This Song ISN’T About You

“Marketing is about TELLING the world you are a rock star; Content Marketing is about SHOWING the world you are.”

The above is a quote from my friend Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute and it’s easily the most repeated phrase I use when introducing the concepts of Content Marketing – In fact I like that quote so much that I had a slide made up and with it on and have it hanging in my office.


It appeals to me on several levels, not least of which is that I’m a rock music fan and occasional historian with a particular interest in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

Robert’s right in that traditional advertising and marketing has been about putting on a glitzy show, in the hope that our potential customers will notice us. We have built a whole industry and profession around shouting “Look at me!” – We’ve been singing songs that have been about us.

When everyone is singing the same song to different tunes it becomes a cacophony, and the louder they sing it becomes a raucous din in which everyone’s message is lost.

The only way for you as marketers to cut through that noise is to stop singing about yourselves. It’s time to start singing about the things that help our customers achieve their dreams.

I developed a Mission Statement for how we want to deliver marketing content at Caterpillar that hangs on my office wall right next to Robert’s quote, it reads:

We will provide ENGAGING, RELEVANT, ACTIONABLE content that provides VALUE to our customers, enabling them to be successful in reaching their business goals.

Our aim is to make sure that the song we are singing shows our customers that we understand their business goals and needs.

A Rockin’ Quote to Kick Off 2014

It’s a year ago today that I officially started my current role as the Content Marketing Manager for Caterpillar. And what a year it’s been: I have learned so much in the last twelve months, both about myself, and about the challenges of introducing the idea of Content as an asset into a large global enterprise.

A lot of my time during 2013 was spent in what I guess could be termed “education mode.” Working with various business units and other groups around the company discussing how we can leverage the content they have, or are creating, to tell better stories about how we help make our customer’s around the world succesful.

The Content Marketing role is a new one to the organization, therefore it’s not surprising that one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked is “What exactly is Content Marketing?” – Over the year I’ve worked on and refined my answer, and have various responses in differing levels of detail depending on who is asking the question, and the context in which it was asked.

But what I’d never managed to do was come up with a simple one-liner.

A Twitter entry posted by Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute on December 26th solved my problem. Robert wrote:

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” — Robert Rose

Perfect. In fact I liked this quote so much that one of the first things I did on returning to the office today to start the new year, was print it out and pin it up on my office wall where I can see it every time I look up from my desk.

Thanks, Robert – and here’s to a rocking 2014.