The Growth of Custom Content

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I'd say the subtlety here works for IBM. The site doesn't pretend that it's not sponsored, but neither does it ram "software, software, software" down your throat on every post. CMOs, of all people, will get turned off by such a blatant hard sell. But the audience knows that the links are there when they'd like to inquire.

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Well stated Ellis Booker. Couldn't agree more

John Barnes
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Many of us, however, both producer and consumer, do like to feel we can spell, even late at night and typing in a hurry ... consure for consumer tbey for they?  Sheesh! It looks like I was typing with a crowbar.

Nonetheless, Ellis's overall point here is excellent and it's probably the point for the next century or so of everything.  If you build something worth coming to, they'll come -- but part of what makes it worth coming to is the absence of toll gates and bill collectors.  You have to make the party good before you can network at it -- but one way you make it good is to try to keep the networking under control.  And it's actually in that balance that the value happens.

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you are never going to be so much smarter than the consure that tbey won't see the subtle, clever way you wove the marketing message in

John, I'm with you on that. Consumers don't like to feel they are being tricked, and lose loyalty to the brand that is trying to trick them.

Ellis Booker
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Naturally, I can't speak for the CMOSite or its sponsor, IBM. I'm just an invited guest here.

However, as other posters on this thread articulately point out, smart marketers and smart conventional media outlets share two characteristics:

1) A clear understanding of their audience, and

2) A respect for that audience's intelligence

The value proposition of sponsored sites like this one is that we don't pitch our sophisticated audience on this or that. Rather, we seek to engage them--with information and on-going discussions--and thereby hold their attention for the sponsor's collateral, be it banner ads or an extensive library of white papers. 

And I'm told by my betters that IBM is happy with its return on investment here. A win-win, if you will. 




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CMOsite & Content Marketing
nasimson   9/28/2011 8:56:30 PM

> Content Marketing is predominantly outward facing -- it is about creating content that will attract new customers for brands. Thanks for a neat distinction. So is CMOsite an example of content marketing?

John Barnes
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The problem for almost all ad-supported material -- most newspapers since 1900, most magazines, broadcast -- has been exactly what you say, that they're most valuable to advertisers if they are consumed and they flog the product, but most valuable to consumers if they just give clear, unslanted information.  It turns out the audience is not dumb; if you write about "Six Ways To Get a Date", and one of them is whiter teeth, and your sponsor is a toothpaste, they will notice.

The thing is, the audience isn't meta-dumb either.  If you put up enough of a wall between the info and the marketing, they will use that wall to make off with the info and skip the marketing -- they figure out the game right away.  Disentangling makes it trusted because disentangling removes the selling -- but then it doesn't sell.

There are really two solutions to this, neither of which involves trying to get the audience not to notice that they are being marketed to:

1. As in days of yore, remind people that if they buy from the sponsor, you can stay on the air (in print, on the web, whatever).

2. Or make the sell so appealing that people will  consume it for its own sake.  A surprising number of people read magazines for the ads, listen to radio for commercials (I actually flip away from dull songs looking for an interesting commercial, myself), and so forth.

But the first step is to figure that you are never going to be so much smarter than the consure that tbey won't see the subtle, clever way you wove the marketing message in.  We're mostly pretty smart, but so are the consumers.

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