David Ogilvy – Father of Content Marketing [Quotes]

5 Content Marketing Lessons From An Original Mad Man

David Oglivy, one of the real life Mad Men, is the father of content marketing. He understood how information, transparency and speaking your customers’ language come together to persuade prospects to buy while building your brand. These elements are at the heart of content marketing as it’s practiced in today’s social media world. 

Here are five David Ogilvy quotes that illustrate core principles of content marketing.

  1. “Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.”  Everything that a company produces about its brand must be imbued with its unique traits to distinguish it. A brand is more than a logo slapped on a product’s label. Actionable content marketing tip. Take time to examine the various elements at the core your brand’s DNA to integrate them into your content. Without mentioning your company or brand, it should be recognizable based on your content’s voice, use of language and information conveyed.
  2. “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.”  Content marketing provides information to help customers at every step of the purchase process. While in today’s current social media ecosystem, it offers a variety of media formats that educate and/or entertain, at its heart content marketing delivers useful information consumers need. Actionable content marketing tip. Understand your prospects and customers specific information needs to help them with their purchase decisions. To this end, creating marketing personas can yield useful insights into your audience and help develop persuasive content.
  3. “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”  Ogilvy hit this content marketing truth squarely on the head. Skip the empty, flowery language. To be effective, your content marketing must deliver useful information that helps your prospects, customers and the public. Use plain language so your audience understands you. Actionable content marketing tip. Structure your content to support your search optimization and social media efforts. Use one keyword phrase and integrate relevant links (both internal and external) to provide additional information for readers. Also, facilitate the public’s sharing of your content with social sharing buttons. In today’s time pressed world, it’s helpful to make your content break through.
  4. “Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.”  Before you create content marketing (or any other form of marketing for that matter), build the best product possible. In a transparent social media world, your prospects, consumers and the public will let you know publically if it fails to meet expectations. To this end, you should use the product yourself.  (BTW, Ogilvy believed in using his clients’ products and you should too!) Actionable content marketing tip. Don’t just talk about your products! Let your customers give their perspective on their viability in terms of ratings and reviews.  Remember that consumers don’t trust advertising, they trust their family, friends and colleagues.
  5. “The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.”  Craft the best headline you can in order to pull prospective readers in by their collars. Make it so alluring that they can’t skip past your content even if they don’t have the time to consume it. Actionable content marketing tip. Invest time is writing and editing your titles to make sure they as persuasive as possible. It takes practice to learn the art of the headline.

To make your content marketing shine, you’ve got to provide useful information about your products and services while building your brand.

Are there any other David Ogilvy quotes that support effective content marketing? If so, what are your favorites?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo source: Various blogs

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  • http://huebris.com Joshua Gilmer

    I agree with most of the points mentioned here with the exception of point two. The best advertisements are works of art and are entertaining. And content marketing can be both. Sure it’s not the backbone of content marketing, but I could show a focus group two infographics with the same information and they’ll always feel more connected to content that is styled in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. But what do I know, I’m no Donald Draper ;)

  • http://quoteshash.com Quoteshash

    A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself. – David Ogilvy Quotes
    Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things. – David Ogilvy Quotes
    Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them. – David Ogilvy Quotes
    If it doesnt sell, it isnt creative. – David Ogilvy Quotes

  • Anonymous

    Truly inspirational and valuable to me!  Thanks Heidi!:)