market what’s


December 15, 2014
Content Marketing and the Customer Journey – Part I: A Definition
Jean Ban
Jean Ban

Content marketing has rapidly evolved as an integral element of brand storytelling. Over the last few years, content evangelists — like Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi — have created an army of advocates and content marketing has become a strategic imperative for virtually every integrated marketing program. To gage its universal appeal and interest, enter “content marketing” into an online search. More than 350 million results appear.

Content marketing drives action through storytelling.

As a starting point to understanding this discipline, the following definition comes from Pulizzi:

“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention-oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies, and include multiple buying groups.

Content marketing is comparable to what media companies do as their core business, except that in place of paid content or sponsorship as a measure of success, brands define success by ultimately selling more products or services.

In many ways, content marketing is the new generation of marketing communications made even more interactive and engaging. Bringing SEO tactics, social media and analytics into the content mix makes it easier to create conversations focused on the customers (you), and less on the company (me). Add the interconnectedness and linkability of websites, digital PR content, and e-marketing applications — and suddenly, marketing communications become a 2.0 model.

Content marketing works across all media channels.

The infographic below shows how all channels — paid, earned, owned, and social media — can “distribute” content in ways that are specific to that channel but still part of the same content universe. Also, how all of the channels interact and overlap to connect content to a customer’s information-gathering journey.


A content marketing infographic detailing its many facets.


NEXT UP — Part II: The Content Audit