Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Carmen Gonzalez

Blog Feed Post

Content Marketing Should Never Be Advertising

The rise of the term Native Advertising seems to be causing quite a stir. This may very well be in creating a label that's inherently in conflict with itself. The main problem is with the word "Advertising." However, the concept of "Native" is headed in the right direction in regards to addressing context for audiences, rather than the unwanted interruption of ads.

Before anyone gets cranked up, let me explain a few things. I've been thinking about this for awhile. There are all kinds of reactions to the term Native Advertising, but I find most of them to be surface. We need to look deeper to how the model could work - without deception or trickery. Or any illusory benefits will fade fast. And marketers who don't consider this will find themselves on the short end of the stick. 

I haven't known exactly what I wanted to say about this, but I started thinking about it again when Scott Albro sent a Tweet to me, Joe Chernov and Jon Miller a few days ago.

What do content marketers think of this? Ad War: the Perils of Sponsored Content theatlantic.com/business/archi… @jonmiller @jchernov @ardath421

Joe responded with:

@scottalbro I feel very strongly that any attempt to deceive a reader is what Fred Reichheld would call "bad revenue" @jonmiller @ardath421

That really got me thinking. The content in the BuzzFeed example is clearly marked as provided by a company, it's shading is different and it's also noted that the item is from a "featured partner." Seems pretty straightforward to me that it's brand produced.

Is this really deceptive?

We've had Advertorials for years. Although, admittedly, the value of the content was usually more promotional than helpful. We now have promoted Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn ads and other forms of paid placement or sponsored content that's being inserted into real-time streams. [As a confession, I tend to ignore them as most aren't engaging, but appear to be more of a ploy for attention based on a false assumption.]

What about white paper syndication where the paper is promoted in a newsletter but the company sponsoring/providing the white paper isn't identified until after you've submitted information and downloaded it? I'd label this last practice as more deceptive. I see this method all the time.

Yet, no one is screaming about it.

Is it because it's email and not online? However it's done, syndication companies have made a nice living by taking fees in exchange for promoting vendor content to their audiences. Some more deceptively than others, of course.

Where's the line?

Mark Schaefer recently wrote a post, What comes after content marketing?, where he shared 4 ideas about how to become the signal rather than the noise in the content dumping ground that marketing is relentlessly contributing to.

What prompted his post was a post written by Mitch Joel where Mitch stated, "It is my belief, that content is the new advertising. It is my belief that content is media for many brands." Mark's response of "ouch" was felt by me, too.

But I see his point. Marketing crap is polluting the very channels that give us the opportunity to connect with our prospects and customers. If we screw it up, then what? I don't think returning to smoke signals is an option.

In his post, Mitch also states that channels, "...have become a pumping ground for a marketing message. Very few of them are thinking about utilitarianism marketing and even fewer are thinking about the overall experience of the products and services (or, as the news item calls it, the "design"). Marketers create messaging around campaigns. Few marketers elevate their thinking to a macro brand play and how it engenders the overall economic value to the business strategy."

This, I agree with. And that brings me back to my assertion that an Advertising mindset is the problem. At least in B2B and in regards to the need for content to be a value add for the audience's experience - provide "utility" as Mitch (and Jay Baer) both identify as the key to effective marketing.

Paid placement is not going away. Not while there's a business model for it. Brands need exposure and publisher's sites can provide an audience that matches a vendor's target market.

But, what's important is the kind of content marketers provide within the context the site sets for the audience. This is why it's so important to know your audience, develop an in-depth strategy with a long-term vision (not a one-off campaign) and create truly helpful and memorable content.

One of the top goals for paid placement should be to convert it into earned media. But to do that, the content you create and syndicate had better be damn good! In the audience's eyes, not your company's.

Maybe we should call it Contextual Content Placement, instead of Native Advertising. Maybe it's also up to the publishers to hold their paid placement customers to a higher standard before granting access to their audience. After all, their audiences are their key asset to monetize. Respect for them should be top of the list.

It's time to raise the bar!

Most definitely vendors need to proactively hold themselves to a higher standard. But this can be difficult when marketers haven't yet developed the skills and strategies to do so effectively. Here's your checklist:

  • One mention of your products or services and you're out
  • One mention of anything remotely resembling a sales pitch and you're disqualified
  • If you're content isn't deemed relevant for the audience, say goodbye.
  • If the content doesn't drive the bigger business strategy driven by customer experience, go back to the drawing board

Finally, if you can't articulate how the content will provide recognizable value for the targeted audience you seek, start over. Your reputation and credibililty is at stake.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, discussed how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from millio...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here