What’s Wrong with Advertising: The Case for Data-Driven Content Marketing

As content marketing has been practiced today, it resembles custom publishing. Companies tell stories that romanticize their brand, distributing those stories through various channels and amplifying them through social media. Content marketing has come to be more akin to advertising.

Let’s go back to the basics for just a minute. Here’s the definition we should all be starting with for content marketing, from the Content Marketing Institute.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer interaction.

So, as to our question — what’s wrong with advertising? Nothing, really. But I focus on the following part of the definition: “to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

The kind of content marketing that can punch up through the noise has two distinguishing features. It is data driven and inbound. At SoloSegment, our focus is on mining audience data–big data, if you must–and identifying what content will be useful in a buyer’s journey. We then utilize that data to provide the right content to the right customer at the right time.

You need to build content that will be clearly purposeful and useful in a buyer’s journey. If you do it well, you turn prospects into clients and clients into brand advocates. This method focuses on messages that are valuable to your clients, not about you.

Marketing from the outside-in attracts prospects to your digital experiences and helps them answer their questions about your products or services. If you do this in a way that respects people’s time and gives them value in exchange for their attention, you can guide them through the customer journey toward purchase, adoption and advocacy.

Advertising stops finding customers the moment you close your wallet, but great content can bring in new customers years after your paid for it. Is your content marketing still about get-attention advertising, or are you truly providing value?


About Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm.

SearchChat Podcast: Making Data-Driven Marketing More Human

It’s time for marketers to put humanity back in their marketing practices. Today for SearchChat, Steve Zakur and I discuss first whether you should be worried about government regulation. It seems some marketers have their head in the sand that it will never be an issue, others have their “paranoid” dial turned up to 13. People who have been giving away their data for free are tired of being abused. There’s an unease and distrust around privacy because that trust has been repeatedly violated. Is it the end of data-driven marketing, or does marketing need to get smarter?

We also talk about how White Hat vs Black hat isn’t just for SEO. Think about data usage. When you use personal data, are you trying to game the system or are you providing a benefit? It comes down to asking what the person would think about it, and if they are benefiting.

Meanwhile, we’re rolling our eyes at Zuckerberg’s latest take on Facebook and data privacy. Maybe Facebook doesn’t need the government to tell them how to better regulate — they need to better self-regulate. Has Facebook even earned a seat at the table?

Lastly, In Marketing Charts, B2B marketing leaders point out faults in the marketing message they get. All this and more, coming to you on SearchChat.

0:00 Intro

1:55 Government regulation — is it a threat to data-driven marketing?

7:10 Humanize data-driven marketing

15:07 The disingenuity of Zuckerberg’s Op-Ed

20:40 What content do B2B leaders find important?

27:25 Outtro

SearchChat is available on

Search Chat is SoloSegment’s podcast dedicated to all things search AI and content marketing related. Who is SoloSegment? We’re a technology company focused on site search analytics and AI driven content discovery to improve search results, increase customer satisfaction and unlock revenue for your company. If you think we might have the answer to your conversion problems, feel free to connect with us.


About Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the President of SoloSegment. An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, web development, search marketing, and analytics, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results. SoloSegment provides analytics that improve site search conversion and machine learning technologies that improve content effectiveness.