By Joe Pulizzi published July 27, 2013

4 Reasons Why You Might Not Need A Content Marketing Plan

no content marketing planEvery day, we run a new post on content marketing on the CMI blog. And in almost all of them, we discuss why you need content marketing, or how to increase your content success.

Obviously, we’re committed to the belief that a strategic content marketing plan provides significant benefits to marketers. Yet, I’ve spoken with some marketers who tell me they have no use for content marketing — and I absolutely agree with them!

Creating or curating valuable, compelling content as a means to attract and retain customers isn’t necessarily the right move for every organization. So if any of the following four scenarios applies to your business, you are hereby exempt from pursuing a content marketing plan:

1. You have a truly astonishing product

Let’s be honest: If you are Apple, or electric-car manufacturer Tesla, your customers already create your content for you. But the same might hold true for the tiny burger joint down the street — you know, the one that has customers lining up around the block every night. Why? In most cases, it is because their products are so unique, so amazing, and so universally desirable, that word-of-mouth (or click) marketing just happens without requiring much action or influence from the company itself.

Likewise, if you are a brand like Facebook, your customers are already actively marketing your product simply by using it every day, in a way that everyone can easily observe.

If you have an amazing product that people can’t help but use, promote, and evangelize, you might not need content marketing. 

It may be worth noting, though, that Apple has been incredibly successful with its “Apple Camps,” where the company teaches kids how to become mini movie producers. And, Google — an enterprise that you wouldn’t think needs to employ content marketing at any stage in its buyer’s process — developed both Zero Moment of Truth and the Google Think Insights online magazine (which, incidentally, won a Content Marketing Award for best publication in 2012).

2. You have a ton of money to spend on advertising

If this is the case, I congratulate you (though why you wouldn’t want to develop your own audience of content fans anyway is beyond me. But I digress…). For large enterprises, developing a content marketing plan can be an incredibly challenging endeavor. Comparatively, advertising (even given the current business landscape) is much easier (sorry advertisers).

3. You aren’t interested in growing your business

One of my best friends owns a “lifestyle company”… meaning he is happy with the number of customers he has, and the pace of his business is manageable enough for him to spend a lot of quality time with his family. He doesn’t want his business to grow.

I have talked to him many times about the creation of a blog, or leveraging social media, or possibly distributing a targeted print newsletter. None of that interested him because if he landed another customer, it might upset the balance he’s achieved, and that wouldn’t make him happy. If you are of a similar mindset, fine: No content marketing for you!

4. You know every one of your customers personally

I know some distributors who talk to all of their customers on a daily basis. Though I could still make the case here that content marketing might be helpful, when you can count the number of your customers on two hands, you probably don’t need to invest your time and money on creating content.

For everyone else…

So there you have it: If your business is truly amazing, has loads of cash on hand, doesn’t need to grow, or has very few customers, you don’t need content marketing — at least, not until one of these situations changes (but considering how stable economies and industries are across the globe these days, you’ll probably never need to worry about that, right?).

For the rest of us, let’s get cracking!

Did I miss any other reasons a business might not need content marketing? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Joe Pulizzi’s latest book, “Epic Content Marketing,” will be released in September 2013. Preorder it now on 

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Greg Bardwell

    I knew you were going to say that.

  • Brian Clark

    Yep, saw this one coming. 😉

    • Joe Pulizzi


  • NenadSenic

    Ugh, if you “have loads of cash” you don’t need content marketing? Whoever has lots of money, it’s easier to do advertising. Joe, seriously? I don’t even know what to do with this…

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Let’s face it Nenad…a company like ExxonMobil, that has so much money they don’t know what to do with it, and buys premium 30 second spots all over the globe…they don’t need content marketing. I think they should do it, but they don’t need it. Do you? Should do and need to do are two different things.

      • Carmen Rane Hudson

        Heh, Exxon’s case provides you with a nice #6:

        If contact with your customers is likely to backfire!

        Can you imagine Exxon putting up a blog or social media account? They’d be blasted with complaints about gas prices and snark about oil spills and all sorts of stuff. It’s a bit like WalMart’s attempt to get their “happy employees” to tell their story…only to end up with a website flooded with tales by unhappy employees.

        Great post!

        • Joe Pulizzi

          Wow Carmen…I didn’t think about that kind of situation…you could be right.

        • ravekrishna

          Yes Carmen….I was thinking the same. Some of the companies in my city are so pathetic at customer service, my friends and I are waiting for the day they come online to voice our woes! I would say any company that really does not care for customer service and care (and hence the bottom line) can afford to forget content marketing. And if you come to my state Kerala (India), I can show you each and every one of them (and not all of them in the public sectors!)…..

          Great article Joe….thanks.

  • Deb Bixler

    All successful businesses have a marketing plan, no matter what kind of business you are in. A marketing plan is the action steps to success!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Correct Deb…but content marketing may or may not be a part of that plan (although 90% of businesses use it in some way).

      • Deb Bixler

        Yes and a good business plan does lay out your marketing plan which usually includes many forms of marketing with a line, like: “and any other online or offline marketing as deemed necessary to further our profit goals” hence, legitimizing the tax deductions in a home business.

  • Jonathan Kranz

    Well said. I’ve often said that, when you see content w/in a biz perspective, there will be some companies who should probably place their marketing investments elsewhere.

    And yet…I DO think that successful giants like Apple should consider a content marketing plan, even if it’s a kind of inoculation against future competition.

    BTW: I create lots of content for Harvard Business School. My client obviously doesn’t need to build brand awareness or to attract more people to its website. But HBS DOES need to shape the way it’s perceived in the marketplace and that positioning motive drives its content planning.

  • Ryan King

    Awesome! A great response to “Content marketing sounds cool, but we don’t need to do that.”