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This Week in Content Marketing: Is There a Crisis in Content Marketing?

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

In this episode, Robert and I debunk a supposed crisis in content marketing and lament ad agencies’ ignorance of its strategic importance. We reveal what’s behind the current resurgence in podcasting and defend Verizon’s right to exclude topics from its new online publication. Rants and raves include CNET’s savvy decision to launch a print magazine, Kraft’s moves to combat click fraud, and a poorly researched article on the “content advertising” media gold mine. We wrap up the show with a #This Old Marketing example from Altair Engineering.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on November 3, 2014; Length: 51:29)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Is There a Crisis of Confidence in Content Marketing? (4:17): David Dodd, in a recent column on, wonders if content marketing will soon start to wane because marketers aren’t confident in their ability to measure its results. Robert and I don’t believe we’re facing a crisis. Rather, the problem of measurement is common to all forms of marketing today.
  • Is Digital Age Burying the Advertising Industry? (12:46): In 1994, prior to the rise of the web, the CEO of Procter & Gamble predicted a future where advertising would be displaced by new media suppliers who would provide consumers with ad-free content in return for usage fees. Twenty years later, this article in Industry Leaders magazine reviews what actually happened. Robert and I believe most ad agencies still don’t understand content, and predict what will happen if they don’t figure it out. Unfortunately, large agencies are getting distracted by the drive to get bigger. The most recent example: Publicis buys digital ad firm Sapient.
  • What’s Behind the Podcast Renaissance? (20:33): New York magazine takes a closer look at the history of podcasting and the reasons behind its current resurgence. According to Edison Research, 39 million people listened to a podcast in the last month, the highest number on record. I explain what makes the audience of this form of content so valuable. Robert reveals the biggest key factor to producing a successful podcast (hint: it has nothing to do with technology).
  • Verizon’s New Content Marketing Tech Website Hits a Snag (28:48): Late last month, Verizon quietly launched an online publication, called SugarString, devoted to “thoughtful tech-focused stories.” But according to Ad Age, it quickly ran into trouble when an email from its editor was leaked to the Daily Dot, which said the site is forbidden to cover two topics: espionage and net neutrality. A spokesperson from the wireless carrier quickly denied this claim. Robert and I agree that this issue is much ado about nothing, and explain why it’s a non-event.

2. Sponsor (33:18)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Emma – email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new report entitled Automation Demystified: A Modern Marketer’s Guide to Email Automation. You’ll learn how to create undeniable value for subscribers, welcome new subscribers without creating new content, and boost conversions with timely sends based on life cycle milestones. You can register for it at

guide-to-automation-emma image

3. Rants and Raves (35:22)

  • Joe’s Rave: The New York Times reports technology website CNET has launched a print publication of the same name. It will be sold on newsstands for $5.99; the inaugural issue will have a circulation of 200,000. What I found most exciting about this article is a quote from a CBS interactive executive, who says the company supports a multi-platform approach to its brands – including print.
  • Robert’s Rant and Rave: Robert gives kudos to Kraft, which says in an Ad Age article that it is rejecting 75-85% of its digital ad impressions due to concerns of click fraud. Robert loves its approach to gathering and analyzing data about customer behavior, which represents a huge strategic asset. His rant is with another Ad Age article, Media Companies Strike Gold with Sponsored Content. It tosses around terms like native advertising, sponsored content and a new one – “content advertising” – with abandon. He says it’s a blatant case of careless reporting.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (45:30)

  • Altair Engineering: Design engineering company, Altair Engineering has published its excellent Concept to Reality magazine since 2004. Contributed articles from industry experts cover innovative product development technology trends, solutions, and processes. Altair launched Concept to Reality to help its sales team gain greater access to engineering decision makers. It currently has a circulation of 50,000 professionals in executive and engineering management. Robert points out that it’s an excellent example of targeting content to the people who influence the purchasing process. Hats off to Altair for its decade-long commitment to this publication.

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

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