketing has been the underdog of the industry for a while. We are all part of it. We are all rooting for it. What are you hoping will continue to develop or change for the better in 2016?

I just wanted to see more measurements and more “This is how content works.” More books. You know, a variety of recipes are presented that you can follow to make things work.

Although I said I love exploring, it would be nice to see things being nailed down a bit more, like how they already live in society. Also, it feels a bit like it’s hard to keep up to the point where you can land. Somewhere to breathe so we can get something right. Just a little wind so we can really move on.

By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *