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This Week in Content Marketing: A Scary Attempt at Defining Content Marketing

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

In this episode, Robert and I open Pandora’s Box of content marketing definitions and ponder if publishers can succeed with time-based metrics. We give some love to Mozilla’s new magazine and an excellent SlideShare about the reinvention of publishing for the digital age, but disagree with Snapchat’s approach on native advertising. Rants include a misleading infographic about content production costs and the Wall Street Journal describing content marketing as native advertising. We wrap up the show with a #This Old Marketing example from Scandinavian Airlines, formerly Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS).

This week’s show

                                                (Recorded live on October 27, 2014; Length: 52:18)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • What is Content Marketing? New Definitions (5:15): John Miller, writing in the Scribewise blog, says there is too much confusion over the meaning of content marketing. Most definitions – including CMI’s – are too broad, he claims. His definition is focused on creating and distributing “journalistic, audience-focused content that helps people do their jobs or live their lives.” Robert and I agree there are some big problems with Miller’s definition, which ironically is also quite broad.
  • Publishers Switching to Time-Based Metrics (13:42): Major publishers are interested in using time-based metrics to price and sell digital ads, according to a study from Digital Context Next. In other words, determining the value of an ad is based upon how much time customers spend on the web page hosting the ad, which implies engagement. Does more time equal better business results? Robert and I aren’t so sure.
  • Mozilla Sets Up The Open Standard As A New Publishing Outlet (23:06): Mozilla, developer of the popular web browser Firefox, has become a publisher with the recent launch of The Open Standard, which offers an alternative to mainstream news coverage of technology, privacy, government, and citizenship. Robert and I really like how it’s aligned with Mozilla’s mission of supporting open-source initiatives and business models.
  • Re-imagining Magazines For Data-Driven Times (26:42): Malcolm Netburn, chairman at CDS Global, takes a close look at how the publishing industry is being disrupted and is reinventing itself for the Digital Age in this SlideShare document. To survive, it must focus on cultivating a deeper understanding of its customers and providing more value to them. Robert and I agree this is a fantastic analysis of print publishing that is a worthwhile read.
  • Snapchat Says “No” to Native Ads or Did They? (31:09): Steven Perlberg, writing the CMO Today column on the Wall Street Journal website, reports that Snapchat is taking the high moral ground when it comes to native advertising. The popular app’s COO says its brand advertising will appear in a way that is less bothersome than native ads on Facebook or Twitter. But I predict the approach it describes in its blog will fail and the end result will be more of the same

2. Sponsor (34:40)

  • This week, 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 at

5mm_rebrand_cta (2)

3. Rants and Raves (36:34)

  • Robert’s Rant: Percolate and recently produced an infographic that claims to show the production cost of content, using Nestlé as an example. But the numbers and the assumptions that the infographic presents quickly get out of hand. If they were accurate, the consumer products company would need a staff of over 2,000 people to produce all of its content. According to Robert, this is a poorly-planned diagram that piles one bad assumption on top of another.
  • Joe’s Rant: The Wall Street Journal recently cited CMI’s research into B2C content marketing, which showed that only 23% of business-to-consumer marketers polled said they were successful at tracking the return on investment of their content marketing program. But then it goes on to equate content marketing with native advertising, which frustrates Robert and I. Unfortunately, this is a common perception of media and publishing executives.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (45:51)

  • SAS:  Scandinavian Airlines has been producing its beloved Scanorama print magazine for 42 years. But now, company Vice President of Marketing Stefan Hedelius and his team are launching a major new program to improve its customer experience by rethinking how it looks at marketing and communications. Scanorama will be replaced with a new in-flight magazine called Scandinavian Traveler, supplemented with other owned content pieces such as web TV, video, newsletters, and other digital channels. SAS hopes to increase customer engagement as well as attract new travelers to the airline. This is an outstanding example of a company that is blending the best of the old and new to create a remarkable customer experience, both online and offline.

Fullscreen capture 10302014 115821 AM.bmp For a full list of the PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

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