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You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned About B2C Content Marketing



You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned About B2C Content Marketing

I’m a big fan of Robert Rose, the Chief Strategy Advisor of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Chief Troublemaker of The Content Advisory.

He’s a content marketing pioneer and a thought leader in the field.

So, I was somewhat surprised to read his latest article, which is entitled, “B2C Marketers Treat Content Marketing as a Project; That’s a Mistake [New Research].”

I agree with his analysis of the strategic challenges facing B2C marketers because it’s based on the latest research from CMI and MarketingProfs.

According to the recently released “B2C Content Marketing Benchmark, Budgets, and Trends – Insights for 2023”:

  •  57% of B2C marketers say creating content that appeals to different target audiences is their biggest challenge.
  • 44% say it’s developing consistency with measurement.
  • And 40% say it’s differentiating our products/services from those of the competition.

But I respectfully disagree with his solution:

“Solving all three of these challenges centers around strategic content operations – setting a consistent long-term strategy to differentiate, developing a measurement plan that stands the test of time, and scaling to meet the needs of different audiences.”

Adding the word “strategic” before “content operations” may make it sound less tactical. But far too many people in content operations are narrowly focused on making their People, Process, and Technology (PPT) more efficient, not more effective.

And Rose says in his article,

“Efficiency involves changes to a process to remove friction. The question often assumes a working, standard operation providing value already exists. But if there is no repeatable standard operation, efficiency ends up meaning producing the same or more content with the same resources.”

He adds, “That rarely works out to be better for the business.”

So, I don’t want to pick a fight with him. I agree with him most of the time.

Besides, any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a good carpenter to build one – especially one that can withstand the economic crosswinds that B2C marketers will be facing this year.

That’s why I’m going to share some strategic insights and constructive criticism that I hope will be helpful to professionals with experience in content marketing at mid and large B2C organizations.

Spoiler alert: On some topics, you must unlearn what you have learned.

Creating Content That Appeals To Different Target Audiences

I’ve been reading the CMI’s annual “Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budget and Trends” reports since the first one was published in September 2010.

And over the past 12 years, I’ve cited their latest findings in my content marketing webinars at Market Motive, digital marketing courses in the Rutgers Mini-MBA program, and content creation classes at the New Media Academy.

In October 2014, I learned from CMI’s research that the average number of audiences that B2C marketers target was four.

Now, market segmentation is one of the keys to success. But, I’ve often shared other research from “Why consumer intent is more powerful than demographics.”

Published in December 2015 by Think with Google, this research found 40% of baby product purchasers and 52% of baby product influencers lived in households without children.

That’s not the target demographic – or a secret society of cat ladies who dress like Miss Havisham. These people are often the baby’s grandparents, or sometimes the friends, cousins, and co-workers of the baby’s parents.

Image from Think With Google, December 2015

Then, I would tell students how to use Google Trends to explore consumer interest in a particular search term like “baby products.”

Next, I would ask them to scroll down to see the related queries.

Finally, I’d ask if they thought the people searching for “best baby products” were a different target audience than the people searching for “free baby products.”

Or if creating content that appealed to consumers interested in “baby hair products” would also appeal to consumers interested in “baby skin products.”

In January 2021, I learned from CMI’s research that 63% of B2C marketers had changed their messaging/targeting strategy in response to the pandemic, but only 18% had revisited their customer/buyer personas.

This meant many of them were probably putting the cart before the horse.

So, I showed my students how to use Find My Audience on YouTube to go beyond demographics to identify the in-market segments (i.e. the people actively researching or planning to purchase products or services in 20 categories) and affinity segments (i.e. the people whose interests and habits relate to what businesses in 12 categories offer) that mattered most to their businesses.

If 57% of B2C marketers now say creating content that appeals to different target audiences is their biggest challenge, then showing them different ways to segment their audiences and create consumer personas may be a better solution than telling them that making content operations more strategic will somehow help them with scaling to meet the needs of different audiences.

Why? As Rose himself says,

“Often the first sign of trouble in any content marketing approach is when you hear, ‘How do we get more efficient at content?’”

In other words, focus on doing the right things (effectiveness) before turning your attention to doing things right (efficiency).

Developing Consistency With Measurement

According to CMI’s latest research, 44% of B2C marketers say their biggest challenge is developing consistency with measurement.

Well, this is going to continue to be a challenge – particularly since Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing data on July 1, 2023.

If their company hasn’t migrated to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) already, then it will take another 12 months before B2C marketers can compare this month’s results with the results for the same month last year.


Because UA, which Google introduced in October 2012, uses session-based data, while GA4 uses event-based data. And UA uses easily observable data from cookies, while GA4 uses cookieless measurement as well as behavioral and conversion modeling.

So, comparing data and metrics from UA with events and conversions in GA4 is like comparing little green apples with Sumo citrus oranges.

But this could be a blessing in disguise.

According to CMI’s latest research, 70% of B2C marketers say that content marketing has become more important to their organization over the last year.

But many of those same marketers say they are still fighting for more staff, more budget, and better access to subject matter experts.

So, it appears the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that B2C marketers rely on most when evaluating content performance are not well aligned with the business goals and marketing objectives that their organization wants to achieve.

This means B2C marketers need to overcome the challenges they face with measuring content performance this year before they can focus on developing consistency with measurement next year.

Fortunately, they don’t need to wait until they’ve finished migrating from UA to GA4 before changing their metrics and adjusting their KPIs for the top four goals that content marketing is expected to achieve:

  • Creating brand awareness.
  • Building credibility/trust.
  • Educating audience(s).
  • Building/growing loyalty with existing clients/customers.

How Do B2C Marketers Measure KPIs Today?

Well, I hope they aren’t using “vanity metrics” like impressions, video views, page views, and bounce rate.

So, how should B2C marketers measure how they are doing against the top four goals and objectives?

Well, if your goal is to create brand awareness, then use a brand lift survey before and after your content marketing campaign.

The pre-campaign survey provides a baseline of your brand awareness, and the post-campaign survey accurately determines content marketing’s impact.

If your goal is to build credibility/trust, then periodically ask if people agree or disagree with a series of statements.

For example, on a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (completely agreeing), to what extent do you agree/disagree with the following statements:

  • “This organization can be relied upon to keep its promises.”
  • “I feel very confident about this organization’s skills.
  • “This organization has the ability to accomplish what it says it will do.”
  • “Sound principles seem to guide this organization’s behavior.”
  • “This organization does not mislead people like me.”
  • “This organization is known to be successful at the things it tries to do.”

If your goal is to educate audiences, then use online quizzes and exams – just like educators do.

And if your goal is to build or grow loyalty with existing clients or customers, then conduct customer loyalty surveys.

For example, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) asks customers: “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”

It’s worth noting that none of these KPIs are included in the list of metrics that B2C marketers rely on the most when evaluating content performance.

Metrics that B2C Marketers Rely OnImage from Content Marketing Institute, January 2023

So, it’s no wonder that only 11% of B2C marketers say, “We do not face challenges measuring content performance.”

On the other hand, if your goals and objectives include any of the following, then you should migrate to GA4 as soon as possible:

  • Generate demand or leads.
  • Nurture subscribers, audiences, or leads.
  • Build or grow a subscribed audience.
  • Drive attendance to one or more in-person or virtual events.
  • Generate sales or revenue.
  • Support the launch of a new product.

Next, insist on having an Editor role so you can configure events, mark conversions, compare attribution models, analyze life cycle reports, explore deeper insights, act on analytics intelligence, create audiences, and enable remarketing.

If you want to learn more, then watch “Getting started with the Google Analytics 4 Property” on YouTube.

And make sure the metrics and KPIs you rely on most this year are aligned with the business goals and marketing objectives that your organization wants to achieve.

That should help you win the battles next year for more staff, more budget, and better access to subject matter experts.

Differentiating Your Products/Services From The Competition

It seems odd that 40% of B2C marketers say differentiating their products/services from the competition is their biggest challenge.

That’s typically the responsibility of the brand or product managers, who probably had to cut their budgets for market research, competitive intelligence tools, and innovation consulting firms because their pointy-haired bosses told them to “do more with less.”

So, B2C marketers have two options: They can update their resumes and join the Great Resignation, or they can invite the poor brand and product managers at their company to a brown bag lunch.

Now, a lot of Americans quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022 because their pay was too low, there were no opportunities for advancement, and they felt disrespected at work.

With the global economy expected to slow this year, option one seems risky.

That’s why I’d strongly urge you to consider the second option. What would you talk about during an informal meeting with your brand and product managers?

Well, it could be beneficial for both parties to share strategic insights, critical data, and industry trends.

Heck, your brand and product managers may be just as interested as you are in:

  • Exploring different ways to segment your audiences and create consumer personas.
  • Aligning your metrics and KPIs with your CEO, CMO, and CFO’s goals and objectives.
  • Launching a new product or service that gives your business a competitive advantage.

You might even convince your brand or product managers to become subject matter experts in your next campaign.

And communicating internally among teams or silos may even help you with making a better business case for content marketing.

But the subversive goal of this lunch and learn session is to ensure content marketing continues to be “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

I hope this has been helpful.

Although you must unlearn some of what you have learned about B2C content marketing, it should help you withstand the economic crosswinds that you’ll be facing this year.

More resources: 

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI




4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.


Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.

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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X




OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI


OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.

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ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites




ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

ChatGPT Plus subscriptions and upgrades remain paused after a surge in demand for new features created outages.

Some users who signed up for the waitlist have received invites to join ChatGPT Plus.

Screenshot from Gmail, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

This has resulted in a few shares of the link that is accessible for everyone. For now.

RELATED: GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

In addition to the invites, signs that more people are getting access to GPTs include an introductory screen popping up on free ChatGPT accounts.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Unfortunately, they still aren’t accessible without a Plus subscription.

chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlistScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlist

You can sign up for the waitlist by clicking on the option to upgrade in the left sidebar of ChatGPT on a desktop browser.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

OpenAI also suggests ChatGPT Enterprise for those who need more capabilities, as outlined in the pricing plans below.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Why Are ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Paused?

According to a post on X by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, the recent surge in usage following the DevDay developers conference has led to capacity challenges, resulting in the decision to pause ChatGPT Plus signups.

The decision to pause new ChatGPT signups follows a week where OpenAI services – including ChatGPT and the API – experienced a series of outages related to high-demand and DDoS attacks.

Demand for ChatGPT Plus resulted in eBay listings supposedly offering one or more months of the premium subscription.

When Will ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Resume?

So far, we don’t have any official word on when ChatGPT Plus subscriptions will resume. We know the GPT Store is set to open early next year after recent boardroom drama led to “unexpected delays.”

Therefore, we hope that OpenAI will onboard waitlisted users in time to try out all of the GPTs created by OpenAI and community builders.

What Are GPTs?

GPTs allow users to create one or more personalized ChatGPT experiences based on a specific set of instructions, knowledge files, and actions.

Search marketers with ChatGPT Plus can try GPTs for helpful content assessment and learning SEO.

There are also GPTs for analyzing Google Search Console data.

And GPTs that will let you chat with analytics data from 20 platforms, including Google Ads, GA4, and Facebook.

Google search has indexed hundreds of public GPTs. According to an alleged list of GPT statistics in a GitHub repository, DALL-E, the top GPT from OpenAI, has received 5,620,981 visits since its launch last month. Included in the top 20 GPTs is Canva, with 291,349 views.


Weighing The Benefits Of The Pause

Ideally, this means that developers working on building GPTs and using the API should encounter fewer issues (like being unable to save GPT drafts).

But it could also mean a temporary decrease in new users of GPTs since they are only available to Plus subscribers – including the ones I tested for learning about ranking factors and gaining insights on E-E-A-T from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

custom gpts for seoScreenshot from ChatGPT, November 2023custom gpts for seo

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