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Does Successful Content Marketing Lead to Rising Stock Prices?


As many of you know, Robert Rose and I have been recording the PNR (Pulizzi and Rose): This Old Marketing podcast every week for three years now. At the end of every episode, we cover a content marketing case study. Some of the case studies are just a few years old, while other examples are well over 100 years old.

A few weeks back, our amazing blog manager Lisa Dougherty told Robert and me that she’d been listening to the podcast as sort of a “stock screener” to find companies to invest in. And from that one email from Lisa, the PNR15 stock portfolio was created.

Now before I dig into what exactly this is, I need to detail a few important points.

First, I am not a certified stock professional and am not recommending that anyone purchase these stocks.  If you happen to buy any of these investments, it’s on you.

Second, no one can prove a direct causal relationship between content marketing and stock prices. I hope to show, though, that delivering valuable, consistent communications to customers over time often corresponds to increases in the overall value of a brand.

Delivering valuable, consistent communications often corresponds to increases in brand value @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet

Third, none of what you are about to look at is scientific in any way. These company examples (and now stocks) have been curated from CMI’s community, from the #ThisOldMarketing listenership, and from Robert and me.

Long story short, this is a first pass. I believe that the way a brand communicates does affect the value of the enterprise, often in ways we can’t measure.  Looking at a public company’s stock price and market capitalization is one significant way to measure long-term value for shareholders. My hope is that, with further scrutiny at a later date, we can field a scientific study based on this simple concept.


Do public companies that consistently deliver valuable communication to customers perform better in stock markets than the average public company?

The PNR15 Stock Portfolio

The PNR15 is made up of 15 publicly traded companies listed on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges. After reviewing over 150 examples over three years, we limited the companies based on these criteria:

  • Must be a large enterprise with at least a $5 billion market cap
  • Must have at least two years of content marketing activity as defined by CMI

From there, we ended up with 15 fairly diverse companies, covering both B2B and B2C brands in a variety of industries including manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, financial, travel and tourism, technology, and health care. The companies included in the index are as follows:

Symbol Name
adbe Adobe
alle Allegion
amtd TD Ameritrade
arw Arrow Electronics
axp American Express
de Deere & Company
gis General Mills
goog Alphabet
intc Intel
intu Intuit
jnj Johnson & Johnson
ko Coca-Cola
mar Marriott International
pg P&G
shw Sherwin-Williams


Overall, the PNR15 outperformed both the S&P 500 Index and Dow 30 in a one-year and a three-year period. One-year PNR15 returns (Oct. 26, 2015, to Oct. 20, 2016) were 5.1% (compared to 3.2% for the S&P and 2.9% for the Dow). Three-year PNR15 returns (Oct. 28, 2013, to Oct. 20, 2016) were 21.6% (compared with 17.7% for the S&P and 13.2% for the Dow).


Under the hood

Below we list each brand in the portfolio, its PNR15 performance, and when it was mentioned on the This Old Marketing podcast or on CMI.

Adobe (ADBE)

One-year performance: 18.5%
Three-year performance: 49.9%
Content marketing example:
First on This Old Marketing: October 17, 2015


Allegion (ALLE)

One-year performance – 4.8%
Three-year performance – 34.6%
Content marketing example:
First on This Old Marketing: July 23, 2016


TD Ameritrade (AMTD)

One-year performance:  7.7%
Three-year performance: 24.5%
Content marketing example: thinkMoney Magazine
First on This Old Marketing: November 22, 2014


Arrow Electronics (ARW)

One-year performance:  4.2%
Three-year performance: 21%
Content marketing example: Arrow Purchases UBM Electronics Properties
First on This Old Marketing: June 29, 2016


American Express (AXP)

One-year performance: -11%
Three-year performance: -23%
Content marketing example: American Express OPEN Forum
First on This Old Marketing: March 28, 2014


Deere & Company (DE)

One-year performance: 10%
Three-year performance: 5.2%
Content marketing example: John Deere’s The Furrow Magazine
First on This Old Marketing: November 23, 2013


General Mills (GIS)

One-year performance: 4.4%
Three-year performance: 17.5%
Content marketing example:
First on This Old Marketing: July 4, 2015


Alphabet/Google (GOOG)

One-year performance: 10.6%
Three-year performance: 35.8%
Content marketing example: Think with Google
First on CMI: November 29, 2015


Intel (INTC)

One-year performance: 2.4%
Three-year performance: 31.3%
Content marketing example: IQ by Intel
First on CMI: September 11, 2012


Intuit (INTU)

One-year performance: 9.3%
Three-year performance: 33.9%
Content marketing example: (owned by Intuit)
First on CMI: July 28, 2011


Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

One-year performance: 13%
Three-year performance: 18.7%
Content marketing example: Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment
First on This Old Marketing: January 10, 2015


Coca-Cola (KO)

One-year performance: -1.6%
Three-year performance: 5.5%
Content marketing example: Coca-Cola Journey
First on This Old Marketing: December 7, 2013

Marriott International (MAR)

One-year performance: -13.7%
Three-year performance: 32.2%
Content marketing example: Marriott Content Studio
First on This Old Marketing: October 4, 2014


Procter & Gamble (PG)

One-year performance: 8.1%
Three-year performance: 3.7%
Content marketing example: Home Made Simple
First on This Old Marketing: February 15, 2014


Sherwin-Williams (SHW)

One-year performance: 10.4%
Three-year performance:  33%
Content marketing example: Stir
First on This Old Marketing: August 29, 2015


Should we expand the PNR15? What companies should we be talking about on the This Old Marketing podcast? Please let me know in the comments.

And again, invest at your own risk.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute