For the last decade, the terms “content marketing” and “custom media” have become so prevalent among marketers, that a “content department” is now a staple on more and more corporate organizational charts. But as we describe in the new Ebook, The BNP Media Guide to B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing, “while the terms ‘custom media’ and ‘content marketing’ are new additions to the marketing lexicon, the history of companies creating media to communicate directly with their customers, supporters or members dates back centuries.”
For instance, in 1732, Benjamin Franklin issued Poor Richard’s Almanack as custom media, a free publication he used to promote his printing business.
Business-to-business marketers were also early users of direct-to-customer marketing.
In 1895, John Deere launched The Furrow, a magazine it distributed to farmers through its dealer network. It is still published today.
In 1899, the pharmaceutical company Merck first published The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy to serve as both a medical textbook and marketing tool to help Merck reach its marketplace of doctors and pharmacists. The Merck Manual is still published in many forms, online and off, and is the oldest continuously published English-language medical textbook.
In 1900, the Michelin tire company began publishing the Michelin Guide to provide travel tips and accommodation reviews for drivers of those horseless carriages just hitting the road. The Michelin Guide still published today.
There are hundreds of such examples that display how, throughout the history of mass media, content marketing has helped companies build deep relationships with their customers.
Of course, the advent of the internet and digital media has meant that this tried-and-true form of marketing can be adapted in dozens of new ways. Building on a foundation that is over a century old, marketers can now use content that would amaze, and please, early marketers like Ben Franklin.
For more about content marketing and custom media, download the new BNP Ebook, The BNP Media Guide to B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing.