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The Content Marketing Industry’s 15 Biggest Milestones to Date

content marketing milestonesI’m a history buff. When major events happen, I try to look at the event through a historical lens.

I found myself doing that this week, after hearing the news that content marketing platform Compendium was purchased by Oracle. To mark the occasion, I’ve put together a listing of what I feel are the most significant developments that have rocked the content marketing industry (in date order).

1895: John Deere launches a custom magazine

The Furrow magazine is often considered the key point that marks the birth of content marketing. This print publication is now the largest circulated farming magazine in the world, delivered monthly to over 1.5 million famers, in 12 languages, to 40 different countries.


1922: Sears launches World’s Largest Store radio program

The station helped keep farmers informed during the deflation crisis of the 1920s with content supplied by Sears’s Roebuck Agricultural Foundation. 

1930s: Procter & Gamble (P&G) begins foray into radio with serialized dramas

This extremely successful initiative, featuring brands such as Duz and Oxydol detergents, marked the beginning of the “soap opera.”

1950–1980: Mass media takes hold

Content marketing takes a back seat to mass-driven advertising efforts, bringing about a boom in newspapers, radio, and television advertising.

1987: LEGO launches Brick Kicks magazine

LEGO Club magazine (initially launched as Brick Kicks) is now delivered to millions of LEGO Club members around the world.


2004: Microsoft launches the first major corporate blog

Born from the unintentional efforts of Microsoft engineers, Channel 9 became an immediate success. Today, the video blog still goes “in the trenches” to cover what Microsoft engineers and creators are working on that are of interest to the company’s followers.

the defrag show-microsoft

2005: The content marketing books start flooding in

Starting with David Meerman Scott’s Cashing in with Content, the industry starts to see a number of impactful content marketing titles, including David’s next book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR and our own Get Content Get Customers. Additional influential titles include Content Rules, Content Strategy for the Web, Managing Content Marketing, and now, Epic Content Marketing.

2007: Red Bull develops The Red Bulletin

Red Bull, the media company that just happens to sell energy drinks, launched its official magazine, which now has over 5 million subscribers. How’s that for a content asset?

red bulletin-red bull

2007: BlendTec uploads its first Will It Blend? video

The viral sensation leads to a 700 percent revenue growth for the blender manufacturer. BlendTec’s YouTube channel now has over 600,000 subscribers.

2008: AMEX launches OPENForum

The American Express content platform focuses on financial, marketing, and operational solutions for small businesses. AMEX now gets as many new credit card inquiries from this platform as it does from any of its other efforts.

open forum-american express

2010: Content Marketing Institute is born

CMI launches with the sole goal of advancing the art and science of the practice of content marketing. CMI now has over 60,000 subscribers, hailing from nearly every country on the planet.

2011: Coca-Cola Content2020 hits YouTube

Jonathan Mildenhall architects Coca-Cola’s content marketing strategy and makes it available for the world to view.

2011: Content Marketing World debuts

Content Marketing World launches in Cleveland, Ohio to over 600 content marketers from around the world. This year, more than 1,700 marketers, from 42 countries, came together at CMW to rally around the practice of content marketing.

2013: buys ExactTarget

The former CRM platform joins forces with the email marketing software firm — which also owns Pardot, the marketing automation play. Salesforce immediately becomes a key player in the content marketing realm.

future of marketing-salesforce+exacttarget

2013: Oracle buys Compendium

The database-software company now positions itself in the middle of the content marketing revolution by purchasing a pure content-marketing platform.

oracle rundown

Content marketing’s future keeps progressing at the speed of light

Just as I was working on this post, Kapost, another content-marketing platform, sent over an excellent infographic that lays out the progression of content marketing technology. Here it is below.

Brought to you by Kapost (click for full view)

What additional milestones would you add to this list?

Want to make your own mark on the future of the content marketing industry? Read Joe Pulizzi’s new book, “Epic Content Marketing.”