I’m honored when people call Hammock Inc. one of the agencies that pioneered content marketing. (This month marks our 23rd anniversary.) However, I’ve always felt the term “content marketing” can be confusing when it’s applied to everything from blogging and social media to animated kitten GIFs. Unfortunately, when a term is used to label anything, it can start to mean very little.
From the current Hammock Idea Email: “As a marketer, you should be focused first and foremost on developing media and content that serve your customers, that add value to your products by helping fulfill the promise made when the customer purchased them. Everything else, all the social media and SEO investment, should be viewed as support for the only media you own and control: the content that connects you directly to your customer.”
(Continue reading: “Idea: Don’t Rein In New Marketing Opportunities
With an Old Marketing Strategy”…)
(See update at the end of the post.)
While I typically support efforts to add sanity to our overly-litigious culture that seems to encourage anyone to sue anybody for anything, I don’t think the lawyers at General Mills thought through the type of social media firestorm they would ignite by adding language to the company’s website alerting customers they can’t take legal action against the company if they’ve done things like download a coupon, enter a contest or, if read literally, liked on Facebook one of the company’s products, say, Cheerios or Wheaties or Macaroni Grill or Fruit Loops.
The 12 readers of this blog will recognize some themes in the essay about social objects appearing in the current Hammock Idea-Email. Also, thanks to my friend Hugh MacLeod for giving us permission to use his illustration to accompany it. More importantly, thanks to Hugh for introducing me to the idea of social objects several years ago.
Social objects come in a wide variety of forms, from cartoons to blog posts to 4-photo tweets. They are the hard currency of the internet, the beginning of a social exchange that creates and fosters conversations that lead to long-term, people-to-people relationships among those who go by such labels as buyers and sellers, shoppers and merchants, creators and collectors.
(Sidenote: Each issue of the Idea-Email contains one 300-400 word essay on an idea we believe will be helpful to a senior marketing executive. You can see an archive of past issues and subscribe to it here.)
Jeff Cornwall, Belmont University entrepreneurship professor and longtime blogger (The Entrepreneurial Mind), recently invited me to appear on the video version of his blog — a show that is produced by the Nashville-based web video network, Talkapolis (think Leo Laport’s TWit network with a southern accent). The episode was posted today. It was to visit with Dr. Cornwall and I appreciated the chance to explain the customer media and content focus of Hammock Inc. — and our role in the context of today’s marketing landscape. Here’s is an embed of the 10 minute interview.