Finally, we can remove the ampersand in the headline and get to true content marketing, one of the current “next big things” in marketing. So big, in fact, that it has its own mini trade association. Welcome to the Content Marketing Institute, which has a ton of, er, content on its site, but surprisingly nothing remotely close to a thorough definition of content marketing.
This is the best the CMI can do: “In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.”
With just a slight rearrangement of those words, you get what was, in the olden days, the idea behind marketing: make your buyers more intelligent about your products or services. In today’s world, of course, that’s been translated to the dirty word = “pitching.”
Yet, there’s no research we’ve ever seen that concluded buyers were looking to marketers to make them “more intelligent” in a general sense. Instead, survey after survey for B2B buyers, for example, show that the number 1 and 2 sources of information are the vendors’ websites and industry/trade websites. The latter takes care of the broader sense of buyer intelligence.
Research and data be damned, once again. Marketers are being convinced that they should own intelligence from beginning to end. And so we get things like BudTV; BMW Films; Evian’s curated “wonder” site (http://www.evian-thesource.com/) which we tore a new a&&hole into with this post and not surprisingly has been out of things to curate since then, over a year ago; or anything – anything – Intel has tried to do related to content marketing since 2008.
Better yet, by dressing it up as that other buzz-nozzle-word “branded content,” agencies can really get clients’ heads to spin. “You should be a publisher too !” But we told you yesterday how shaky the business of “original content” is for people who have been doing it for centuries. Why would someone whose forte is making potato chips expect to be good at publishing content about music, for example?
It isn’t branded content, where the focus is on random content, that will help marketers succeed. It will be content about the brand. As well as those dirty words – “your products and services.”