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This Week in Content Marketing: The Future of Content Marketing 2025


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

In this Mother’s Day episode of This Old Marketing, Robert and I discuss what advertising will look like in 2025 and what role content marketing will play in it. We take a closer look at a large but disjointed collection of research that says content marketing has a better ROI than native advertising. Finally, we explain why The New York Times’ growing digital business – which will soon reach 1 million subscribers – is a pretty big deal, even if its traditional print foundation continues to crumble. Rants and raves include a savvy cosmetics entrepreneur who has succeeded by building an audience first and then selling products, the critical importance of words, and an unexpected birthday gift. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Good Old Days magazine.

This week’s show

(Recorded live May 10, 2015; Length: 53:38)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Mad Men 2025: Ad leaders predict the future of the industry (4:28): As Mad Men brings its epic look at agency life in the ’60s and ’70s to a close, Ad Age asked today’s agency leaders what the popular cable TV show would look like if it were set in the future — specifically 10 years from now. Robert and I discuss our favorite predictions by agency executives and those that were clearly tongue in cheek. What’s surprising is how advertising-centric these predictions are; they barely touch on the role of audience development, storytelling, and the future of media during the next decade.
  • The ROI of content marketing vs. native advertising (10:38): As the efficacy of outbound marketing continues to wane, more and more marketers are considering native advertising and content marketing as viable alternatives, according to new research from Fractl and Moz. Based on their analysis of numerous data sources, they determined that the average content marketing campaign can deliver the same if not better KPIs than most native advertising campaigns. Robert and I question some of the correlations the researchers make between their disparate data sources. We also discuss what’s off target in their view of content marketing.
  • The New York Times will soon hit 1 million subscribers but does it matter? (26:23): The New York Times is poised to hit 1 million paying digital subscribers sometime this summer. But despite the $170 million in revenue The New York Times paywall generated during the last year, it’s not enough to offset the newspaper’s print losses, so says Re/Code columnist Edmund Lee. Robert and I agree that The New York Times’ situation isn’t as dire as this article would indicate. It has done a lot of experimentation with monetization models, and it will continue to do so. Besides, digital revenue is much more profitable than print.

2. Sponsor (34:02)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), an agency that helps organizations bring together the customer insight, design, and technology capabilities necessary to build delightful digital experiences. It’s offering a new report entitled Creating Connected Experiences that outlines seven essential digital experience competencies, shares relevant data and insights on the shifting digital landscape, delivers best practices for delivering digital experiences that differentiate, and provides tips and tools for mapping customer insight, vision, and content. Learn more at

connective-dx-report3. Rants and raves (36:42)

  • Robert’s rant: Robert is annoyed by a presentation at a recent PSFK event where an executive from Giphy, the largest search platform dedicated to animated clips on the web, claims words are a thing of the past. He says they are only good for one purpose – literal definitions – and animated GIFs should replace them as our primary mode of communication. Robert hopes he’s only kidding, but it’s hard to say. Robert closes his rant with a brief explanation of the connection between words and human intelligence.
  • Joe’s rave: I’m loving this article from TechCrunch, in which Glossier’s founder Emily Weiss explains how she built a successful cosmetics business by first building a blog and a sizable audience, and then launching products. I believe venture capitalists are starting to see a lot of merit in building an audience first, and then selling products on the back end. Hats off to TechCrunch for highlighting this innovative, content-first business model.
  • Joe’s rave: I’m touched by the CMI staff, who contributed to an article for the Content Marketing World blog entitled Happy Birthday Joe Pulizzi! Here Are #42 Things We Wanted to Say. Each member of the staff shared something they love about me. A number of key people from the industry and my past also shared their love, plus my two sons, Joshua and Adam. What a wonderful birthday gift!

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (47:07)

  • Good Old Days magazine: Launched in 1964, Good Old Days is the original nostalgia magazine, featuring reader-provided stories and recollections from days gone by. It continues to enjoy a wide audience. The Good Old Days lineup of products includes a sister title, Looking Back, a number of nostalgia book titles (including the Live It Again series) and The Good Old Days Store catalog. It is published by Annie’s, which offers magazines, books, kits, and supplies, online classes, and TV programming targeted to home and family interests, including crafts, nostalgia, and home décor. This traditional publisher, which started doing business in 1925, added e-commerce capabilities in the 1990s – far ahead of most publishers. Today, each of Annie’s magazine websites links to e-commerce websites that sell products related to its content. This is a fantastic example of This Old Marketing.


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

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