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Ep. 009 – Joe Pulizzi who had a successful exit on June 2016, tells about his book Killing Marketing and explains why we are doing marketing wrong.

Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi Show Notes

Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council.   Joe’s the author of four books, including his latest Content Inc.  His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.

Most passionate about today

  • I have a lot of passions, probably my family is the number one. I got two boys, 13 and 15 years old, they occupy as much of my time as possible these days. I also co-founded a foundation called the Orange Effect Foundation that basically re-raise funds for children with speech therapy needs. Most of those children are on the autism spectrum.
  • Starting on 2018 I’ll probably not do as much as I’m doing right now at Content Marketing Institute, the company I started on 2007 and had a successful exit on June 2016. Of course I’ll always stay involved with the Content Marketing World events and in the company, but I have a new book coming out on September 17 called Killing Marketing so I’ll be going and doing speeches all over the world and I’ll probably going to spend as much time with my kids before they go out to university.
  • Killing Marketing will be my 5th book, I’m co-writing this book with Mr. Robert Rose My co-host on our podcast “This Old Marketing” and the Chief Strategy advisor for Content Marketing Institute. Right now we are going to the final editing stages and the book will be launched in early September 2017 at the Content Marketing World event in Cleveland Ohio.
  • The idea behind Killing Marketing is the belief that we are doing marketing wrong and we should position marketing as a true profit center. You should set up marketing in such a way to build a loyal audience over time so you can monetize that audience.

Your company

  • I’m sort of the evangelist for content marketing. I‘ve been doing this for 20 years trying to talk to small and big companies about how they can build audiences through valuable content creation in order to see some profitable behavior changes. I started in the content business on 2000, started my own company on 2007 and we just had an exit on 2016. I still work in content marketing institute. We sold it to UBM the largest events media company in the world and It’s has been a pleasure working with UBM people.

Your customers 

  • For me personally I have a couple of different audiences that I enjoy working with, my last book Content Inc. was targeted to founders, startups and small-Medium business owners. For Content Marketing Institute our core audiences are marketing executives and directors at the largest companies in the world.
  • For Content Marketing World we will get Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and Google and large B2B business companies. This is the 7th year of Content Marketing World event. We started in 2011 hoped for 100 people and we were blessed to have 600 delegates coming to Cleveland Ohio, and this year we are going to have 4000 delegates from more than 72 countries all over the world.

Joe’s best advice about approaching the customer

  • I see things a little bit differently than most of the books and sought leaders around the entrepreneurial space. Most business have a really good idea for product or service and they structure the entire company around that product or service, and the problem is that most of the companies has to pivot and change everything. My belief is that a better way to launch your company is around a particular audience. It’s fine to have the great idea for product or service in mind, but let’s focus on the audience, on the customer’s needs what are their pain points, what keeping them up at night. And become the leading informational expert for that group of people that learn to know, like and trust you. That’s where the opportunity is.
  • That’s the most effective way to start a company today. That’s how we founded Content Marketing Institute. 
  • Instead of going out there with a product or service that probably isn’t going to be the right fit, focus on being the trusted advisor for your audience and then you can launch whatever product or services you want.

Biggest failure with customers

  • There has been so many.., the one most crystal clear failure was when I first started as entrepreneur, I had the most amazing idea in the world, it was a matching service for marketers around content, we developed an online matching system and we would match you agencies or freelance writers to help you with your content. We focused on that so much and I fail so in love with the product but we were bleeding cash, and then I saw all the feedbacks from our marketing readership that asked us for mentoring, training, templets and so many products and services…
  • So we did our pivot and built that audience and then we started monetize that, and we launched Content Marketing World and the podcast and grew from hundred thousand dollars to more than 10 Million Dollars in a few years.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach 

  • It wasn’t one thing. The success that we were able to build is bringing this community together of marketers and content creators. I remember the first day we hit 10000 subscribers, 10000 people that opt-in to receive our marketing, or when the opinion leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Seth Goldin and the like started to use the term Content Marketing that was a phrase we started to spread around… However, everything was about creating content specifically around a problem for a customer.

Recommendation of a tool for customer focus, marketing or sales?

  • It’s been happening for a long time. If you go back before 1990 there were only 8 ways your customer could get information. TV adds, Magazines, Newspaper, Radio, Billboards, Fax machine, those types of things. The conversation with the customer was owned by big media companies and by brands with very large advertising budgets. And it was like that for 50 years from 1940 to 1990.  The technological advanced happened along with Google and Smart Phones, where your customers became in control of their own buying journey. Because your customer can ignore us, they can ignore your advertising, they can ignore your terrible content, and they don’t care about what you want to sell. All they care about is their own needs.
  • The number one marketing tool is still email. I would absolutely focus on subscribers on email.

A person or a book who impact Joe’s “customer focus” success

The one last piece of guidance

  • I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, and in this notebook I made a list of my goals, my overall goals- life goals, and my annual goals that I want to accomplish. And I review those consistently. If I was to make a recommendation to your listeners it will be to make a practice and a habit out of reviewing your goals on a regular basis.
  • Start your day with: What am I trying to accomplish? What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? Write down your goals and review them on a regular basis and that will be a life changer for you.

Resources Mentioned:


More resources for Entrepreneurs

  1. Don’t Miss – Customer Focus Strategy & Execution: Market Analysis for Fundraising
  2. Hayut Yogev’s Latest post: Is there a chance you are missing your best customers?
  3. Former interview: With Chris Brogan, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books


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