Ad Agency Hate for Content Marketing

I feel like writing a blog today and I need to be writing more often. Instead of diving into some research though, I'm going to shoot from the hip.

There's a lot of anger going around social media these days. I'm in Houston, TX and it's March of 2020, so you can only imagine the Astros hate I'm forced to endure daily on my various social platforms.

Also, we're all very aware of the unpleasantness around politics these days on social media. There's no need to go into that too much, but I try to avoid reading political posts and comments as much as I'm able. It just sours my mood to see it, read it and hear it, even when it's the side I agree with.

What I can't avoid though is the arguing between traditional marketers and more new-wave marketers about the most effective way to reach buyers. Although I don't like the term "new-wave" when applied to marketing, I'll use it now to hopefully get my point across.

Why are we fighting???


I've been working in Advertising and Marketing professionally since 1993, that's a long and somewhat painful 27 years (😜). There are many others with more experience than me, but I do feel like I've been in the business long enough to have seen many sides of this discussion and to have a valid opinion on it.

I've worked in small, traditional ad agencies; large, traditional ad agencies; a mid-sized direct marketing firm focused on loyalty marketing; the marketing department for a small, international company and now myself.

adWhite is an inbound marketing agency, but you could also call us an online, digital or a content marketing firm. I won't take offense to any. In fact, call me an ad agency or a marketing firm or whatever, as long as you pay your bills and occasionally thank us for our work (amirite?).

Lately I've seen more traditional branding or general advertising folks blasting content marketing. They blast Gary Vaynerchuk and all he preaches. Many more speak of the evils of Facebook and Google (there is some evil here, but these "services" still provide great value). They argue that creating content online is stupid and ineffective. They imply that content marketing is done without design or research thought.

Listen, you don't have to love Gary V or any other of the newer content kings on the Internet and you don't have to agree with their philosophy (for the record, I love Gary). But, you do have to agree that there are many, many ways to reach prospects. Many ways to define target audiences or ideal buyers.

Here's the thing. As marketers we need to go where our client's buyers are. All forms of marketing are still effective, from TV to radio to outdoor to print, trade shows, direct mail, and certainly not least, online (all forms, including social media). Some are just more effective than others and that's based on what you're promoting and who the intended audience is.

What I've discovered is that inbound marketing is extremely effective for business-to-business transactions that require some thought, a deeper investigation - a considered buy. This is the opposite of an impulse buy. And yes, social media and email play a role in this. Actually, so does PPC (I can hear you gasping now).

But guess what, trade shows still actually work for some companies. I know, crazy, right? And get this, Super Bowl ads still work and can be pretty beneficial to the brands that run them. Oh, and guess what, billboards still work and so do QR codes and the list goes on and on.

I cringe every time I see a billboard that says something like "Does advertising work? It just did!" The billboard people assume that because I saw the billboard I actually will buy from that business. We all know that's not necessarily the case, but outdoor advertising is still effective to some degree.

My plea is that as marketers we all agree that there are many different channels you can utilize to reach your target audience/ideal buyer. There are also various levels of design that appeal to different prospects.

Content marketing works and I for one believe that it will be around for a while. There are people who really do surf the web to learn all about the products and services they want to buy. Web content of all kinds meets these prospects where they are online - reviews, social media, videos, Google results and more.

There's only so much creative you put into Google results, but it's still an art to word your one statement correctly to get the prospects attention. This is very similar to the precision required in a great ad headline or tag line.

My goal is to help my client's businesses grow. I also love metrics. In the old days it was target rating points, now it's website sessions, bounce rates, time on site and online conversions.

So lay off us, ad folks, we're not all that different from you after all. You may be forced to come to the dark side of content marketing one day, so you don't want to give us too bad of a name before then. I bet most of you never thought you'd build a website for a client, or design social media pages or even do direct mail, and you've done all of you're already more like us than you care to admit!


Taylor White

About the author - Taylor White

Small Biz Owner, Inbound Marketer, Husband & Father, Sports Fan β€” The Glass is Half Full!