In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss LinkedIn’s purchase of Lynda.com and what it means for LinkedIn and the content marketing industry. We also ponder the difference between content and advertising and ask if it really matters. We answer a listener question about measuring the impact of content programs. In addition, Robert and I explore the failure of social media as a community-building tool and discuss an alternative for brands that can be more effective but also harder to implement. Rants and raves include Walt Disney’s visionary mindset and how content marketing could save the world. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example of the week from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
This week’s show
(Recorded live April 13, 2015; Length: 55:45)
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1. Content marketing in the news
- LinkedIn acquires Lynda.com (3:54): LinkedIn has announced that it has acquired Lynda.com, an online learning company, for $1.5 billion. According to reports on TNW and Forbes, this acquisition enables LinkedIn to significantly expand its professional service offerings. Robert views it as a match made in heaven. I agree that it’s a “plug-and-play” opportunity for LinkedIn: The combination of Lynda.com’s large course library with LinkedIn’s mountain of professional development data will be a powerful one.
- Content vs. advertising: Is there really a debate? (10:26): Lee Odden, in a column on his TopRank Blog, takes issue with a statement by Mitch Joel that all paid placements of articles are ads. Odden says there is no debate. Brands need to focus on the content experiences they can create through a combination of owned, earned, paid, and shared media that will attract, engage, and inspire buyers to take action. I see many brands that treat content and advertising as an either-or decision – but it’s not. Both are needed. Robert believes we need to focus on the purpose or goal of the content, not on what we call it.
- Listener question: (16:32): Karen Marks from Pepperidge Farms, asks: “How do you account for non-working costs (your internal costs to create content) when you might not have any working costs (the cost to place it in the media) to go along with it? I have been thinking about ways to classify our owned channels as media but haven’t quite figured it out.” Robert recommends that you look at your own channel as if you have to buy space on it, and then estimate costs against the business. I point out that there are a number of metrics you can use to estimate the value of a customer and calculate your approximate acquisition costs, and use that ratio as a benchmark.
- The rise of community media and why social networks don’t work (25:09): This article from TNW suggests that social media has failed as a community-building tool. Instead of acting as forums where ideas can get thoughtful discussion, they have evolved into noisy channels where ideas tend to get ignored and the majority of users are spectators. To fill the need for networking and idea sharing, many industries and markets have developed niche platforms tailored to the needs of their audiences. Robert and I agree that brands can build communities. But it requires a different mindset and culture than many companies are accustomed to.
2. Sponsor (34:36)
- This Old Marketing is sponsored by Widen Enterprises, a digital technology company that specializes in digital asset management. Widen is offering Great Visual Storytelling Takes a Village, a new white paper authored by CMI’s Robert Rose. Today, rich media experiences are paving the future of content marketing. This timely report explains how the four C’s – Collaborate, Customize, Communicate, and Connect – can help your business to streamline the management of its digital assets so you can scale your content marketing initiatives. You can download this report at http://bit.ly/pnrwiden.
- Robert’s rave: Robert loves an interview the American Marketing Association recently did with professor and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who contends that social media, Big Data, and digital technology are hampering rather than helping marketers’ abilities to connect with consumers. It covers a wide range of fascinating topics, including the effects of digital media on our online identities, the death of the traditional story arc, “filter failure,” and lessons for marketers. Robert’s interpretation of Rushkoff’s visionary musings? Content marketing just may save the world.
- Joe’s rave: During a recent vacation in Florida, I got a look at the gigantic construction site for Disney Springs, which is the company’s reimagining of the Downtown Disney theme park. The walls around the site were emblazoned with amazing quotes from Walt Disney, which got me thinking about the company’s remarkable culture. Disney has always made big bets, which have been backed up by amazing focus and execution, plus unwavering leadership support. In contrast, most of the companies I see today are playing it safe, maintaining the status quo. Now is the time to create amazing value for your customers, become indispensable to them, and leave your competitors in the dust.
4. This Old Marketing example of the week (49:10)
- Wild Kingdom: Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom TV show debuted in 1963 and ran until 1971. It starred Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler and featured amazing stories of animals and nature from around the world. As a prime-time syndicated program, Wild Kingdom enjoyed great popularity starting in 1971. Even in its earliest days, the show integrated promotions for its sponsor, voiced by Perkins. In 2013, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom premiered a series of webisodes that featured a new host, a new format, and new stories about the world’s wildest places and creatures. Kudos to the company for resurrecting this beloved TV show and reimagining it for a new online audience.
For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.