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October 8, 2013


A Motion to Kill Content Marketing

by Tom De Baere
The word "content" in Content Marketing deserves more credit. Will you vote ? (image from  Amsterdamnewspolitics)

The word “content” in Content Marketing deserves more credit. Will you vote ? (image : Amsterdamnewspolitics)

Whenever I talk to fellow marketing managers about Content Marketing, I feel as if the word “content” in itself just kills the whole conversation.

When the word content is used, people think of text. They think of paper, copywriting, layout, online and print. Some are more informed, and know that content marketing is more than the output of content creators.

Content marketing is all about providing customers with answers to their questions. The format in which these answers are delivered to them is irrelevant. By providing these answers, you lift your brand to become a company that is seen as a go-to-resource for knowledge and insight. By providing these answers you become a trusted party to which they’ll turn to when they have a problem, a question, an opportunity.

And doing that, my friends, is scary stuff for marketers.

A shift to customer centricity

I just feel it. Marketing is ready for something new. Advertising as we know it is dying. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to break through the massive amount of channels and information out there. How are marketers of today going to reach their audience when nobody is listening anymore?

The answer is, surprisingly, rather simple. More and more marketers are becoming aware of the change they need to make to their marketing. Thanks to a new wave of inbound marketing forces in our industry like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua and the likes. And thanks to thought leaders like Jay Baer, Joe Pulizzi, David Meerman Scott, Seth Godin, Joseph Jaffe, Lee Odden, Robert Rose, …

Today our industry is moving to what matters for your customers. Customers are fed up with promotions. They are fed up with spam. But they embrace companies that mean something to them. They embrace companies that help them solve their business issues. They love to interact with companies that help them to improve their business.

That type of marketing, my friends, is meaningful marketing. Hail hail to marketing that provides the answer to declining banner click-through rates, declining brand equity and in the end declining revenues.

Instead of focusing on marketing that is needed by your company, focus on marketing that is wanted by your customers. This type of marketing focuses less on selling, but more on buying.

This type of marketing operates right at the centre of what matters to your customers. Find out what matters to your customers, relate that back to what you can do for your customers, and provide him with marketing that brings them to you while at the same time solving their business questions.

A motion to kill content marketing 

I don’t know who invented the term Content Marketing. Most probably we can give that credit to Joe Pulizzi, the famous founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and author of multiple best-sellers.

But the issue remains. The word “content” as in “content marketing” just kills the whole conversation about where marketing is going to. Although content marketing has the same meaning at its core as meaningful marketing, the word “content” doesn’t give the concept the credit it deserves. Content marketing deserves more credit. It’s bigger than content. 

Sales and marketing are changing because of the informed social customer. Marketing and sales systems, teams, and organizations will need to adapt in order to survive in this new reality. And content marketing is the fuel to get all of this going.

Adopting meaningful, instead of content

If you are with me, you know you’ll have to change your mindset about what marketing is about. You’ll need to inspire, train and guide people within your marketing and sales teams about how to behave in this new reality.

But please, vote my motion to kill the content in content marketing. It just doesn’t give content marketing the credit it deserves.

Warm regards,


P.S. Voting can be done in the comment field below ;-)