The Spot EP19: Content Marketing, Art, Gaming, and More


Ready, Spot, Go

In this episode of The Spot, Doug Davidoff, Juli Durante, and, George B. Thomas break down their thoughts on the topic of content marketing, their thoughts on the right and wrong type of content, the option of just creating, what gaming has to do with it all and so much more.

Buckle up, this one gets bumpy along the way.

That Hit The Spot

Below you will find the supporting actors of this week's podcast episode. Dig in and learn more about content marketing and your possible business strategies and content mindset in the future.

Until We Spot Again

Make sure you connect with The Spot team. Let us know your thoughts on the shows so far.

  • Juli: @realjulid
  • Doug: @dougdavidoff
  • Max: @maxjacobcohen
  • George: @georgeBThomas

Make sure to use the hashtag #sprockettalk or #thespotpodcast.


About the Expert

The Spot Hosts

Juli Durante is an always-curious marketer interested in the big picture of marketing and sales to help companies drive big revenue. A HubSpot user since 2011, Juli’s deep understanding of inbound marketing campaigns furthers Impulse Creative’s mission of helping businesses grow better.

Doug is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development. He’s directly advised more than a dozen companies who have successfully sold for a combined value of more than $1 billion.

For more than 20 years, Doug has been advising small and mid-market companies that are committed to serious growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it. Doug’s worked, firsthand, with more than 1,500 companies (and seen their financial statements), so he knows the difference between what works, and what sounds good and doesn’t work.

Max Cohen started at HubSpot in 2015 as an Implementation Specialist on the Customer Onboarding team after four years on Apple's Business Team.  He joined HubSpot's Learning and Development team as a Product Trainer in 2018 and is currently a Facilitator for HubSpot Foundations, which is HubSpot's new hire onboarding program.  When he's not coaching new HubSpotters on the HubSpot product and the Inbound Methodology, he coaches New England Infamous, a competitive paintball team.  You can learn more about Max and find ways to connect with him by going to

George B. Thomas is an Inbound Marketing Marketer, Video Jedi and HubSpot Certified Trainer with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He leads the Impulse Creative crew in HubSpot certifications with 19 including Inbound, Email, Contextual, and Content Marketing.

George utilizes his love of teaching and learning to help companies find their way to growth via workshops, speaking engagements, business audits, and of course, Sprocket Talk.


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:05
Are you a HubSpot user looking to stay up to date with HubSpot, inbound and all the information that will make your job easier and help you and your company grow better? Each week the spot brings you the HubSpot, education, ideas and tools that you need to maximize your success. Make Work just a little bit easier. And of course, brighten your day along the way. Listen in is Julie tug Max and George share their authentic entertaining and valuable conversations with the people who really matter. That's right you, ladies and gentlemen, let's give it up for your HubSpot journey heroes. Welcome to this week's episode of the spot. Ready spot. Go. That's right, we're back the three of us we're missing our boy max CO and he's got to train people and change the world. And today we're going to do a fast and furious episode. And it is going to be on content marketing. I'm super interested in what's going to happen on this episode. Because it sounds like it would be a simple conversation, it sounds like it should just flow nice and easy. But if you've listened to any of our historical conversations around, you know, normal things of sales and marketing, that's not usually how it goes. So with that said, we do have a couple of links in the show notes, make sure you check those out. But let's go ahead and dive into this whole idea of content marketing. So Julian, Doug, when I actually just throw the term out in general, content marketing, from a marketing sales point, from a sales standpoint, where do your minds go if you're trying to explain to somebody what it is, and if it's even important in 2021, and moving forward.

Juli Durante 1:40
So from my perspective, content marketing is mission critical 2021 moving forward, but not in the way you think. I'm so content marketing, as a discipline, as like a methodology, I think is just marketing now, it's just what you need to do to play in this space online is you need to create digital content. Those are facts, the idea of, you know, some more structured approach to quote unquote, content marketing and XYZ number of blog posts for SEO and those pieces of content marketing, I'm less and less interested in every day, I think the best thing people can do when they think of marketing content, in the next 12 months, is focused on the depth and quality of the content that they create. And we're no longer in the world of more is more and more is better. the right content is far more important than any type of volume. So it's providing value, it's we have a whole a whole episode on insights. And that's that's where you need to be right the the why and those pieces, not 16 blog posts a day because we can answer 16 good blog posts in great

Doug Davidoff 3:01
content marketing for me, George has has moved into the top five fuzzy words of business. probably the number one fuzzy word is strategy. I was in a CEO group having a conversation one time, I think it was like a 40 minute conversation about something, the word strategy there were, I think there were 11 CEOs, the word strategy got used, I actually kept a cheat sheet of it, it was like 32 times, and it had 27 different meanings. And and so someone comes in and says strategy. And it's one of those words, that doesn't mean anything because it means something different every time you use it to to everybody else. And I think that's what's happened with content marketing. And, you know, for example, you know, Julie just mentioned that, you know, I, you know, I think creating digital content is is crucial. And, you know, a lot of times we talk, you know, someone says content marketing and are talking about digital marketing, because I would say, when has marketing been anything other than about content. And again, let's be clear here, when we're talking about marketing, we're really talking about marketing communications. We're not talking about, you know, big word marketing, the four P's, we're talking about one of these. And I think you know, so when you talk about what is content marketing, it's both a fuzzy word, and it's misunderstood. Because literally everything is content. Everything is content. This is content when salespeople talk, that's content. You know, I started off exclusively coaching salespeople then came into advising companies on marketing. And one of the first groups that I talked to, when I started imagine, I did an analysis I came in, I told the person I said, You know, I can't really train your salespeople right now. It's like, well, well, why not? I said, Well, if I were to train your salespeople, you'd probably I probably hurt your results is like, Well, what do you mean? I said, Well, if I train your salespeople how to sell, right, and how to have this type of conversation that we're talking about, and then someone were to go to your website, well, they would see something completely different. It's kind of like an aha. I mean, it's kind of obvious right now. But I think the vast majority of people we think about our website, and I think everyone would say that's content. But we don't think about our salespeople and you know, the number of times that a salesperson says something, and then it doesn't align with what the website or whatever the next touch point is. And I would say that, you know, that's a content issue. And so when someone says content marketing and and when it's like, Okay, well, what, you know, what, what's the Why, what's the job to be done behind here, and let you know, everything, you know, the world. And you can see it happening right now everyone's talking about everything's new. The reality is, there's nothing new in business business has always been about two things, right? distribution and content, right? Oil is content, rail, Razor distribution, blogs, or content. The internet is distribution.

George Thomas 5:42
It's so funny that you mentioned that because I literally just did a piece of content on how there are no new ideas. Like it's just we, we take these bits and pieces, we put it in our own Kaleidoscope mind, and we bring out what we feel is new but but it's not new. It's a version of something that's already been around. I love Doug, that you leaned into the fact that it's just content, like, I know we're doing, you know, content marketing, but it really for me, it comes down to not necessarily marketing, not necessarily sales, but content. And if anybody has ever paid attention to anything that they've done it they're going to hear the same old song of it's edutainment, right. It's entertaining. It's educational. It's content that actually provides some type of value at the end of the day versus just making something to make something.

Doug Davidoff 6:27
You know what I think the greatest content marketing campaign of all time was.

Unknown Speaker 6:31
Hit me with it

Doug Davidoff 6:32
do 10 years catalog. Sears catalog, you used to wait for the Sears catalog. The Sears catalog sat in your house 365 days a year. When it came time to be someone's birthday, you pulled out the Sears catalog and you started paging through it. You might not even buy from Sears for that. But you waited for this Sears catalog. So I've got Marcus catalog.

George Thomas 6:54
I'm gonna pause here. I've got a pause here. Julie, I have to ask. Have you ever seen a Sears catalog in your house? Yes. Yeah. Okay. I doubt Doug. I thought you were dating you and I there for a second. I was like, Julie may not know what a Sears catalog is.

Doug Davidoff 7:11
I was a kid. But let me make no mistake. I was a kid at the time.

Juli Durante 7:14
I'm not 17. So but Doug, I think that's, that's great. I think from like the millennial mindset, probably what might resonate more to your point, George is like the IKEA catalog that they no longer send on paper, but is like 100 page catalog, sent it out, sat in your house, when the time came for something same type of behavior.

Doug Davidoff 7:41
So again, you know, if you fly out an airplane, there's the magazine, you know that, like, I mean, so content marketing, pre dates, it's as old as anything that, you know, hey, we're going to do this new thing. Content Marketing.

George Thomas 7:55
I said, I agree with you. But I don't know if we're gonna pay to be in any magazines right now. What would you pay to be in a Sears catalog to pay to be in a airplane magazine right now? As far as your content, or well, airplane magazine

Doug Davidoff 8:12
right now is obviously going to be somewhat different. And yeah, there's been a change that, you know, the Sears catalog is now online. Right? But But I mean, take a look at what that did for Sears. Right. And that the the mistake that Sears made was they didn't realize they didn't see the change of distribution of content. But, you know, look at what a way is done. And, and and yeah, every time. If you look at something you're paying for it, you're paying the with the highest most precious resource that you have today. And that's your time and attention. And away has built this travel magazine that people get it and it's me their luggage is not fundamentally different than anybody else's luggage, but somebody buys in a way suitcase and it's like, no, I bought in a way suit, like, okay, and it's, it's a branded communication, that for somebody that I mean, I've seen it, I get it because I haven't away suitcase. It's actually you know, it's very well done. It's still being the blog. It's still in print. By the way, we're still we're still physical creatures, we'd like to

Juli Durante 9:18
touch things. Georgia could be a great time to be placing an advertisement advertorial or even going for editorial credit in a magazine like that, because the people I do know who are traveling right now are either traveling because they have like a personal reason they need to travel or they have to be traveling for work. Something about their work is necessary necessitating that they're on an airplane, that person maybe that's Doug's opportunity to reach them in that moment, right? Not saying that this is your strategy, but like the climate matters, But to your point that there's nothing new in there is nothing new, but I'm going to disagree with you. Your point that you shouldn't create for the sake of creating, I think that's where innovation happens. That's where new ideas happen. And that's why we need art. We're in this like business world mindset of

Unknown Speaker 10:13

Doug Davidoff 10:14
okay, fine to disagree.

Juli Durante 10:17
George's that it has to be, it has an entertaining and educational and this and that. And sometimes it just has to be. And I think the place that we're often at, as marketers, salespeople, etc. Within a corporate structure, we're results driven. And we have deadlines to hit. And we have KPIs, we have all of these things that make us think our, what we're doing is mission critical to everything. And to some extent, it is, as an owner of a business, Doug, your business needs to perform so that you can pay your employees so that they can feed their families and things like that. And that's a reality. We need things like our and we need things like creativity, and we need things like creating to create, because that's where new ideas come from everything else send

Doug Davidoff 11:03
a man to the moon and return him safely. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And that is why I mean that that's the missing ingredient today. And it's all the analytics and the metrics and the numbers of Modern Marketing that are killing it. And it's why the article that you had us read my take on that, how about this towards I'm taking the segue away from you, the article that you had us read, I read it and I'm like, you know what, if I lived in utopia, this is this is right. And my we're going to improve the content experience. It's not about clicks, except no Guess what? everybody out there is trying to justify why are they doing this? How much more pressure is there for attribution analysis? everyone's asking for attribution attribution attribution, and I'm like you don't even you don't even know what your real customer journey is. You're asking for attribution. I've talked to multiple providers of marketing attribution, I've taken to task how useless these attribution models are and incorrect. Most of them are. And the response I've gotten was, yeah, Doug, you're right, but we need to deliver it, because the board is demanding it from marketing, to justify why they're doing things and until we realize that, you know what, everyone remembers the john Wanamaker quote, I know, I'm wasting 50% of my money. On average, I know I'm wasting 50% of my advertising money. My problem is, I don't know which half everyone looks at that as if it was above, like, Okay, that was a problem. We've got to fix that, as opposed to, it really is a feature because we are humans, right? We are we, we get inspirations and the inspiration comes long after the exposure on Rand Fishkin, a few years ago, did this just great deck of how people end up buying on search. And basically what he showed was, you'll never be able to connect the cause to the effect because he watched a TV show that had this crazy thing that caused him to look at this, but then had a picture of that, then he has a beard that caused him to look at, and boom, and then seven months later, he bought something, right. And now we're saying no, no, no, let's I know we've got isolate that right. Yeah. Okay, well, what was the clip? Right? Yeah, until we stop asking those questions. And until we start understanding that, you know, we say marketing and science and art, and we talk about art, like it's the bug, right? And then you've got companies like, I'm gonna go off on a tangent, Facebook, etc, etc, that we're trying to autotune humans, we're trying to take the human out of human, and then we're wondering why we're seeing all this all this turbulence. So I agree with you. 100% I think that until we accept it to somebody, you just got to put some stuff out there. Like that should be half of your job. Half of content should be putting stuff out there. And I think we're just gonna get more insane.

George Thomas 13:50
I I agree with the right stuff, Julie, without a doubt, I I'm not disagree with that. And I even Can I can I can

Unknown Speaker 13:56
use different perspective.

George Thomas 13:58
Well, I would expect now,

Doug Davidoff 14:01
it needs to not be the wrong stuff. It needs to not be the wrong stuff. Right. And there's a difference between being the right stuff and not being the wrong stuff. Because everyone's seeking for the right stuff. And so now if we don't get clicks, and this and this, and if we can't attribute to it, then it's not right. Like but let you know, let, let's not put out, you know, seven secrets about Taylor Swift. I'm going to get a lot of clicks on there the wrong clicks for my business. That's the wrong content. Okay. But, I mean, I can't tell you how many times the best response I've ever gotten came from something that I actually didn't like that module wasn't sure of or just mentioned, remember, one of the biggest aspects that I had was I had to get a blog post written it led to an entire moving beyond price theme. I just commented on a Dilbert cartoon, because I needed to get something done quickly and the Dilbert cartoons thought, you know, told half the story for me. And I'm like, Okay, I'll put it out there. You know, one, one wasted blog, who cares? And then like, Bam, bam, bam, I started getting caught, you know, and it's like, oh, wait, let me write another one. And if I hadn't been willing to just throw it out there, I'm like, you know what, it's not the right thing. But it's not the wrong thing. Now it, it turned out to be the right thing. But if I had tried to judge it, I wouldn't have done it, because I didn't think it was the right thing.

Juli Durante 15:15
So I think when I say the right thing, Doug, I want to I do want to clarify there. I don't mean necessarily right on paper. But I think what comes to mind for me is right perspective and right for your business. Right? So the Taylor Swift example is perfect. And yeah, that's the wrong thing. But could the right thing be a really silly post about like, what millennials don't get about sales? What millennial marketers don't get about sales? pros, as told by Taylor Swift quotes. So I,

Doug Davidoff 15:49
so I know the

Unknown Speaker 15:50
guy but fun.

Doug Davidoff 15:52
So I know what you mean, when you say, right. But also, you know, for me, if I was thinking about the right thing to go to that silly place where you actually just gave me an idea that I'm like, hmm, right. Now, if I were to think, is that the right thing for my business? Is that the right thing for our positioning? I don't know that I'd have the guts to do it. But I might have the guts to do it. Because you know what, it's not the wrong thing. It's not it's not off. And and it shows us the pieces. So again, I was I again, I know you and I agree. I just know how people when they hear right, what that what that does to

Juli Durante 16:26
those moments of clarification or like the the magic of the show. We're talking, we're just talking about communication at that point. So

George Thomas 16:36
I want to dive in deeper on this because we got right and wrong. And actually, there's two articles that you should click on as you're viewing this or after you view this. Because in this conversation of right and wrong, I'm curious, the level of experimentation, right? And let me explain why in the second article, by Content Marketing Institute, there's a lot of quotes a lot of tweetable moments in there, it's obviously they're using it to like, just get some social traffic, which is fine, which is fine. But there's somebody in here Actually, there's many people in here, but one in particular, who I like I love as a human being a value their opinion. And when I read what they were saying here, it was interesting to me and I'll explain why it's interesting me and then I want you to give me your perspective on this level of experimentation or, or paying attention to things outside of our typical box, in the effort to bring them into what people think is our typical box that we live in from a marketing and sales perspective. So what I'm talking about here is Mr. Mitch Joel, from six pixels of separation says, watch the streamers. Watch how they use technology to connect with an audience. Watch how they tell a story for many hours for days on end, watch YouTube videos about how they set up their spaces. Watch how they understand their audiences, watch how they engage with their audience, watch how they are part of their audience in 2021. Expect content marketers, the smart ones to be more like streamers. Again, that's Mitch Joel. I found this very interesting, because, again, one of the things that I pay attention to is a gentleman. He has a website's called Gaming Careers. It has absolutely zero to do with marketing, zero to do a sales zero to do a service, but I pay attention to Gaming Careers, their website and on YouTube. Because there's different technologies, there's different communication techniques, there's different tools and tips that that are happening in what I'll call the real human world, versus like this marketing and sales bubble that we live in. So when you think of the right thing and the wrong thing, and you think of pulling things out of other places and experimenting. Where do you guys's minds go with that?

Juli Durante 19:02
So I've long said that if you look at the way businesses that are businesses of influencers, use social media, there's a lot to learn. So I follow a lot of folks in like that health and fitness and wellness space, particularly on Instagram. And if you look at the way these people promote themselves, but also the businesses that they create, there's a lot of intention behind it. And they're doing things in a very different way than what we might think, oh, in b2b, or in a real business, we wouldn't do it this way and things like that, to the extent that you might see someone in the health and fitness space, create an ebook that we in b2b would say, oh, that should be free because you're getting the value of leads because you're really trying to generate x. They Sell it, sell it for actual money. There's also a great company. They're Canadian, they're called go clean Co. And they're a cleaning company. So they provide cleaning services, home cleaning, they're great. Their Instagram is so much fun. It's all behind the scenes content from their team members. They have created a cleaning army handbook. And you can buy a digital copy for $13. You buy it directly from them, it's a digital copy. It's like fantastic. We would say I shouldn't sell something for $13. it devalues it. But to me, they've just positioned it as more valuable. Because I have to buy it. There are folks out there who have like little fitness apps where they're doing their own thing. They're self employed, they're this, they're that. And they have hundreds of members paying them $40 a month, right. And they're using some like white label platform and this and that. But they're doing these things in ways that we don't necessarily think about. And they're promoting in ways that we might not try. And I think there are a lot of lessons in that. And there are a lot of pieces of like, yeah, we could put that out there. I could totally put that out there. Does it align with you know, our core message or core insight? Why not give it a go?

George Thomas 21:14
Before you go duck before you go. If you're listening to this, you have to go over to the video version. Rewind about two minutes from where Julie just ended. Because you could not hear the little jig that Doug did on screen when Julie started talking about the cleaning company. And everybody

Doug Davidoff 21:37
go clean code.

George Thomas 21:38
That's it. That's the dance. Everybody should see Doug Davidoff, do the little jig. On this episode right here. Go ahead and Doug experimentation pulling outside of our usual typical bucks, What say you?

Doug Davidoff 21:50
So when I interview people, and they brag about when I'm hiring, and they brag about, you know how much time they spend at their job. That's the fastest way to disqualify my interest in you. A I don't believe that we should live to work we should work to live be I think it's unreasonable for a company to expect employees to be you know, all about them. But, but not just because that's good for the employee. I believe that what makes people interesting, and vibrant, is what they do outside of work. That's where you become interested. And and so for me, I mean, from from a business standpoint, one of the reasons that we don't focus on a vertical is that, you know, the number of times that you know, that all saw a SAS sales or marketing problem because of something that we saw with a concrete aggregate distribution company that sold to roadway contractors that are on one hand, totally unrelated, but, but it's not. You know, this is where improv is such a great mechanism, how do you connect things that seem to be unconnected? So you know, the what I say, you know, expose yourself to everything. Because, you know, you said something that was interesting, you said that the Gaming Careers has nothing to do with sales and marketing. And I was like, no, it has everything to do with sales and marketing. You know, one of one of the things that's great about sales and marketing is everything has everything to do with sales and marketing. You want to experiment, watch, watch kids at their first playgroup, and watch how relationships form that's all about sales and marketing. Right? What is sales and marketing? It's about making connections, until chatbots, start buying from chatbots. Right? We're talking about human connection. And you know, who's trying to grow the audience? How are they doing that? What's the all of those things come about that just when you stop worrying about where am I going to get my next idea. And you just kind of let go and you realize ideas are all over the place. I used to keep a journal on my nightstand. So if I woke up in the middle of the night, I could write down the idea that I had. And then I realized, you know, I can't forget it. I can't I can't forget, I can't forget it. Then I realized, you know what, the ones that I forget, it's a good thing that I forgot him. I tweeted this the other day, the formula for for creating good ideas, create a lot of ideas. that's step number one. Step number two, throw away the battles. And the thing that you'll look at the formula goods, not in there. Right, create a lot of ideas throw away the bad.

George Thomas 24:14
So it's interesting. It's interesting that you're saying that though? Because I know and we have to talk about this on a different episode, because we're literally at that point, Doug, I know that you have a very interesting relationship with decisions. And the fact of what makes good or bad is actually not the decision. Like there's a whole there's a whole thing that we can go down about that your your poker games, your decision making, like that whole thing, because I want everybody that's listening to this know that that statement that Doug made is that it's rewind, because that statement that he made is huge. The way that you're thinking about business sales, marketing your life, when he's saying create the ideas and then throw away, like, you got to rewind that, you got to rewind that, Doug, I didn't mean to cut you off, you know, I know

Doug Davidoff 25:14
you're dialed in, you know, you're dialed in, when you're out and about, and you're at a restaurant, when we're allowed to be back at restaurants or something, and you start saying to whoever, well, you know, one of the ways that you can really, I saw that you have this issue, and one of the ways that you can fix that is, and you start, you know, you end up consulting with people that never asked you for consulting, you just can't help it. Because everything, what, you know, I noticed the flow into the movie theater, you know, if they just move this door to here, and they did that there that would like, that's when you know, you're, but you know, that's when you're in that flow of creating ideas, and it really is more far more about letting go than holding on.

George Thomas 25:51
Yeah, Julie, any closing ideas, thoughts, what people should do around content marketing?

Juli Durante 25:57
I mean, I think the same old thought that we keep having of make content that's meaningful is what I'll put out there into the world. Keep doing that. And the rest will follow.

Doug Davidoff 26:07
Can I add to what you said, it's okay to create content that you don't publish. I think that's what everyone forgets, okay. Go ahead and create content, create a lot of content, and then look at and say, Wait, is it? And I think one of the pressures that content teams are under is everything has to be published? You know, what, why are we remaking every movie? And every show? It's like, Okay, well, you know, we can't our resources are so scarce No, no, it's okay that it didn't get greenlit. That was fine. It was you You did a great job creating a wonderful piece of content that has no place on our website. Thanks. Good job. Let's go out again.

George Thomas 26:42
It's funny, because when I hear that two things come to mind, and then I got to close up shop because it is that time, the first thing that comes to mind is this is why more people should journal and create private content that is at least getting it out of their brain and then you decide if it should go in front of like the human beings that you actually serve or not, but at least you're creating it and you're staying creative. You're it's for the art side of what Julie said earlier, right. And Doug, when you said why do we keep making the same old movies? I don't know if everybody listening or watching has seen this, but I love this little video that talks about how Harry Potter is actually Star Wars with bad lightsabers. If you don't know what I'm talking about. You need to Google and find out because the plotline is the same. The characters are the same. They just have bad lightsabers With that said make sure you let us know what you think about that statement using hashtag sprocket talk hashtag the spot podcast make sure you hit up at Julie D. at Doug Davidoff at max Jacob CO and I'm of course George B. Thomas. Hey, if you want to learn about in 2021 if you should be building a community, if you should be using live video, if you should be as Doug said earlier about the article it does talk about improving the content experience testing AI powered copy and all sorts of things like that. Make sure you check out the links in the show notes and of course, we'll be here waiting for you in the next episode.