Here's a trick question: What do most marketing departments do?

Here's Joe Pulizzi's answer: "They're mostly built around advertising. Advertising is still what marketing departments spend money on. They look at who has the audience and then how do I interrupt that?"

Interrupting audiences from other stuff they'd rather be doing doesn't sound like excellent marketing. But unfortunately, it's how most marketing departments today operate. And yet the key to more profitable marketing is actually offering content and experiences so useful that customers would seek them out or even pay for them.

Joe Pulizzi is founder of the Content Marketing Institute and the veritable godfather of content marketing. And he's this week's guest on the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce. Joe and Robert Rose have just released their new book Killing Marketing, and the concepts are a breath of fresh air for anyone who feels their marketing efforts getting stale.

In this episode, which you can preview here, listen as Joe candidly explains how certain parts of your marketing strategy deserve to be killed and how you can build a thriving business — and career — as a strategic marketer.

For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights from Joe, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Here are our top 3 ways you can create a more profitable marketing strategy (plus how they help you move ahead in your career) from my chat with Joe.


1. Don't build your house on rented land.


According to Joe, one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make today is relying on non-owned platforms to reach customers. He explains, “If you think like a media company, there's no way you'd build your platform on rented land. You would absolutely ask, where do we have the most control? That's probably your website and email subscriber databases."

"Leverage social — I'm not saying don't leverage social. But definitely your customers move up the chain. So if it's easier for you to build an audience on somebody else's platform, you want to make sure that, at some point, the strategy is to move them up to an email subscription.”

The best place to build your most profitable and longest-lasting marketing effort is where you, as the marketer, have the most control.

How this helps you get promoted: You grow an audience on platforms that you can actually control and own instead of a platform with diminishing reach and returns. So every time a new social algorithm changes your reach drastically, your company isn't so affected and you can still communicate with your core customers.


2. Move marketing conversations from tactical to strategic.


In many organizations, marketing continues to lean into tactical elements and away from the strategic side far too often. This actually hampers the profitability of our marketing by limiting what marketing can achieve. Joe says, "In most cases, [marketing is] a very tactical thing. It's like, 'Oh, we need this done. Somebody needs to get on the webinar. Who's gonna do the blog post today?'

It's short-term thinking, and we're not thinking long-term strategy. The way we view it is that more is better. We gotta create more content, more activity, more web traffic, more likes. But we need to do everything we can to start moving the conversation to building audiences. What's the audience that we actually have the permission to communicate with on a regular basis?"

The audience is what counts, not the marketing. And building an audience is what's so hard. As Joe explains, "If you build a loyal audience, everyone will want to hire you — because you've done what they can't do."

How this helps you get promoted: Your boss sees you as the person who's always thinking bigger and more strategic than the next to-do item, positioning you as a leader instead of a box-checker. You do the impossible and build audiences instead of growing numbers on a spreadsheet.


3. Monetize your audience, not only your products.


Tons of businesses today are transforming their marketing from a place where money goes to die to a place where money is actually made. Marketing is about leading customers to conversion, to be sure. But many successful brands, on both the B2C and B2B sides, are monetizing their audiences in ways that go beyond selling products to creating new purchase niches.

According to Joe, "If we look at how the marketing department in the enterprise is structured today, mostly it's about moving that customer along in the buyer's journey, which is fine — to ultimately buy a product that we sell. But what if we build a loyal, trusted relationship with this audience, and then do different things with them? We could sell products, we could sell services, we could sell media, we could launch our own event. We can do a number of different things, and we get insight into what they want and what they need in order to launch new products that we never thought of before."

For example, some new ways to monetize might include...

  • Selling relevant educational courses like Schneider Electric. Energy University is Schneider’s free e-learning resource that’s available in 12 languages and has more than 180,000 learners who’ve gone through the program.
  • Selling registrations and partnerships to an event. You could create the Dreamforce of your industry.
  • Create awesome content like Red Bull. Red Bull is the poster child for selling content and media as a brand. But lots more content-focused companies are getting more serious about this; Joe told me that Pepsi recently launched a for-profit arm of its marketing enterprise.

How this helps you get promoted: You find new revenue streams for your company and prove your worth in not only marketing and building audiences, but bringing in new business.

Joe offers tons more insight for killing off the worst parts of your marketing and resurrecting new strategies in the full episode of the Marketing Cloudcast. 

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloudcast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.