Four months before its January 2022 debut, GO! Magazine was only an idea.
The content team at Pega thought a magazine could work well as a natural extension of the brand’s successful Future of Work content campaign.
No one on the team knew magazine publishing, but that didn’t stop them.
Two weeks after they pitched the idea, GO! Magazine moved forward. Impressively, the team stayed on schedule and published the digital and print versions of the now award-winning magazine as planned.
“In hindsight, it was ridiculous and crazy, but amazing that we managed to do it,” says Nick Lake, senior director of global marketing at Pega.
That ambitious content project was one of the reasons Nick was recently named 2022 B2B Content Marketer of the Year.
GO! Magazine is the publication the tech world didn’t know it needed, according to Pega’s Content Marketing Awards submission. Topics covered in the inaugural issue cover themes important to the brand and its potential customers: automation journeys, IT unicorns, citizen developers, how to lead better, inclusivity in the workforce, decoding the bias of AI, and Pfizer’s frictionless drug-development project management system.
GO! took top honors for best new publication design and best overall design. The project also earned finalist honors for best new print publication, best overall editorial, and best distribution of a technology publication. The team’s Tech Trends 2025 report earned a finalist nod for best use of original research in content marketing. Future of Work earned finalist mentions for best B2B branded content campaign and best integrated content marketing program (print/digital).
But the GO! story began several years before its quick-to-market debut.
Taking a brand journalism launch from idea to published in four months felt ridiculous, crazy, and amazing, says @NickLake1 via @AnnGynn and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
In the beginning
When Nick joined Pega four years ago, the company didn’t have a dedicated content marketing program. “We had a lot of content, but we didn’t have any kind of structure or process or governance around it,” he explains.
It fell to Nick to develop a program and tackle the challenge problem. His first step? Conduct a content audit. He found Pega wasn’t different from many companies – most of the content produced didn’t get used.
Under Nick’s leadership, that’s all changed. Content doesn’t get created if it doesn’t serve a purpose. And that purpose must align with Pega’s strategy and messaging.
“The quality of an organization’s thought leadership content is the most visible representation of the brand. It’s what potential clients make decisions based on,” he says.
By organizing and building a strategic content team, Nick helped others in the company recognize how critical content is to the business. It acts as the fuel to power the brand’s go-to-market programs.
And Nick’s role? “Sometimes, my job is to be a creative person. And sometimes it’s to be a traffic cop (to the rest of the organization),” he says.
A strategic content team is critical to business – it’s the fuel that powers go-to-market efforts, says @NickLake1 via @AnnGynn and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
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Pega challenges the conventional
Powering the company’s marketing isn’t a simple feat. The brand’s low-code, AI-powered decisioning and workflow automation platform competes for customers against high-profile, big-name brands with bigger budgets. “As a challenger brand, Pega needs to do things differently and show up differently,” Nick explains.
At the same time, the content marketplace is noisier than ever. “The pandemic was a massive wake-up call. Organizations had to accelerate their transition to digital marketing,” Nick says. “The bar has gotten higher over the last couple of years.”
So Pega adopted a test-and-learn mentality to help it zero in on content that breaks through the noise. “We’ll try things. If they don’t work, we’ll fail fast. But if they do work, we’re going to double down,” Nick says.
One of the team’s first tries came in the form of Pega’s Future of Work report, based on the company’s original research. When that worked well, Pega spun off gated reports focused on niche audiences with the Future of IT, Future of Operations, and Future of Marketing. This fall, they’ll add the Future of Customer Service to the content ranks.
These aren’t your standard state-of-the-nation reports, which cover what’s happened or happening today. Instead, they illuminate what 3,000 senior managers and frontline IT staff say they expect will happen – and what to do about it.
The Future of Work content campaign works well, attracting the audiences Pega values and earning great engagement from those readers.
Go for GO!
The success of Future of Work gave the content team the credibility to try GO! Magazine, which is localized for six global regions.
Meeting the ambitious launch timeline took collaboration and creativity in problem solving.
Nick hired a freelance managing editor with magazine experience (and a network of world-renowned journalists at the ready) to lead the content. She quickly put her connections to work on the magazine’s feature stories.
These stories include interviews with many Pega clients. “We wanted to make sure that we had a great voice for clients through this magazine,” Nick says.
But the team knew that all work stories and no fun would make GO! a dull read. So the magazine also includes horoscopes and other light content (like how to make a stress ball).
An in-house creative team created the content’s strong visual identity. They also developed a thematic design system so each page spread could work on its own digitally and flow together for the print magazine.
Creative talent alone won’t get a magazine from idea to publication in four months. Nick credits Pega’s marketing project manager (Kate Sutherby) for ensuring it all came together so quickly. “We needed someone with that really robust set of project management skills to help us hit that deadline,” Nick explains.
Putting the content to work
Moving the needle on brand awareness and engagement through content is only half the job. Nick recognized the need to enable salespeople with the content, too.
GO! Magazine’s data-driven perspectives on what’s happening and where the market’s heading give the sales team a way to showcase the Pega difference in client meetings.
“Hopefully, those clients or prospects are more inclined to work with us because they see we’ve got insights to bring to the table – a more consultative approach,” Nick explains.
Pega opted to print 1,500 copies of the inaugural GO! Magazine for use in sales meetings. “It’s about getting the magazine into the hands of salespeople and sales enablement kits … If you’re physically giving it to them, it’s a visible reminder of the brand and the strength of the brand,” he says.
It also distinguishes Pega’s content from many competitors’ all-digital approach.
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Building a strategic content marketing program at Pega wasn’t an overnight success. But it’s been impressively quick. From the strategy implemented only a few years ago to the four-month GO! Magazine launch, Pega is finding its content not only is used but it’s a key differentiator in a crowded marketplace. It also stands tall within the organization.
“What started as a team to create content and a structure around that content is now a hub team in the marketing organization. We’re the engine house,” Nick says.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute