Mailchimp Presents to feature original programming to inspire entrepreneurs

Mailchimp has launched Mailchimp Presents, a new digital business entertainment platform meant to inspire the entrepreneurs and small-to-medium business owners it has as customers.

Mailchimp Presents features original short-form series, films and podcasts, presented with those small businesses and entrepreneurs in mind. The platform has gone live with over 50 pieces of content, with dozens more set to release this year.

This is a major investment for Mailchimp in producing original, high-quality material. To manage the new platform, the company has hired an internal team to create and build it out, and they are working with several award-winning directors and producers, including Jason Woliner and Hrishikesh Hirway, and talent like Jay Duplass, Samin Nosrat and Big Boi.

On the heels of its all-in-one-marketing platform launch last month, Mailchimp Presents gives Mailchimp a new way to connect with small businesses. Mailchimp’s goal for the platform is to support the entrepreneurial journey by creating and sharing entertainment that is practical, fun and hopefully inspirational.

Mark DiCristina has been with the company for a decade and was just named head of brand and Mailchimp studios. He told The Drum that creativity is at the heart of what the company does, and that Mailchimp Presents was a way for the company to make an emotional connection with consumers and transcend the email category.

“This is a way to add a dimension to our relationship with our customers… Creating this original content allows us to make Mailchimp a brand that can be relevant to people when they’re washing their dishes or driving to work, or they need a break from work. Mailchimp can now provide real value for our customers and for people who many one day become our customers."

He added that the most important thing for Mailchimp was not to just make content about entrepreneurs but content for them. “We’re not just making profiles of businesses, we’re not telling stories about the person who had the $100m exit. We’re really trying to create stories that speak to the themes of what it feels like to be an entrepreneur and what that journey is really like. There’s not really a lot of that kind of content in the world. There’s definitely not a home for that content, across different formats, themes and genres. We really thought it would be cool to provide a place where that experience of entrepreneurship could live and where those emotional themes could come together.”

DiCristina added that the platform is still a work in progress, but Mailchimp knows that its audience is busy. Therefore the content will remain short, so as to not interrupt viewers’ days nor get in the way of ‘appointment viewing’. Right now, the team is making and gathering different types of content and putting it out there to see what resonates.

Content currently up on the site includes an unscripted series uncovering business lessons from unexpected people called ‘Unlikely Business Lessons’, along with ‘Trade Show Show’, a scripted mockumentary about a trade show and the characters who attend it. A podcast series, 'Going Through It', hosted by Ann Friedman, has her chatting with writers, comedians, politicians and musicians to hear about the pivotal moments in their lives, careers, and relationships when they had to decide whether to quit or whether to keep going.

Coming up on the platform are more owned content and licensed content programs and short films. One is ‘Outer Monologues’, which chronicles moments in different people’s lives when they seemed composed on the outside but were freaking out on the inside. “Jay Duplass describes his first day on the set of the show Transparent. He was a successful director, writer, producer but he had never acted before, so he felt like everyone was looking at him…he was completely freaking out about it. It’s a really funny episode,” said DiCristina.

Another show DiCristina is excited about is the podcast ‘The Jump’, a show about music hosted by Shirley Manson, featuring prominent artists like Big Boi and Courtney Love. “Each episode in that show revolves around a song. It kind of represents the moment in the artist’s life where they found their voice,” he said.

Most of the content will live on the Mailchimp Presents site, though DiCristina says the brand may test shows on YouTube and other social channels. Design and technology firm Work & Co — which has an ongoing relationship working with Mailchimp to launch new digital product experiences — helped to design and develop the portal. The Mailchimp team is hoping the viewership builds as more people become aware of the site.

“One of the things that is so exciting about this content for us is that these are really compelling stories that we’ve put together and thematically they’re much broader than just a day in the life of a small business owner. They really have broad appeal and they really are resonant. We expect that these shows are going to find a much broader audience than just entrepreneurs,” concluded DiCristina.

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