Content marketing is bringing me out in a rash

A client told me recently that she was putting some of her marketing on hold because they needed to “get to grips with content marketing before they targeted new clients“.

No, no no.

ALL marketing is content marketing.

If anyone can give me an example of marketing which doesn’t include content, I’ll buy them lunch.

I read something from the DMA last week which proudly stated that we are in an age where “content is everywhere”. What, you mean compared to a previous age where content was nowhere? A content vacuum? I don’t remember that age.

What’s the fuss about?

Of course, as businesses, we should provide information that is useful and relevant for our clients and prospects. It should also be interesting. David Ogilvy was doing that in the 1950s.

Giving customers useful information is not news, and yet somehow Google is full of half-baked truisms that make the mind boggle:

I don’t know who we can thank for the timeless wisdom of “90% of customers find custom content useful” or “31% of customers expect brands to publish content” (both from Googled infographics about content marketing stats) but it’s hardly the kind of insight that would have Confucius contemplating a change in career.

I find the whole thing so endlessly tedious.

It’s no surprise that the people behind the pseudo-science are encouraging people to part with their hard-earned cash so they can help them with, you guessed it – content marketing.

Is any of this content working?

The DMA last week wrote, “Content can of course be ‘measured’ in terms of views, likes and followers, but actually calculating a return in terms of ROI proves to be rather elusive.

The author of that piece went on to cite just one example, from Dove, whose “mentions, likes, views and columns inches are through the roof – but its profits are in decline.”

Bizarrely, that piece then concludes by suggesting that we should look at content marketing “through a long-term lens and not judged in terms of instant ROI.

That kind of woolly thinking is going to get us all in trouble. We’re not sure if it works, and the only example I can find is of it not working, so we should continue with it in case it works in the long term.

And this is from the Direct Marketing Association. God help us all.

I have no problem with businesses creating useful, relevant and interesting content that their customers find engaging – we do some ourselves. But that’s just marketing. It doesn’t need a new name. It doesn’t need a new breed of agency. It needs marketeers with a drive to understand their clients’ businesses. People who will measure results.

Businesses like the client I mentioned at the start of this post certainly won’t benefit by stopping other marketing activities because they want to get to grips with content marketing.

That’s nothing short of commercial suicide.

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