Adopting a holistic view of the content marketing space gives marketers an edge — efficiently. It’s easy with the right framework.

illustration by Ron Lent, Creative Director

written by Ken Kraemer, CEO

Many marketers equate content, traditional advertising and “online video.” It makes sense: it is both convenient and comforting to believe that you’re covering all of your marketing bases across the rapidly proliferating expanse of messenger, mobile and social platforms by lumping the many kinds of content along with more traditional advertising methods: commercials, videos, print ads and even packaging descriptions.

While there is a great deal of overlap among the different classes of marketing assets, to simply check all boxes with one blunt mark is leaving a lot of value on the table. Case study after case study shows that creating and distributing high quality, native content that is channel aware leads to outperforming of benchmarks.

The challenge remains, though, that prioritizing budget and effort can be daunting. Marketers need a new framework for thinking about content and advertising so they can be deliberate and intentional with their marketing plans.

As the content marketing space has evolved out of social media marketing, we’ve started to look at it using such a framework. By thinking methodically and holistically about intent and approach — e.g., are we going to use hard-sell messaging and a big media budget to drive perceptions, or are we going to demonstrate the variety of ways to use our product to create consumption moments — we can devise a well considered strategy that ensures effective use of resources and budget to optimize results.

Here’s how the framework breaks down.

We start with two axes. The horizontal axis plots the role of the brand at left vs. the role of the consumer at right. Are we talking heavily about the brand or product? Are there targeted words we’re driving into the brand’s equity? Or is this more about fitting the brand into consumers’ lives, or making the brand relatable and integrated into their rituals?

The vertical axis talks about marketing purpose, plotting narrative-led, top-of-funnel campaigns at the top and production-led direct response, lead-generation and tactical programs at the bottom.

When we look at the four quadrants the intersections of these axes form (see chart on the next page), we begin to see distinctive areas that, depending on creative and production methods, can generate incremental value for marketers either within a large campaign or as standalone initiatives.

Of course, any kind of framework-based decision-making runs the risk of getting too cerebral or analytical; all content work should live and breathe the brand personality, be consume-focused, extend business goals and work within the brand’s ecosystem of communications. Nonetheless, by considering these four quadrants and creating briefs and creative purposefully in the areas that make sense for the brand’s marketing strategy, marketers can realize efficient, incremental value.


As brands consider allocation of scarce resources, it is important to look holistically at the content space and align content types to brands’ strategic purposes. By considering the content marketing framework, marketers can optimize production and media budgets to effect improved results.

Maker studio. Creative group. Editorial newsroom. For a world where people make and consume more content in a day than their grandparents saw in a lifetime.

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