What Game of Thrones Season Finale can teach to marketing people

August 30, 2017 · 3 mins read

A lesson from Game of Thrones. If you didn’t see the final episode of the season 7 of Game of Thrones, no worries, you won’t find any spoiler. I promise.

Whenever you watched or not the last episode of Game of Thrones, John Snow said something very interesting in this episode. His claim is not really important for the scenario, no worries, but it’s a very good advice for a lot of people, especially for people working in marketing.

Game of thrones

Game of thrones

Game of thrones

Marketers are not journalists

Unlike journalism, where the essential principle is the truth based on facts, marketing goal is to promote a product or a service.

Marketing is not about truth and fact. At its best, marketing is about distilling the essential benefits of something into brief, memorable words, phrases, and images that evoke strong emotions to slip into the minds of an audience.

But the line between journalism and marketing became more blurred than ever. Journalism becomes more and more about entertainment, and marketing, especially « content marketing », becomes more and more about long-form content, trying to make marketing people looking like experts in their domain (and, obviously, turn more leads into sales).

And that’s a problem. Because marketers are not journalists. They try to be like them, using the same style, to make their content looks like journalists content. But it’s a lie. Because journalism and marketing don’t share the same principles and values. Then, content marketing is a fraud.

I read a very interesting comment on Reddit (yes, sometimes you can find interesting stuff on Reddit 😇) about content marketing: Content Marketing is Broken: Why it’s so damn hard to learn anything these days.

The main idea of this post is about how content marketing is ruining our ability to learn online because of the SEO-driven content, often useless. Content is just created to promote something using SEO technique, and not to try to share an expert knowledge or experience. Sadly, content marketing doesn’t use SEO to have more traffic and share something valuable. It’s just about traffic and visibility. The content value is poor. Then, it becomes more and more difficult to find quality content. And to learn.

So, the end result of all this is that content marketing is too often useless, and it’s a lie.

Marketing Ruins Everything

This sentence is (regrettably) well known.

For me, if you want to think in a long-term way, you have to be honest with your audience. It’s not a business principle, it’s a global principle. Do not try to abuse of something, because if something is not balanced, you can be sure it won’t last.

Content marketing is actually a great solution to promote a product or a service. But if you use this too much, and in a biased way, it will stop working. Because you fool your audience. Quality over quantity is a better strategy than quantity over quality.

And to come back to Game of Thrones, as John Snow said:

When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.

Let’s create better content!

I will end my article in a positive way, quoting the solution proposed in the Reddit comment linked above: let’s create better content!

  1. Encourage masters to create more content.
  2. Discourage useless posts.
  3. Better curation.
  4. Ask people who’ve done it before for advice.

I’m not a marketer. I have nothing to promote. I just share my point of view. So you won’t find any call to action in this article 😉.

This article is a criticism of the biased use and abuse of content marketing. It’s not a criticism of content marketing itself. Keep in mind some people and companies try their best to create useful content. But sadly, in my experience, that’s not the majority of cases.

Clément Barbaza
Business owner, consultant, developer and project manager.

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