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Content Marketing Plan Template (With A 10-Step Guideline)



11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

Content marketing has become so huge that it’s predicted to grow by $417 billion between 2021 and 2025. 

With such enormous growth, it’s safe to say most organizations have dabbled in producing at least some content by now. But guess what? Only 29% of organizations report being extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months. 

One of the main problems we’ve found is that many companies jump into content marketing without a solid plan, posting things willy-nilly and with no clear purpose. 

Not only is this ineffective, but it can also erode your credibility, reputation, and brand trust. But no need to beat yourself up over it because it’s a relatively easy fix — you just need a plan. And we’re going to tell you how to make one.  

Guidelines for implementing a content marketing plan: 

1. Determine your overall content marketing goals and KPI’s

2. Lay out what you need to achieve your goals

3. Identify topics that’ll attract your audience

4. Factor in topics that can drive search traffic

5. Determine your distribution plan 

6. Determine a publishing schedule 

7. Assign the right people to each task 

8. Determine owners and collaborators for each piece 

9. Develop a conversion optimization plan for each piece

10. Launch!

Why do you need a content marketing plan?

A content marketing plan takes your overall content goals and lays out a course of action to achieve them — kind of like a game plan or blueprint.  

You need to have one so you can create content that’s both useful and relevant to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll just be creating clutter. 

Here’s your content marketing plan template 

A 10-step guideline to using our template

Now that you’re armed with a content marketing plan template, we’re going to walk through the guidelines step by step. Let’s get started. 

Step #1: Determine your overall content marketing goals and KPIs

Like they say at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), you can’t achieve content marketing success unless you understand what success means to your organization. 

That’s why the first step in developing your plan is to determine your overall content marketing strategy and goal(s). Why are you creating content at all? What’s your end-game, so to speak? 

Some of the most common content marketing goals include the following: 

  • Driving organic search traffic

  • Building brand awareness

  • Increasing audience engagement

  • Generating new leads

  • Nurturing leads in the middle of the sales funnel

  • Fostering customer loyalty 

  • Boosting sales and profitability

Once you’ve identified what you’re trying to get out of your content marketing efforts, you need to figure out how you’re going to measure success. CMI recommends using multiple KPIs, otherwise, you could negatively affect other metrics without realizing it. 

That said, you don’t want to track too many KPIs or you’ll just end up with information overload. Digital marketer Neil Patel puts it this way: “KPIs are all about quality—not quantity. They are about what really moves the needle for your business.” 

Let’s say your goal is to increase sales using email marketing, for example. Some relevant metrics or KPIs would be open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and sales growth. 

Here’s a list of other KPIs that are often used to evaluate content marketing: 

  • Email: Open rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, click-through rate, delivery rate

  • SEO and website: Website traffic, unique visitors, time on site or page, bounce rate, page views, traffic sources

  • Social media: Amplification rate, number of followers, fans, and likes, return on engagement (ROE), post reach

  • E-commerce: Sales, sales growth, conversion rate, website traffic, average order value, shopping cart or checkout abandonment rate

Step #2: Lay out what you need to achieve your goal(s)

Once you’ve outlined your content marketing strategy, it’s time to figure out what you’ll need to achieve your goals. For example, do you have enough staff (or the right staff) to implement your strategy? 

Do you have the budget to pay writers and other content creators? How about the right tools, like project management software or a content marketing platform? 

Identify exactly what you need to achieve your goals and then get to work on lining it up. This may mean going to the higher-ups to pitch a budget increase. If that’s the case, having a well thought out plan will go a long way towards getting what you need. 

Step #3: Identify the topics that’ll attract your audience

One core purpose of content marketing is to attract your audience by creating useful, relevant content. To figure out exactly what’s useful and relevant, it’s important to identify some key pieces of information:  

  • Who is your target customer? 

  • What problem is your target customer trying to solve? 

  • What are their pain points? 

  • How does your product or service solve this problem? 

  • What kind of information will your target customers find useful?

  • Where do your customers typically look for information? Do they go to search engines? If yes, what are they searching for? Why are they searching for those things?

Then, start brainstorming topics that would be of interest to your audience. Let’s say you run a meal prep business, for example. You identify that your target audience is high-income parents who are struggling to make healthy meals at home.

This audience is probably dealing with pain points like not having enough time to cook meals or shop for groceries. And they probably look for information on popular recipe websites or healthy living blogs. 

With this in mind, your customers would probably be attracted to topics related to healthy eating, time-saving kitchen hacks, meal planning, and family-friendly recipes. 

Step #4: Factor in topics that can drive search traffic

Once you’ve come up with a broad list of topics that are relevant to your audience, it’s time to hone in on specific phrases that can drive search traffic. 

What kind of questions are your customers asking that relate to the topics you identified in the previous step? You can figure this out by plugging your topics into an SEO tool. This will give you a list of keywords and phrases around each topic, including search volume for each keyword, keyword difficulty, and more. 

Going back to the meal prep business, for example, you’ll probably find that customers are using some of the following keyword phrases in search engines: 

Topic: family-friendly recipes

Keyword phrases: lunch ideas for kids, kid-friendly casserole, how to make a smoothie, recipes for toddlers, easy dinner recipes, 30-minute meals

Topic: meal planning

Keyword phrases: meal planning template, how to make a weekly meal plan, monthly meal plan with a grocery list, best meal planning apps

Step #5: Determine your distribution plan

Content distribution can be divided into four main buckets — owned, earned, shared, and paid. Here’s a quick recap of what each one includes:  

  • Owned media – Channels that your company owns, like your blog, your website, your email list, and so on. 

  • Earned media – Unpaid mentions by influencers or on channels like podcasts or blogs. 

  • Shared media – Social media channels and other online communities. Examples include user-generated content, product reviews, shares, retweets, and more. 

  • Paid media – Paid advertising for content promotion. 

To determine which bucket to focus your marketing efforts on (and you can always do a combination), it’s important to consider both your business type and your audience. 

B2B companies, for example, are more likely to find success distributing content like case studies and long-form blog posts on owned channels (like their email lists) and shared media (like LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook) — depending on where their target audience is. 

Small B2C startups, on the other hand, will probably have more success distributing short posts or videos on shared media (like Instagram & TikTok) and using paid influencer marketing. 

As for your audience, where are they already going to find information? Where are they usually “hanging out” online? B2B customers, for example, are typically found on LinkedIn (with 80% of B2B leads coming from LinkedIn alone). 

But even beyond general statistics like this, you’ll still need to do your research and find where your specific or niche target customers spend most of their time online. 

Step #6: Determine your publishing schedule

Now that you know what you’re publishing and where you’re publishing it, it’s time to figure out when — which means determining your publishing schedule. 

Often referred to as an editorial calendar, publishing schedules are important for keeping your team on track in terms of content creation. Without one, it’s hard to maintain consistency, something that’s key when it comes to content marketing success.

Jon Simpson, the owner of Criterion.B, recently shared in a Forbes article that one of his clients increased new visitor blog traffic by 90% just by posting consistently. Plus, social media followers on Facebook increased by 30%, Twitter by 9%, and Linkedin by 8%, all in the same time period.

When determining your content calendar, it’s particularly useful to have some technology behind you. And while a simple spreadsheet might work for small projects, you’ll want something more powerful if you’re managing a large team. 

Welcome’s software, for example, allows you to visualize all work in a single, easy-to-use, and flexible marketing calendar. Here are a few specific perks: 

  • Leverage our marketing calendar software for a single view across all planned and in-flight campaigns, with updates in real-time. Ensure all content marketing efforts roll up to broader strategic initiatives with a comprehensive breakout of sub-campaigns and tasks.

  • Track the execution of all content activities and provide visibility across teams to encourage collaboration. In our marketing calendar software, you can drag-and-drop projects to shift deadlines, promoting agile planning to ensure a successful overall strategy. 

  • Monitor campaign progress at a glance within the calendar, or drill into supporting activity with one click for a detailed view of who’s working on what, and when, to ensure teams meet necessary deadlines.

  • Filter the calendar to focus on the work that matters most. Surface relevant activity for specific teams or individual contributors with customized filtering across geography, channel, target audience, or any custom metadata.

Step #7: Assign the right people to each task

Once you have your publishing schedule outlined, it’s time to assign the right person to each job. Before you can do this, though, you need to break each piece of content down into individual tasks. 

A blog post, for example, is typically broken down into the following tasks: 

Then, you can assign each task to the right person, whether it’s internal staff, an outside agency, or a freelancer. When doing so, it’s important to keep an eye on everyone’s workload to make sure it’s management. 

Welcome’s software, for example, allows you to keep an eye on the current commitments (and bandwidth) of everyone on your team. This helps avoid burnout and ensures you have the right people and time allocated to every project.

Step #8: Determine the owner and collaborator(s) for each piece of content

Collaboration has become increasingly vital to content creation over the past few years, especially when you’re dealing with a large organization with lots of stakeholders.

Take the tasks for the blog post that we outlined above, for example. Many of these tasks will need to be assigned to different staff members, from writers to content strategists to SEO experts. 

Plus, you’ll often need to gather input from other stakeholders like clients, subject matter experts, and marketing directors, to name a few. 

So it’s important to identify the owner and all the collaborators for each piece of content from the very beginning. If you wait until the end to ask for input, it often results in lengthy revisions to the piece. 

Step #9: Have a conversion optimization plan for each piece

In content marketing terms, a conversion rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and actually convert into customers or do whatever the desired action is (sign up for your email list, register for a course, download an ebook, etc.). 

Let’s say 100 people find your blog post in the search results and then visit your website to read it. If 10 of those people purchase your product while on your website, your conversion rate would be 10%. 

(Which would be amazing, by the way — the average conversion rate of online shoppers worldwide was just 2.17% in 2020.) 

So, a conversion optimization plan lays out how you’re going to increase that number, or to get more visitors to become customers. When it comes to optimizing blog posts and other content, here are a few solid strategies to include in your plan: 

  • Write strong headlines

  • Deliver on the promise made in the headline

  • Solve for search intent

  • Include case studies as evidence

  • Create original graphics and/or charts

  • Design a clean layout

  • Focus on readability 

  • Drop in as many relevant, internal links as possible

  • Include a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Step #10: Launch!

You made it! It’s finally time to put your plan into action. Strategists can start strategizing, writers can start writing, and so on. 

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea during this phase to build automated workflows to manage your content as it moves through various stages of creation and approval. One way to do this is by setting up workflows in your project management system that automatically route content to the next appropriate person. Take the case of Pure Storage, for example. 

In early 2020, the Pure Storage content team was struggling with inconsistent workflows and offline docs that created confusion and made approvals difficult. 

So they partnered with Welcome to build workflows for all of their most common content and creative tasks — whether it was a blog post, a thought leadership piece, technical web content, or another type of request.

“It was a very data-driven approach,” said Lisa Oda, Content Studio leader at Pure Storage. “We assessed everything: where the work should start; who needs to be involved; who is the final approver; how much time each person needs to complete their part; where the final assets need to go. We now know exactly what needs to be done and can easily forecast when projects will be complete.”

The results? Pretty amazing. Pure Storage now produces 200% more content while spending 50% less time in team meetings. 

Content marketing strategy FAQs

How do you lay out a content plan?

Once you’ve developed your content marketing strategy, you can lay out your content plan. Start by listing the following items on a spreadsheet or other organizational tool: 

  • Content goals

  • KPIs

  • Budget and resources

  • Audience

  • Relevant topics

Then create the following fields plus anything additional that helps you achieve the goals laid out in your content marketing strategy: 

  • Content type

  • Content name or title

  • Keyword phrases

  • Search intent

  • Collaborators

  • Distribution channel 

  • Publish date

  • Tasks

What are some elements of a good content plan?

A good content marketing plan is detailed and specific. It identifies the who, what, where, when, and why of content creation:

  • Who’s consuming your content? Who’s creating your content? 

  • What type of content are you going to create? 

  • Where are you going to distribute your content? 

  • When are you going to publish your content? 

  • Why are you creating content in the first place? 

What does a content marketing strategy look like?

A content marketing strategy is similar to a plan but is more broad. For example, a content marketing strategy might be to use email marketing to boost engagement. But a content plan lays out exactly how to do it. 


With your content marketing strategy and plan in place, you’re well on your way to joining the 29% of organizations that are extremely or very successful with content marketing! Yay you! 

Now it’s time to get down to the business of creating useful and relevant content for your audience. Best of luck! 

Content Marketing Plan Template With A 10 Step Guideline

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Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples



Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples

Amazon has rewritten the rules of advertising with its move into non-endemic retail media advertising. Advertising on Amazon has traditionally focused on brands and products directly sold on the platform. However, a new trend is emerging – the rise of non-endemic advertising on this booming marketplace. In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of non-endemic ads, their significance, and the benefits they offer to advertisers. This strategic shift is opening the floodgates for advertisers in previously overlooked industries.

While endemic brands are those with direct competitors on the platform, non-endemic advertisers bring a diverse range of services to Amazon’s vast audience. The move toward non-endemic advertising signifies Amazon’s intention to leverage its extensive data and audience segments to benefit a broader spectrum of advertisers.

Endemic vs. Non-Endemic Advertising


Let’s start by breaking down the major differences between endemic advertising and non-endemic advertising… 

Endemic Advertising

Endemic advertising revolves around promoting products available on the Amazon platform. With this type of promotion, advertisers use retail media data to promote products that are sold at the retailer.

Non-Endemic Advertising

In contrast, non-endemic advertising ventures beyond the confines of products sold on Amazon. It encompasses industries such as insurance, finance, and services like lawn care. If a brand is offering a product or service that doesn’t fit under one of the categories that Amazon sells, it’s considered non-endemic. Advertisers selling products and services outside of Amazon and linking directly to their own site are utilizing Amazon’s DSP and their data/audience segments to target new and relevant customers.

7 Benefits of Running Non-Endemic Ad Campaigns


Running non-endemic ad campaigns on Amazon provides a wide variety of benefits like:

Access to Amazon’s Proprietary Data: Harnessing Amazon’s robust first-party data provides advertisers with valuable insights into consumer behavior and purchasing patterns. This data-driven approach enables more targeted and effective campaigns.

Increased Brand Awareness and Revenue Streams: Non-endemic advertising allows brands to extend their reach beyond their typical audience. By leveraging Amazon’s platform and data, advertisers can build brand awareness among users who may not have been exposed to their products or services otherwise. For non-endemic brands that meet specific criteria, there’s an opportunity to serve ads directly on the Amazon platform. This can lead to exposure to the millions of users shopping on Amazon daily, potentially opening up new revenue streams for these brands.

No Minimum Spend for Non-DSP Campaigns: Non-endemic advertisers can kickstart their advertising journey on Amazon without the burden of a minimum spend requirement, ensuring accessibility for a diverse range of brands.

Amazon DSP Capabilities: Leveraging the Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) enhances campaign capabilities. It enables programmatic media buys, advanced audience targeting, and access to a variety of ad formats.

Connect with Primed-to-Purchase Customers: Amazon’s extensive customer base offers a unique opportunity for non-endemic advertisers to connect with customers actively seeking relevant products or services.

Enhanced Targeting and Audience Segmentation: Utilizing Amazon’s vast dataset, advertisers can create highly specific audience segments. This enhanced targeting helps advertisers reach relevant customers, resulting in increased website traffic, lead generation, and improved conversion rates.

Brand Defense – By utilizing these data segments and inventory, some brands are able to bid for placements where their possible competitors would otherwise be. This also gives brands a chance to be present when competitor brands may be on the same page helping conquest for competitors’ customers.

How to Start Running Non-Endemic Ads on Amazon


Ready to start running non-endemic ads on Amazon? Start with these essential steps:

Familiarize Yourself with Amazon Ads and DSP: Understand the capabilities of Amazon Ads and DSP, exploring their benefits and limitations to make informed decisions.

Look Into Amazon Performance Plus: Amazon Performance Plus is the ability to model your audiences based on user behavior from the Amazon Ad Tag. The process will then find lookalike amazon shoppers with a higher propensity for conversion.

“Amazon Performance Plus has the ability to be Amazon’s top performing ad product. With the machine learning behind the audience cohorts we are seeing incremental audiences converting on D2C websites and beating CPA goals by as much as 50%.” 

– Robert Avellino, VP of Retail Media Partnerships at Tinuiti


Understand Targeting Capabilities: Gain insights into the various targeting options available for Amazon ads, including behavioral, contextual, and demographic targeting.

Command Amazon’s Data: Utilize granular data to test and learn from campaign outcomes, optimizing strategies based on real-time insights for maximum effectiveness.

Work with an Agency: For those new to non-endemic advertising on Amazon, it’s essential to define clear goals and identify target audiences. Working with an agency can provide valuable guidance in navigating the nuances of non-endemic advertising. Understanding both the audience to be reached and the core audience for the brand sets the stage for a successful non-endemic advertising campaign.



Amazon’s venture into non-endemic advertising reshapes the advertising landscape, providing new opportunities for brands beyond the traditional ecommerce sphere. The  blend of non-endemic campaigns with Amazon’s extensive audience and data creates a cohesive option for advertisers seeking to diversify strategies and explore new revenue streams. As this trend evolves, staying informed about the latest features and possibilities within Amazon’s non-endemic advertising ecosystem is crucial for brands looking to stay ahead in the dynamic world of digital advertising.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things Amazon, but if you’re looking to learn more about advertising on the platform, check out our Amazon Services page or contact us today for more information.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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