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This Week in Content Marketing: The Real Cure for the Native Advertising Blues

pnr logoIn this episode of #ThisOldMarketing, Robert and I praise BuzzFeed’s simple strategy to consistently craft viral content and Louis Vuitton’s decision to launch an exclusive print magazine. We also talk about opportunities in custom print publishing; Robert shares one popular but risqué example. We weigh in on an Advertising Week debate on native advertising, and share Rebecca Lieb’s sentiment that content is much more than today’s marketing strategy du jour. Rants and raves include Jerry Seinfeld’s take-down of advertising and an ill-conceived rant against content marketing. This week’s TOM example: Dolce & Gabbana’s Swide magazine.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on October 6, 2014; Length: 50:19)

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1. Content Marketing in the news

  • Jonah Peretti Knows How To Optimize Content for Humans (3:19): “Would I share this?” That’s the simple question BuzzFeed producers ask themselves when trying to create viral content for the popular website. So said Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti at the recent SMX East conference, reports MarketingLand. Robert and I love what Peretti has to say about where the opportunities are in online publishing today, and how focusing on quality content can pay off in better search engine performance.
  • Louis Vuitton Launching a Magazine (10:48): The Telegraph reports that fashion icon Louis Vuitton is launching a print magazine that will be translated into 11 languages and will be sent to “select customers.” I predict we’ll see more brands moving in the direction of print to differentiate themselves. I also reveal why CCO, CMI’s print magazine, is so important to CMI’s strategy. Continuing with the theme of why we should be moving in the direction of print, check out the post below.
  • Print is Dead? Think Again, Content Marketers (14:12): Yvonne Lyons’ excellent post on the Right Source Marketing blog summarizes the advantages of a print magazine as an element of an effective brand marketing mix. Robert shares the example of the Pirelli Calendar, which this manufacturer has been producing since 1964. This risqué pin-up calendar is very exclusive; it’s only given as a corporate gift to a limited number of important Pirelli customers and celebrities.
  • Are Publishers Selling Their Souls with Native Advertising? (17:21): Forbes reports that the recent Advertising Week Conference featured a debate on the future of native advertising. Wenda Harris Millard, president and COO of media consultant MediaLink, argued in favor of native advertising, while longtime media critic Bob Garfield critiqued it. Robert and I agree on the biggest problem with native advertising (hint: it’s not transparency). We also concur that one group of companies needs to get smart on native advertising now – or risk losing business to publishers.
  • Beware of Narrow-minded Content Marketing (29:30): In a new post from iMediaConnection, Rebecca Lieb laments the rise of what she calls parochial marketing – the tendency of brands, agencies, and technology companies to myopically focus on the latest hot marketing channel. What’s more important is having a solid marketing strategy. Robert and I discuss the ongoing need for education to help brands get beyond the buzz surrounding content marketing.

2. Sponsor (33:50)

This Old Marketing is sponsored by Ektron, a global leader in digital experience management software. Ektron is promoting a new eBook, The 5-Minute Guide to Rebranding and Redesigning Your Website.


Why does a company decide to rebrand or redesign its website, and who sets the priorities? Companies tend to redesign their websites because they’re not meeting expectations for customer engagement, lead generation, and revenue. And, while IT used to set website priorities, now it’s marketing. This 5-Minute Guide explains more and can be downloaded at

3. Rants and raves (36:12)

  • Robert’s Rave: Last week, Jerry Seinfeld won a Clio Award. When he gave his acceptance speech, he also delivered a scathing, hilarious look at the world of advertising, according to AdWeek. Seinfeld joked about the ways in which commercials lie to us, so we’ll be convinced to buy crappy products that don’t live up to the hype. How does Robert tie this in with content marketing? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.
  • Joe’s Rant: Gerry McGovern, on his New Thinking Blog, goes into a full-scale rant about what he calls “content fake marketing.” He believes major brands are using content to manipulate consumers into buying products that aren’t good for them. He also claims too much content causes website clutter, which hurts sales. I disagree with some of the conclusions he jumps to, which imply that content marketing is categorically bad for brands and consumers.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (46:12)

  • Swide: Dolce & Gabbana has published a high-quality fashion magazine website called Swide for over seven years, which covers not only fashion but design, food, architecture, and art. Two years ago, the retailer launched a companion website, which contains not only content from the magazine, but also covers other topics and is frequently updated. In addition, Dolce & Gabbana has aggressively embraced social media. This is a wonderful example of a company that has evolved from a traditional print-only strategy to a print/digital approach that leverages the best qualities of each. Clearly, Swide is attracting many new Dolce & Gabbana fans with its hybrid marketing approach.


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

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