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This Week in Content Marketing: A Content Marketing Approach Is Strategic, Actually


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

In this episode, Robert and I debate a TechCrunch article’s claims that content marketing isn’t actually strategic. We also go inside Accenture’s efforts to become a worldwide leader in content marketing, and explore Facebook’s latest attempt to enhance the ad experience from both sides of the equation. Rants and raves include Blab’s decision to go silent, and the benefits of automated content creation. Lastly, we follow We Energies’ cross-country search for Christmas cookie content in our This Old Marketing example of the week.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on August 14, 2016; Length: 01:01:35)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • How Google Analytics ruined marketing (8:18): Could everything you know about digital marketing be wrong? An article on TechCrunch contends that marketers in the high-tech world are failing to understand the basic principles that distinguish marketing strategies from marketing channels and marketing content, and places the blame squarely on the shoulders of Google Analytics. While there are a few parts of the discussion we do agree with, Robert points out that the author’s overly ambitious argument suffers from some flaws in logic, and falls short of making its case due to a limited understanding of Google’s measurement capabilities.
  • Inside Accenture’s $600 million content business (20:28): Accenture is betting big on its commitment to provide clients with world-class content strategies — including making the decision to open a 10,000-square-foot content studio in New York City last month. According to Digiday, the management consulting firm’s latest moves are motivated by a recent survey, which found that 90% of senior marketers believe that a company’s C-suite — not agencies — should own its content. Robert feels this is a dangerous carrot to dangle in front of marketers, since it positions content operations as a commoditized service, rather than emphasizing the importance of quality in the equation.
  • Facebook cripples ad blockers while giving consumers more control over the ads they see (29:20): Facebook is implementing new settings that simultaneously make it easier for users to customize their ad experience, while making it harder for ad blockers to work on the site. As reported in AdAge, Facebook’s preferences will now show users which advertisers are targeting them, and present them with the option to stop receiving ads from those brands. While I’m always encouraged when social media motivates advertisers to create better content, Robert views this effort as an uneven exchange, as only a very small percentage of users are likely to access the new controls.


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2. Sponsor (35:36)

  • Content Marketing World: Don’t miss the marketing event of the year, taking place September 6-9, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Join brands like LEGO, Bank of America, and Google, as well as other industry thought leaders, as they share insights, advice, and practical tips to help you address even your most complex content marketing challenges. Register to attend and use code PNR200 to save $200 off the price of registration.


3. Rants and raves (38:16)

  • Robert’s rant: Robert struggled to comprehend the conclusions drawn in this eMarketer article, in which a study by Forrester Consulting tries to correlate the automation of content creation with benefits like greater engagement, loyalty, and emotional impact. He reiterates his above-mentioned concerns about the growing commoditization of content, and asserts that leaps of logic like this may be responsible for the mistaken impression that marketing success could really be engineered with a set-it-and-forget-it level of precision.  
  • Joe’s rant: Live video chat platform Blab has closed its doors with little fanfare — and even less advanced notice to its users, according to this post on MarketingLand. Beyond the implications this might have on the live-streaming video space in general, I consider it to be yet another in a long line of cautionary tales about the dangers of marketing on a platform your business doesn’t own or control.
It’s dangerous to market on a platform your business doesn’t own or control says @joepulizzi #ThisOldMarketing Click To Tweet

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (53:31)

  • We Energies: For the better part of the last century, We Energies — a utilities provider that services Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula — has produced an annual collection of cookie recipes. The Holidays Across America cookie book comprises 51 recipes — each one contributed by a resident of a different state (plus the District of Columbia) who has personal ties to Wisconsin. What started out as a simple way to teach families to use the new electric appliances that were being introduced into their homes (which cleverly encouraged them to increase their electricity use, in the process) has grown to serve as the centerpiece of the company’s multichannel community outreach platform. Today, the cookie book is distributed to more than 200,000 community members each year; and We Energies also shares related content on its website, in its email newsletters, and across social media. The cookie book has become such a beloved tradition among families in the community that the annual release of its distribution schedule alone is worthy of local media coverage. By emphasizing a relevant activity that its audience enjoys, We Energies found a way to get people excited about using its service, and to view its value in a whole new light. It’s a great This Old Marketing example of how to enhance customer satisfaction through engaging content.

we-energies cookie book

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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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