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This Week in Content Marketing: How Native Advertising Will Drive the Future of Owned Media


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 the rumors that Twitter may expand to 10,000 characters from 140 and debate what that means to brands (not as much as you would think). Next, we admire broadcasting giant Turner’s decision to turn its TV networks into one big platform for native advertising and brainstorm a big opportunity it could create for owned content brands. We disagree with an article that claims native advertising’s best days are behind it. Finally, we’re encouraged by a 2016 trends article that suggests the need for content will grow in 2016. But we’re also dismayed that only a small percentage of marketers treat it as a strategic asset. Rants and raves include Cisco calling digital marketing redundant, how brands are paying consumers to watch their ads, and a misguided article on how to launch a content business. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example of the week from Lincoln Electric.

This week’s show

(Recorded live January 8, 2016; Length: 1:01:35)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Twitter considering killing the 140 character limit (5:24): Since Jack Dorsey replaced Dick Costolo as CEO of Twitter in June 2015, he has made it his mission to turn the company around with big changes. The latest is the possible expansion of tweets from 140 to 10,000 characters. I think it’s a great change that Twitter should have made a long time ago. Robert is skeptical; he doubts it will improve the company’s results enough to matter. We agree that Twitter remains an essential channel for many brands, but wonder if it has a clear vision for monetizing its services.
  • Turner seeks to become one big native ad platform (16:34): Turner is looking to turn its TV networks into one big platform for native advertising, reports Ad Age. The cable programmer, whose channels include TBS, TNT, CNN, and Cartoon Network, introduced a new native advertising unit at the Consumer Electronics Show. Turner will work with marketers to replace traditional commercials with pods that tell a brand story. Robert and I discuss an amazing opportunity this type of native platform could create for brand marketers. This article is paired with the next one.
  • Publishers to hit bottom with native (22:29): The native ad “gold rush” peaked last year, with the likes of USA Today, Politico, and New Republic setting up units to develop ads that look like editorial articles and videos, says Digiday. But the good times can’t last forever. Native advertising has lost its shiny-new-object status and is now, like any form of marketing, under greater scrutiny. Robert and I disagree with this assessment; we’re convinced native advertising still has plenty of room for growth.
  • Top challenges for B2B CMOs in 2016: Customers, data, and content (27:48): Reaching Millennial customers, managing big data, and training people with digital skills are some of the top challenges for B2B CMOs this year, according to a virtual roundtable conducted by Ad Age. Robert and I are encouraged that all three panelists, either explicitly or implicitly, said content is a major priority for them this year. But we’re dismayed that the panelists didn’t seem to view it as a strategic asset that can create better experiences for customers.

2. Sponsor (34:27)

  • Demandbase: Today’s B2B marketers face a wealth of challenges. Even with marketing technologies to help them reach prospects and track results, most marketers end up focusing on tactics for execution and not the strategies those tools support. Fortunately, there’s a better path forward: It’s called account-based marketing (ABM). In this new e-book from Demandbase, you’ll learn actionable insights on how account-based marketing can pull together disparate resources into something that makes everyone in your company say “Wow!” To learn more about ABM, visit


3. Rants and raves (37:09)

  • Robert’s rave & rant: Robert loves an article from ChannelWeb UK, in which a Cisco marketing executive declares the term digital marketing redundant. He agrees with CMO Karen Walker, who says, “We’re no longer doing digital marketing, we’re simply marketing in a digital world.” In contrast, Robert is scratching his head over an article from Forbes titled How to Start Your Own Content Marketing Business in 2016. Unfortunately, it reads like a “get rich quick” pitch and fails to offer any practical advice to the reader.
We're no longer doing #digitalmarketing, we're simply marketing in a digital world via @KarMWalker Click To Tweet

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (52:48)

  • Lincoln Electric: In August of 1926, Lincoln Electric launched a newsletter for welders called The Operator’s Stabilizer. Its tagline was, “Published for operators who take pride in their jobs.” Its editorial philosophy was “teach, don’t preach.” Accordingly, its content included answers to customer questions and a column called “How I Did It,” where Lincoln customers would provide advice on how to do different types of welds. At the time, launching a newsletter like this was a major undertaking. Writing it, having it typeset, printing, and distributing it was very labor intensive. Despite those challenges, Lincoln published The Operator’s Stabilizer for over 50 years. It was discontinued in the late 1990s, but got a second lease on life several years ago when Craig Coffey, the company’s U.S. marketing communications manager, and his team resurrected it as Arc Magazine. The Stabilizer is an excellent example of #ThisOldMarketing.


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

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