By Joe Pulizzi published March 15, 2014

Why We Shouldn’t Drop the Phrase “Content Marketing”

pnr-this old marketing logoPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

Robert and I discuss South by Southwest’s identity crisis, and chat about the latest media trend of “Travoltifying” everything. In addition, we learn that print is back, yet again, and rant about people who rant about the phrase “content marketing” before tackling our #thisoldmarketing Example of the Week: Energy University.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on March 11, 2014; Length: 58:32)

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Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • SXSW Is Now About Marketing, Not Tech (2:00): Signs point to Austin, Texas’s annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference focusing less on tech and more on marketing innovation. Has SXSW jumped the shark, or is it simply reflecting the evolving face of business (contributing article: AdAge)?
  • Should Brands Be “Travoltifying” Their Content? (6:00): The popular meme that plays off John Travolta’s mispronunciation gaffe at The Academy Awards has proven that jumping on the trend of gamified content can be good for the media — but what’s the play for brands (contributing article: The New York Times)?


  • Red Brings German Philosophy to Marketing (11:32): Red, the German agency built on anthropology, has taken brands like LEGO and Samsung to new heights by doing something novel: focusing on things that are meaningful, rather than simply interesting or newsworthy (contributing article: BusinessWeek).
  • There’s Opportunity in Print (19:39): Print is making waves with a number of niche, vertical publishers. Print is definitely not dead, but are there also opportunities for non-media companies? Robert and I say, “heck, yeah!” (contributing article: The New York Post).
  • These Things Are Not Content Marketing (27:35): Robert rebukes an article about what content marketing is — and is not — while I think it hits pretty close to the mark. You make the call (contributing article: Business 2 Community).
  • The Next Phase of Content Marketing Is… (35:45): While we are certainly seeing an evolution in content marketing, Robert and I discuss the validity of an article’s assertion that these changes can be categorized into particular, definitive phases (contributing article: Search Engine Watch).

2. Rants & Raves (45:41)

  • Joe and Robert’s Shared Rant: This week, Robert and I both rant on the same topic: a Chuck Richard piece (which we are unable to gain direct access to) entitled, Can We All Just Agree to Drop the Phrase “Content Marketing”? Together, we make a compelling case on how the term correctly characterizes our industry, and why it should remain in place — until something better is found.

3. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (54:03)

  • Schneider Electric’s Energy University: Energy University is a free, online education resource that provides vendor-neutral courses and other information that helps organizations improve their energy efficiency. Energy University currently has over 350,000 active users, and more than 800 courses are taken every day.

In addition to serving as a helpful resource, Energy University also generates millions in lead opportunities globally, as courses are translated into over 13 languages. Moreover, these leads are often unique to Schneider’s database.

energy university-rotary compressor

To view a full case study on Energy University, click here. Schneider Electric will be presenting this case study at Content Marketing World 2014 in September.

Here’s where Joe and Robert will be in the next few weeks:

For a full list of the PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

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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.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Hashim Warren

    Another great episode, Joe and Robert. This is not only my favorite marketing podcast, it’s my favorite podcast, period.

    About dropping “content marketing” : I hope it doesn’t happen. My boss understand the term and so do my clients. And fire that reason we should keep it

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Hashim…so much appreciate…and of course I totally agree with you on the second part.

    • Robert Rose

      Wow… thanks so much Hashim…. We really appreciate that… And, yes, if only because we have a common way to refer to it to our colleagues it deserves to stay…. Cheers!!

  • davanna

    Another great and educational podcast. thank you. 🙂

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Wonderful. Thank YOU!

  • Cindi

    I get a kick out of the podcasts, thanks for great episodes. Also – THANK you for the show notes with time stamps…can’t even tell you how happy that makes this nerd. (Makes it easy to come back and jump right into the gold I want to find.)

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hey Cindi…glad you like the time stamps. We started adding them about 8 episodes ago…

      • Dr. Anthony C. Edwards

        Couldn’t agree more about the time stamps. It really helps making longer podcasts more consumable. I’ve heard some people say that podcasts should be no longer than 20-30 minutes. Including the time stamps makes this guideline somewhat irrelevant and helps people see the value of sticking around. It also helps listeners who want to listen to a more detailed discussion instead of the highlights. It might help to include a a sound or some transition to help people who access the podcast somewhere other than the website or are on the go. Great podcast, though.

        • Joe Pulizzi

          Great idea…I’ll give that some thought. Really appreciate the comments.

  • Carlos Abler

    Re: the use of “Marketing” in Content Marketing. In our organization the term marketing is strongly correlated with the commercialization of products. In my rhetoric I talk about content being the product. In other words just as our products should have value as driven by the helpful benefit provided in helping our customers achieve their needs and goals, so does content marketing add value through a marketed resource that benefit the CRM lifecycle. So marketing as a term is helpful here as an analogy to what we do with the products we sell.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      So helpful Carlos. In my experience, if you don’t put marketing in it, the marketing leader doesn’t take it seriously.

  • Douglas Burdett

    I couldn’t waste time verifying this on Snopes – I heard that the first person to notice that on the first episode of PNR where the term “native advertising” is not mentioned, you win a ticket to CMW14. Just leave ’em at the Will Call.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Are you serious? That’s fantastic because we just recorded the next one and said “native advertising” like 50 times 😉

  • Lorna Breault-Snyder

    Thanks for the Energy University mention…thrilled to be the Example of the Week. Looking forward to speaking and meeting with everyone at Content Marketing World in September!

  • Paige Penningroth

    This has probably already been said and I assume CMI has covered it extensively, but it is so apparent that businesses are hyper-confused about the difference between social media and content marketing. Content marketing has always been around. Social media has heightened content marketing’s status and game because it is an easy and effective way to disperse information. Social media is simply – in so many words – a distribution method.

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