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One of the great marketing con jobs of our time is "content." According to the Content Marketing Institute:

"...content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling... Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes them more intelligent"

Yeah, that's exactly what the public is waiting for -- the online ad industry to make them more intelligent.

There are certain words that make my skin crawl and my brain explode. And "content" is one of them. It is a meaningless term invented by bullshit artists to add gravitas to mundane marketing activities.

They do not say they are writing a tweet, or a post, or a newsletter, or a recipe, or an e-mail or uploading a link or a photo -- they say they are creating "content." It's so much more enchanting.

Yes there are some people working in "content" who are very good and who I respect. They produce worthwhile stuff and are not full of baloney. But they're a minority. Most content is just online detritus blowing around the dusty corners of the web with no one paying any attention.

The problem is, anything you can upload to the web can be called "content." An old pizza crust is garbage. But upload a picture of an old pizza crust to Facebook and, bingo..."content."

Last week, a marketing analytics firm called Beckon reported some statistics about content that should sober up even the most delusional content maniac:

     - 19 of 20 pieces of content (95%) get little to no engagement

     - Because of the amount of time, energy and man hours it takes to produce this stuff, non-working dollars (the cost of production) among Beckon's clients (Coca-Cola, Gap, Microsoft, HP, StubHub, Reebok, Converse, NBC Universal) was up 50% last year. One marketer actually produced 50,000 pieces of content. If my math is right, that's 137 a day -- including Christmas.

     - 90% of engagement is lavished on 5% of content. (Mostly, I'll bet, on content from brands that have spent billions on traditional advertising to make themselves successful.)

     - The amount of this crap produced by brands tripled last year. Did someone say lemmings?

Like social media marketing, content marketing is founded on the delusion that consumers are in love with brands and want to "join the conversation" about brands and hear "branded storytelling."
Not in this lifetime.

As someone once said, Marketers Are From Mars. Consumers Are From New Jersey.


My Favorite Martian

“Our brands will need to practice continuous storytelling, leveraging brand strengths, trending topics and cultural triggers to create content calendars around topics and insights relevant to consumers.”  - CEO, PepsiCo Australia.

You can't make this shit up.


I'm Converting To Irish

On Monday, The Irish Times ran a nice feature about my recent talk at the IAPI/ADFX awards in Dublin.

You can read it here.


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