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This Week in Content Marketing: Is the Social Media Phase Over?


PNR: 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 and dissect nine marketing and advertising trends reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and why Fred Wilson believes the innovation in social media is dead. In addition, we discuss subscriber burn on YouTube, Forbes magazine’s decision to sell a second cover to AT&T, and what authenticity really means. Rants and raves include the clever #MAYHEMSALE from Allstate and an inside look at Marriott’s innovative content marketing strategy. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Johnson & Johnson.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on January 5, 2015; Length: 58:31)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • 9 Big Questions Hovering Over Marketing and Advertising (8:26): The CMO Today blog at The Wall Street Journal ponders what will happen to broadcast media and online marketing and advertising in the new year. Robert and I share our reaction to the predictions and share our takes on nine trends. The conclusion? We’re going to see another year of disruptions and acquisitions driven in part by evolving consumer information consumption habits.
  • Fred Wilson says the Social Media Phase of the Internet is Over (20:45): Fred Wilson, the world’s leading venture capitalist focused on social media, says it’s now a mature product category where very little innovation is taking place. Despite the rapid growth of social media during the last seven to eight years, Robert and I believe marketers are lagging behind. We agree that they must get smarter, faster on strategically employing these technologies to enhance the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives. Continuing with the “social media is dead” theme, check out the video below.
  • The Secrets Behind “YouTube Is Broken” (27:00): Matthew Patrick, author of the popular YouTube show Game Theory, explains how the video channel’s evolving algorithm is affecting content creators. Consistent engagement (greater watch time) is rewarded with greater visibility, “MatPat” points out. The reverse is equally true, which means uploading video content more frequently isn’t necessarily better. Robert and I discuss the biggest problem with YouTube’s subscription model, and one approach that could make it much more useful.

  • Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for Authentic Brands via Storytelling (38:45): Consumers love authentic products with stories that speak to handmade quality and timeless values, and reveal a brand’s rich character. Storytelling is an increasingly important element in cultivating a “real” brand that resonates with consumers, reports a recent article in The New York Times. Robert explains why he has a problem with the term “authenticity” and why storytelling is an effective strategy for companies of any size.

2. Sponsor (44:42)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Acrolinx. The Acrolinx platform helps the world’s most recognized brands create more engaging, more readable, and more enjoyable content. (Most people don’t even know software like this exists.) Their new eBook called Speak with One Voice answers critical questions about how you can make your content stand out and how to create a unique advantage in the content economy. You can register for it at


3. Rants and Raves (46:26)

  • Joe’s Rave and Rant: During the Sugar Bowl football game on New Year’s Day, Allstate Insurance debuted an episodic series of TV ads that draws attention to the dangers of oversharing on social media. It featured a husband and wife whose home was broken into by the Mayhem Guy; he then sold their items on a website called Kudos to Allstate for a very clever concept, but I think they missed a huge opportunity to get even more value from it.
  • Robert’s Rave: In this video from the Skift Global Forum, Marriott’s global marketing officer, Karin Timpone, explains the strategy behind its new content marketing initiative, which features a centralized, omnimedia approach to communications. She also talks about the central role of storytelling in cultivating customer relationships for each of Marriott’s 18 brands. This 17-minute video is required watching for content marketers, Robert advises.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (53:50)

  • Johnson & Johnson: It’s been widely reported by many blogs that the oldest known example of content marketing is John Deere’s newsletter, The Furrow. But Derek Halpern, author of the Social Triggers blog, has found one even older from consumer products company Johnson & Johnson. According to the book Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty, the company launched a publication called Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment in 1888. It was aimed at the needs of doctors, to whom it sold bandages. The company also launched two publications known as Red Cross Notes and Red Cross Messenger to share helpful articles with the medical community.


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

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