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This Week in Content Marketing: Influence, Innovation, and Imitation

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

In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss the top 10 brands on LinkedIn’s content marketing scorecard. In addition, we chat about an IKEA fan site gone wrong, reaching millennials with content marketing, and whether or not we can really tell if online ads are working. We then offer our thoughts on how prepared CMOs are to tackle digital marketing transformations and whether PR is a more successful discipline than content marketing, before sharing this week’s #ThisOldMarketing example from Albert Heijn’s supermarket chain.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on June 23, 2014; Length: 1:02:02)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • LinkedIn Offers Up List of Most Influential Brands (2:56): Forbes, the World Economic Forum and Inc. Magazine top the list of the 10 most influential brands on LinkedIn, according to the professional networking site. The ranking is derived from a content marketing score created by LinkedIn. Robert and I speculate on why 50 percent of the companies that made the list are publishers. We also discuss the one surprising element that the most successful brands seem to have in common — something that most marketers don’t spend enough time cultivating.
  • Ikea in a Tiff With a Popular Fan Site (11:29): Gizmodo reports that Ikea has delivered a cease and desist order to fan site IkeaHackers over the use of its brand name. On this popular website, Ikea fans share stories and photos of their mods and hacks of its iconic products. Robert and I talk about the realities of trademark law and how that may have played into Ikea’s seemingly heavy-handed decision. We also agree on several strategies that may have enabled it to sidestep a PR disaster, and what brand marketers should do to avoid a similar fate with their own fan sites.
  • Do Ads Actually Work Anymore? (21:39): This fascinating article from Slate covers several recent scientific studies that show that online ads are a waste of money for large brands, and that it’s nearly impossible for them to accurately measure the return on their ad investments. Robert and I agree that many marketers put too much investment in the wrong part of the sales funnel and discuss where it should go instead. We also talk about consumer brand preference, and why it ought to have its own separate content marketing strategy.
  • Content Marketing for Millennials (31:56): A new report from Yahoo and Tumblr (in partnership with Razorfish and Digitas) aims to help marketers understand the views of the digital native generation — and the content marketing strategies that will resonate most strongly with them. While Robert didn’t find that the guide revealed much that was new or groundbreaking, I was surprised to learn the staggering amount of content it says millennials consume — considerably more than I would have suspected.
  • Launching a Fake News Site (36:54): Last week, Onion Inc. launched ClickHole, a site that satirizes some of the most successful viral content hubs, like BuzzFeed and Upworthy. Folio Magazine recently interviewed Onion’s President Mike McAvoy about this new fake news site. Robert is impressed at how quickly the site moved from concept to launch, compared to the average gestation times for most brand web projects. I share a simple approach that brands could adopt to move this quickly, too.

2. Sponsor (42:48):

  • This Old Marketing is, once again, sponsored by Emma — email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new webinar entitled, The 8-Second Challenge: Email Marketing for the Shrinking Attention Span. You can download it at

example-8 second challenge

3. Rants and Raves (44:27)

  • Robert’s Rant: According to a new Accenture study, highlighted on, 99 percent of CEOs lack confidence in the ability of CMOs to lead the digital transformation of their companies. It’s clear to Robert and me that CMOs need to think more strategically about the problems that need solving — and draw in the right people to help them do so — rather than functioning in a vacuum when it comes to investing in marketing technology solutions.
  • Joe’s Rant: Chad Pollitt from DigitalRelevance reports in a blog post on Huffington Post that content marketing is 88 percent less effective than public relations. I believe these findings are misleading because it assumes the two disciplines are in an either/or relationship. In reality, successful brands do both.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (57:04)

  • Albert Heijn B.V.: Albert Heijn B.V. is a supermarket chain founded in 1887 in Oostzaan, The Netherlands. The stores are full-service markets known for their focus on quality products. The company publishes a magazine, Aller Hande, which was started in 1954 and now has a circulation of over 2 million people. It’s filled with high-quality articles about recipes, food preparation, farm produce, and more, and is available for free in stores (if you want to receive it at home, you can do so via a paid subscription). It’s a superb example of producing content that is so good, customers are willing to pay for it. 

aller hande magazine cover-stacked food

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

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