Is “content marketing” redundant?

Marketing, Strategy Comments Off on Is “content marketing” redundant?

Content marketing is hot. But remember when marketing wasn’t all about the content? We don’t either. The familiar red and white Betty Crocker Recipe book in so many American kitchens is an iconic reminder that what we call “content marketing” today is marketing, and always has been. It’s about taking a brand’s value to a specific audience segment, with unique focus and appeal because of the particular connection the audience has to the product or brand, and vice versa. To now categorize that function as a sub-specialty of marketing seems counterproductive. It’s easy to get tangled up in the expanding marketing lexicon to the point of confusion about what is important.

A television spot designed to sell a particular can of beans off the grocery store shelf, for example, is retail brand advertising. The content of that commercial is critical, every second – even if it’s imaginary or conceptual. The content (tone, attitude, visual approach) will likely share a thread of consistency (be integrated with) other marketing content such as the point-of-sale display in-store or coupons circulating for cents-off on the 16 oz. bean can. Explaining to campers why beans are a convenient and nourishing food when camping – that’s classic content marketing. Publishing tips (today, a white paper) on how to prepare beans over a campfire, that’s content marketing. Get it covered on a national talk show and you have national network publicity – which has always been great content marketing, especially if they taste a spoonful and appear pleased. Stage a contest for bean lovers and that’s content marketing with an event/experiential angle – and is nothing new. Posting on social media, “nothing better than #bakedbeans around the #campfire, especially this recipe…!” is content marketing via social media. Delivering valuable content via social media adds value to the medium as much as it does to the authoring source of the information. No wonder it seems that social media has given birth to content marketing – it plays a major role and is a direct beneficiary. Although what we now call content marketing existed well before social media, the new media are indeed opening significant new routes and methods for appealing to the interests of customers. The opportunity to foster communities of like-minded people who share connection to a given subject, product or pastime offers marketing opportunity, perhaps more than ever before. Yes, it’s a great time for content marketing… and for marketing.

In content marketing (i.e., marketing), substance, quality and timeliness are keys. As the opportunity expands so do the perceived importance and value of virtually free content marketing, and the bandwagon is rapidly filling up with specialists. But what matters is what has always mattered – that the content (your marketing) offer appreciable value in its essential worth or in the manner in which it is delivered or executed that brings advice, enlightenment, joy, reassurance or some other benefit to the recipient. The semantics and hyper-specialization (fragmentation) of our industry should not cloud the truth. Content is marketing. Marketing is content. “Content marketing” is redundant. Better content is better marketing.

This link from offers more perspective on this topic and great examples:

Good Work. Great Work. Does It Even Matter?

Creative, Marketing, Strategy Comments Off on Good Work. Great Work. Does It Even Matter?

If pursuit of a great craft beer or gourmet burger is so widely respected today, why does pursuit of well-crafted advertising work seem so passe, even among many within the marketing industry? Good work says the right thing well. Great work says the right thing much better. It adds value to its subject. It strikes a chord that sets the communication and its product apart from, and above, its competition. It’s worth more. Should marketers strive to communicate through “great work?”. Here’s why.

The marketing function and its output are evolving with technology, as they always have. Some insist it’s not even about ideas and so-called “great work” anymore. Anyone with something to say via social media immediacy can be part of the marketing pop-culture and comment of the moment. Is it great work? One can shoot and post a timely photo. Is that great work? If it adds substance, focus or momentum to what originated as a great customer insight or creative idea – yes, it too could be great. Social media is inherently a derivative mode of communication via commentary on or sharing of something primary. Certainly, well-executed social media campaigns are adding measureable impact. But it doesn’t replace original thinking and the expression of a product, point or position worth commenting on or sharing – like the greatest gourmet burger on earth, or the tastiest IPA ever.

So look for the great original work out there. It’s the advertising you notice working harder and hitting deeper because it’s grounded in truth and fueled by a real idea, genuine effort and high standards. It’s the B2B that doesn’t feel like B2B, because it’s talking to people, not their titles. It’s the work that’s just right for its purpose, even if that’s not of grand significance or visibility – it fulfills its role well. There is no formula and no guarantee. Even the most accomplished talents in advertising know great work is difficult, elusive and may never happen for them again. They know budget is a factor, but not the biggest factor; that not every piece of great work will win an award, or even be considered. And they know what those of us out here trying every day should not forget: there is a difference, and it does matter. And it’s still worth going for “great work” over good work any day, and every day.


Strategy Comments Off on Columbia-Tusculum

There is a lot to like about doing business on Airport Road in our home community of Columbia-Tusculum photo, on the eastern end of Cincinnati. Traditionally referred to as the East End, it’s a diverse, urban neighborhood – one of the region’s oldest actually, dating back to 1788 – with an interesting character and energy. Columbia-Tusculum is a mix of new retail, new and older residential and office development, emerging out of one of Cincinnati’s oldest industrial neighborhoods, where steamboat and railcar manufacturing once thrived. Humble residences share the block with 1940s storefronts and other commercial properties, from small offices to machine shops, small manufacturers and distribution businesses. The hills rising above the main road, Columbia Parkway, feature some of the finest, most colorful rehabs of circa-1800s homes in the city. At the far eastern end – in an area once known as “Turkey Bottoms,” is Lunken Airport, established in 1930 it is still considered one of the finest municipal airports in the country. Everything from private, recreational aircraft to ad-banner planes to blimps to corporate jets fly in and out of Lunken daily, characterizing this end of Columbia-Tusculum as active and vital.

Truth is, it’s a step back in time – and a pleasant one. As loud and active as the area is, serenity permeates. Perhaps it’s the popular jogging and biking trail surrounding the airport or Reeves Municipal Golf Course that settle the place down. Or maybe it’s the timeless style, friendly staff, comfy menu and regular clientele at the Sky Galley Restaurant, nestled inside the art-deco style Lunken Airport Administration Building, that make the area a bit of an emotional oasis. To us at Kucia And Associates on Airport Road, the whole scene is a work of art. Our own building, in fact, was an aircraft parts warehouse serving the area’s aircraft hangers. In our immediate neighborhood there exists a genuine sense of a business community at its best. Mostly small to mid-size firms, arriving early, working late, trying to make a go of it. You hear planes, trains, trucks, cars, ambulances, conversations on the streets, motorcycles and not just in the distance. We know the mail carriers, UPS and Fed Ex drivers by name. Across the way are our friends and clients at Abrasive Specialties – where grit happens. Across the street is Tom in the specialty ad products business who, when asked how business is, typically yells from across the road, “Still bobbin’ and weavin’, that’s all you can do.” I could continue, but I have work to do.

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