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This Week in Content Marketing: Apple and Amazon Race to Content Dominance


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

This week, Robert and I discuss Apple’s launch into the content creation business. We also explain why we feel publishers are still too focused on their channel strategies, and explore how Spotify’s launch into original podcasts could set it up to be purchased by Amazon in the near future. Our rants and raves include the future of print and the failure of advertising tech; then we close with an example of the week from a company that refused to go extinct.   

This week’s show

(Recorded live on February 18, 2017; Length: 1:06:39)

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1.    Notable news and upcoming trends

  • Apple launches a TV show, but won’t buy a media company (06:00): Planet of the Apps (which Business Insider has termed, “Shark Tank for apps”) is Apple’s first foray into the world of original content. According to Recode, the move is primarily a play to distinguish Apple Music from top competitor, Spotify. While I believe the company’s out-and-out denial that it’s in the market for a media company is merely a strategic deflection, Robert and I agree that it would be foolish for Apple to categorically ignore the tremendous opportunity that acquiring a media business could present.
  • Confessions of magazine executives (13:10): During this year’s American Magazine Media Conference, Digiday skipped the typical conference coverage in favor of interviewing attendees, asking for their perspectives on the state of publishing. One attendee expressed that the industry is five years behind in terms of what’s happening in digital monetization. However, I’ve been seeing that same statement for the last 15 years. Robert and I offer our thoughts on a particular rut that publishers are falling into, which keeps them from gaining ground in this area.
  • Spotify voices its interest in spoken-word content (25:30): Spotify is looking for music-related podcasts to help position it as a leading hub for both music and spoken-word audio content, according to Digiday. The article opines that picking up some high-profile podcasts might also serve as a valuable way for the music service to grow its revenue sources ahead of an expected IPO. In my opinion, this is a critical move for Spotify if it wants to stay competitive with Amazon-owned Audible, and may even position it as a prime acquisition for the e-commerce powerhouse.
  • The Onion “spills the t” on why so much content marketing sucks (32:43): The founding father of fake news gets real in this Contently post, where CCO Rick Hamann discusses what it takes for native advertising to truly be as resonant as the editorial content it’s placed with. Robert loves this article for its directness and simplicity. Meanwhile, I find this takeaway to prove the accuracy of Hamann’s principles: 90 percent of The Onion’s advertising deals now have a custom content component.

2.    Sponsor (40:00)

  • Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Events: Whether you are just getting started with content marketing or are looking to take your expertise to the next level, CMI’s portfolio of events has you covered. From our strategy-focused Intelligent Content Conference ­taking place on March 28–30 to Content Marketing World – the largest annual gathering of content marketing professionals in the industry – we offer a wide range of unparalleled training, education, and networking experiences. Check out all the events we have in store for 2017, including the launch of a brand new curriculum at Content Marketing University.


 3.     Rants and raves (43:20)

  • Robert’s reluctant rave: While he typically finds Bob Hoffman to be a little extreme in his views, Robert agrees with the spirit of this Ad Contrarian blog post, in which the author outlines all the reasons that advertising technology has become “a monstrosity that is stealing your money, harming your business, threatening your security, and alienating your customers.” It’s an interesting resource, and makes a compelling case for redefining marketing as we know it.
  • Joe’s commentary: President of the Association of Magazine Publishing Linda Thomas Brooks believes that 2017 will be the year of the print magazine – an assertion that she shared in an interview in Publishing Executive. While I disagree with her opinion that advertising will be what saves print, I do cite two key points as evidence of a real sentiment change when it comes to the value of this medium, including growing support for the trend of spending less time online.
  • Joe’s clarification: I asked my wife to marry me on Valentine’s Day in 1997. This year, I decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of my proposal with a Facebook post, in which I included a photo from our wedding. After a few comments and lots of confusion, it seems that I may have misled my followers into thinking that February 14 was our wedding anniversary. It was certainly not my intention to create what Robert has called, “the Kellyanne Conway of anniversary posts,” but it does serve as an important reminder to always be vigilant about maintaining the clarity of the information you publish.
Always be vigilant about maintaining the clarity of the info you publish, says @joepulizzi. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet


4.    This Old Marketing example of the week (57:43)

  • Sinclair Oil was founded in 1916 by Harry Sinclair. Sinclair enjoyed tremendous early success as an industrialist in pre-Depression era America, but got caught up in the Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s, which caused considerable damage to his name and led to the dissolution of his oil company. However, upon his release from a six-month jail sentence (for charges related to the scandal), Sinclair decided to take a new approach to rebuilding his brand: Trading on the popularity of the gentle giant Apatosaurus Sinclair had trademarked for his company’s logo, he built an exhibit of life-sized dinosaur models and featured them in an initiative to educate kids about how fossil fuels are created. The dinosaurs, along with the magazine he gave away as an associated teaching tool, became a big hit at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, leading Sinclair to take his exhibit on the road. Today, we can still see replicas of the company’s signature green dinosaurs all across the country, demonstrating how a brand can remain resonant and resilient – even in the face of a scandal – through the power of educational and informative content.

sinclair oil dinosaur

Image source

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

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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