Content Marketing: is it SEO or SMO? (SMX Paris)

It is not a simple “either… or…” question we decided to deal with on SMX Paris this year together with Erick Hostacy from Yourastar. My background is Search Marketing whereas Ericks background is Social Media.


We decided to deal with the subject in a provocative way. I would be the SEO-man and Erick would be the SMO-man. Each of us introduced the subject explaining how “Content Marketing is SEO” and “Content Marketing is SMO” to then alternately present our Proof Case Studies illustrating our case and making nasty allbeit almost politically correct comments on each other’s cases.

I have extracted my part of the presentation below and will embed Erick’s presentation if he decides to publish it also.

Thanks to our moderator Annie Lichtner and thanks to Erick for a session people seemed to enjoy.
We had a lot of fun 🙂

SMX London 2013


15-16 May 2013 – Search Marketing Expo London

I will be presenting a case study from BDBL MEDIA and also moderate several sessions:
» Ready, Aim, Fire… Then Retarget!

Death of Marketing

When I graduated from business school back in the last century, the Internet was just starting to expand beyond army and universities. The commercial internet was emerging. I tried the best I could to apply what I was taught in my Marketing courses to this new thing that came upon us, the World Wide Web. I tried to apply Kotler”s 4 P’s to this new world with very limited success:

  • Price – nope, it’s free.
  • Product – well not quite, more like a service.
  • Promotion – wasn’t the promotion a bit within the Product?
  • Place – euh…

If you would like to explore the old world of marketing check out this Wikipedia page:

Old fragments of Marketing

Set aside Philip Kotler’s Marketing theories, there were other things I had been fascinated by in Business School. For example something called Network Marketing – this was an approach to interaction between big suppliers and big client organizations where you would analyse and influence according to the network of people within the organizations. This of course had strictly nothing to do with the other network, that of interconnected servers across the world where the humans were on the outside and the machines on the inside… Much as I admired and respected my tutor, his opinion with regards to the Internet was close to disgust. Relations should be between people, not between computers.

Another branch of Marketing I had found extremely interesting was that of Retail Marketing and I found a few elements I could transpose to this new world: Entry Marketing, Exit Marketing and the notion of “customer flow” within a commercial oulet – store or supermarket. But still the rules-set did not really seem to apply to the Internet.

So, what else can you do when you are a bright young graduate with great adventures ahead than to proclaim the Death of Marketing. This projection was quite simple: the old framework did not apply to the new economy and the new economy would gradually replace the old economy so the old framework was necessarily dead. The King is Dead, long live, euh who? What?

How do you Proclaim in a World with no rules?

I should have probably written a book about it but would that make sense in this new world? I couldn’t be sure that a “book” wasn’t already an obsolete means of commundeath of marketingication anyway. So I stuck to a simple web site format. It was not my first website and a part from its proclamation, it didn’t really have an objective: there was no price, no product, the place was anywhere in the world where someone would consume it and the promotion was absent.

Little did I know that I had just committed my first act of what would later be known as Content Marketing at that stage…

In 2013 the Information Society has indeed changed our world and a new form of marketing is gradually emerging. It is strongly anchored in Contents and their Distribution on the Internet. I will be describing my view of this new article in a future post which is likely to be entitled the Digital Lotus.

Internet Marketing Basics in 1997

In 1997 I wrote some articles on Internet Marketing. This was before WordPress. It was before Paid Search, before Facebook, before Twitter and it was before there was any real market on the Internet. My articles were optimised for Netscape Navigator and a 640×400 screen resolution. This article picks up the themes from the state of Internet Marketing in 1997.

“A Web presence may only be a part of your communication strategy, but for some (bright) companies, it has become a part of their marketing strategy, and for other (brilliant) companies it has become a part of their global strategy.”

In 1997 the word on the street was already “Content is King” but most companies would not have understood that a real revolution was under way. Building a web site was a must – nobody questioned it and therefore didn’t really know what to do with it once they had it. When you had a web site, you were on the internet and anyone in the world could find you.

The main themes in Internet marketing in 1997 were clearly focused on the strategic position of this media. Web sites were built on the basis of a printed Graphic Design as if they were brochures and budgets were established for the creation of a Web site only. Once it is launched you will have visibility for ever.

At the time there was little thinking beyond the Website. Few companies would have an Internet Strategy with defined landmarks and objectives.So what did Internet Marketing look like back then? The below model was my view of the matter at the time:

  • Entry Marketing: getting the visitors to your website
  • Exit Marketing: optimising the outcome of the visit

All of this still exists today although the names are different. Instead of Entry Marketing we talk about Acquisition or about Inbound Marketing and instead of Exit Marketing we talk about Engagement or Conversion Optimisation. This same chart would look something like this today:

Inbound Marketing
(Entry Marketing)

  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Partners and Affiliates
  • Display
  • Emailing
  • Social Media Marketing
Engagement and Conversion
(Exit Marketing)

  • Personalisation
  • Live person engagement
  • Contests
  • Content marketing
  • Conversion optimisation

2 big things have changed in 2012. 1) Big Data. The amount of data available for marketers has exploded and 2) Interweaving channels. Communication channels are interweaving and the Zap generation of “fragmented consumers” are constantly changing their behaviour within Digital Media.

Digital Marketing is no longer about optimising a structured path of Economic Man through an Internet Funnel – it is about wiring contents for maximum distribution and it is about constantly tweaking multiple levers on the basis of thousands of data points to maximise the value users take from content and bring back to brands, rock-stars and products.