Ted Simon Says

Marketing blog offering insights on brands, strategy, social media, technology, innovation and new products.

Branded Content – It’s STILL Marketing

Rose Image, Shakespeare Quote - Branded Content Marketing-It's STILL Marketing 9-30-13.jpg

One of my favorite marketing minds, Tom Fishburne, has done it yet again. This week’s cartoon from Tom, Branded Content, nails a current marketing issue right between the eyes. Every Marketing professional should take 60-seconds to enjoy Tom’s Marketoon and the message of today’s post.

The Problem Is...

The overall point: most of today’s content marketing stinks. Why? Because many marketers forget that they are marketers, seemingly losing sight of the very discipline and skills central to our profession and for outstanding, breakthrough marketing that achieves intended results.

Tom puts it succinctly in his post: It’s up to marketers to make the content into something more meaningful” (for the consumer). He also cites a great article from Joe Pulizzi, head of the Content Marketing Institute, entitled, Why Most Branded Content is Just Awful. (don't you just love that post headline?)

“The majority of content produced by brands through blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts, print magazines and webinars is flat out awful. In many cases, the content is self-serving, not useful and, maybe the worst, pointless.”

Joe’s diagnosis as to what underlies this awfulness?  Branded content frequently lacks strategy, focus, and accountability, three factors that can hobble the impact of content marketing.

It's STILL Marketing

Ted Simon Says: This is not a new issue for marketing and marketers. It's as old as Marketing itself...maybe even older, if we think about how long people have been telling stories (and how bad some of them have been for centuries).

Bottom line, if a tactic is to be considered as part of the marketing discipline, then the discipline of marketing needs to be applied to that tactic. In this case, the tactic is content marketing. In this instance, missing  strategic fundamental: understanding your customer/audience needs, wants, desires and providing them with information that is relevant and compelling to their lives and needs.

Joe’s quote is very apt for poor branded content. I would also say that his comments are also spot on for ANY tactical form of marketing that fails to apply such fundamental principles. Just substitute the words “TV commercial,” “print ad,” or “display ad” for “branded content”…the shoe fits. This should surprise no one who is a Marketer. And, yet it apparently eludes a great number of us.

Shakespeare is famous for the passage: “…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Branded content is a hot area and buzzword in today’s world. In our excitement, let’s not forget that by its nature it is still marketing and practice the principles we’ve learned makes for effective marketing. Otherwise, we’ll be able to coin a new phrase: “Marketing that forgets to apply fundamentals stink.”

Does anyone have ideas as to why the fundamentals are so often forgotten or ignored? If so, I'd love to hear your take on the matter.