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Content Marketing History [Infographic]

Content Marketing History

Curious about how content marketing came to be?

Check out the infographic to see the journey through the last 20 years of marketing evolution. Then, read on to learn a little bit more about each stage and how we got to the current state of content marketing.


Those of you whose marketing careers started in the 1990s know all the about rise and fall of the Internet bubble and its impact on the industry. Sites like, and ruled the web and gained substantial profits before the bubble’s collapse on March 10, 2000. The majority of these organizations became extinct, though a few got bought out by Yahoo!, like GeoCities and Thousands of marketers lost their jobs and struggled through a tough job market for years to come. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that high tech employment in the Silicon Valley alone lost upwards of 400,000 jobs due to the bubble’s burst. So, after this catastrophe, how did we get to the complex content marketing world of today that we all know and love?

Rebuilding: Resource Management & Marketing Automation

The early 2000s was a time for rebuilding and innovation for the marketing function after the Internet bubble burst; with a much greater focus on marketing return on investment (ROI). While many marketers searched for the perfect ROI equation, best-in-class marketers began with identifying how much their company was spending on marketing, as well as where these monies were being spent. With this, marketing resource management (MRM) companies like Aprimo came into the picture to help marketers measure and manage their resources.

In parallel, marketers were rapidly shifting their focus from awareness building to demand generation in an effort to get more leads to sales and better justify the existence of marketing. This drive to increase the quantity of leads, coupled with the opportunities provided by digital marketing, spurred the growth of marketing automation tools, such as HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-On and Eloqua, to support marketers in their quest to obtain, track and manage leads. As marketers increased their efficiency in communicating and nurturing leads, they quickly learned that they needed more relevant and higher quality content to engage these leads. Not to mention that the new buyer 2.0 no longer wanted to be treated like a lead, and tended to work with vendors that had established trust with them and their buying team long before a sales rep even showed up on-site. This brings us to the content marketing movement.

Content Marketing

Curata defines content marketing as the process for developing, executing and delivering the digital content and related assets (non-product focused) that are needed to create, nurture and grow a company’s customer base. This content is intended to engage readers by providing them with relevant and high quality information that is pertinent to their job, company and/or career in a non-invasive manner. Providing this content is a critical step to establish a trusted relationship with today’s buyer 2.0, increasing the probability of this individual engaging with the vendor as the buying process advances. In our recent study, we found that 76 percent of marketers plan to increase their spend on content marketing in the coming year. However, with the influx of content and the millions of articles posted online every day, it is not enough for organizations to simply join the content marketing movement.

Cutting Through the Noise

Today’s best-in-class content marketers are building out their team with content creation and management specialists; developing an efficient content supply chain without sacrificing the “art” of content creation; using a mix of created (65%), curated (25%) and syndicated (10%) content to optimize value for their audience; and tapping into the power of new content marketing technologies for ideation, content creation/curation, promotion and analysis. These top-notch marketers know that great content cuts through the noise of all the other buzz out there on the web. In fact, 49 percent of companies already have an executive in place responsible for their content marketing strategy, while 58 percent of marketers are using content marketing specific software to publish relevant, valuable content on a consistent basis.

Without the implementation of technologies such as content management platforms and curation tools, it can be incredibly difficult to get noticed. Content needs to be published daily, and to multiple channels, in order to reach the right audience and keep their attention. If you aren’t publishing information they need, readers won’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

As content marketers today, we’re all in the pursuit of discovering the perfect content strategy – building an unmatched content team, nailing down the process, and finding the right content marketing tools to match our needs. Eventually, we will get to the stage of being less egocentric in our content marketing efforts, and deliver the right content to the right individuals at the right time, place and format to facilitate deal closure.


Where do you think the future of content marketing will take us?

Check out Content Marketing Tactics & Technology Planner  to see what other marketers are planning for this year and leave a comment below!


Michael Gerard

Michael was CMO of Curata, responsible for Curata’s marketing strategy and all related activities. He has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations such as IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore. Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University.

Curata Content Analytics

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