What is the red pill

Content Marketing Matrix - The Red Or The Blue Pill?

Not only marketers should pay attention to the term content marketing matrix. Because whether you like it or not, the first thought somehow goes not in the direction of marketing, but in the direction of cinema - at least among cinema buffs of my generation: Shortly before the millennium, the Wachowski brothers caused a sensation with their film "The Matrix". Keanu Reeves aka Neo was confronted with a whole new world with unimagined possibilities. Not exactly unproblematic ... And here we draw the link to the CMM, which puts us in a similar situation.

Successful marketing needs format and reach:

“This is your last chance. After that there is no turning back. take thisblue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. take thisred pill - you stay here in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. " Morpheus, The Matrix

Content Marketing Matrix: What do I need it for?

The content wonderland offers an almost unmanageable range of formats. Difficult to choose the right one. Of course marketers always work with the question in mind "What does my target group want to read?"but that's just one factor to consider after all. If you want to do it really well and right, you definitely need to include your own content strategy: What actually fits the brand and which formats are suitable for conveying the optimal brand experience to users or how do we want to reach users at all?

The following sample matrix provides information on which formats are available and in which of the four defined subject areas they fall: Inspiration, belief, learning and entertainment. In addition, two goals are set: Attention and purchase. As a third parameter, the matrix shows whether the formats suit the user emotional or rational speak to. A great thing, because content creators can see at a glance which formats support which goals: Viral social media topics, games or brand videos can, for example, increase attention, i.e. brand awareness, and speak to users on one emotional level. You can't sell anything like this, but that wouldn't be the goal either if you opted for these content formats.

According to Matrix, potential customers are more likely to be convinced of a purchase through rational content formats such as case studies, webinars or interactive demos. Events or ratings are a mixed form and address users both rationally and emotionally. Here you can become active yourself, as part of the community. You are involved, experience the fire and have the feeling that you are helping to shape it. That creates trust in the brand. People like to buy there. However, a study by Sasserath Munzinger Plus and UDG United Digital Group shows that many companies neglect the brand experience. On average for all 97 brands surveyed, the positive brand experience fell by five to 27 percentage points compared to the previous year. The experts warn that as a result, established brands will also lose trust in the long term and ultimately customers.

If we were Neo, we would have opted for the red pill with the Content Marketing Matrix, which gives us deep insights into the big picture. As with our exemplary protagonist, the real work has only just begun.

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Content distribution, but where?

What our exemplary content marketing matrix cannot do is tell us where the optimized content should be published. So it only serves as an initial orientation to bring content formats and marketing goals on track. Of course, there is not just one standardized matrix. The following example from digital consultant Chris Lake includes other factors such as social media, triggers for sharing the content and a quality checklist for the content created.


The advantage: A good overview of content formats, publication platforms, marketing goals, monitoring and quality characteristics. BUT: The matrix is ​​of no help when it comes to clearly recognizing which combination of these factors leads to which goal.

"Companies, brands and self-employed people who use content-driven marketing for their business should avoid one big mistake: They are not allowed to just 'put' their content somewhere and leave it to themselves - no matter how unique, high-quality and beneficial for the target group. Because instead of the desired automatic seeding, the saturated users tend to be more bored with content shock pragmatism. In other words: The respective content can pop, no matter how big it is, if nobody hears the bang, it fizzles out ineffectively. Content marketing then becomes an expensive content grab. " Marc Ostermann, Targetable

Which methods of dissemination are possible for a particular content essentially depends on two factors:

  1. target group: Depending on who is to be reached, other channels and platforms come into question. While younger users prefer Messenger, for example, an older target group can still be reached very easily via e-mail. And if you want to address business customers, you might try LinkedIn and specialized Facebook groups rather than Snapchat.
  2. Customer journey: Another important question is at what point in the customer journey the hoped-for readers are at. Are you primarily interested in general information on an industry or product category? Are you already comparing specific offers? Or is it even about clarifying the last questions before making a purchase? Different channels and platforms are also possible here. General information can be spread well on Facebook or YouTube. Answering detailed questions is more trustworthy on classic websites, in thematically relevant community forums or on your own microsites than on social networks. But here, too, the target group should not be lost sight of. Younger users especially trust video reviews on YouTube and Co.

In order to achieve an effective distribution of the content, a precise analysis of the target group and their position in the content marketing funnel must be carried out. Simply posting in the dark or on well-known platforms and hoping for success does not help. Except frustration - that's guaranteed.

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Owend, Paid or Earned: What really brings reach?

Like Neo, we have now broken out of the Matrix and have to think outside the box in order to achieve our goal. To do this, you need range first. This is created through different communication channels - either free, paid or earned. POEM is the name of the model and is quickly explained:

  • Owned media are all corporate channels. In addition to the directly operated presences such as website, corporate blog or newsletter, this also includes the company's profiles in social networks and platforms. They are the central starting point for distribution strategies.
  • Paid media are all channels and platforms on which a company has to pay for presence. It buys reach and guaranteed distribution. This can be both display advertising forms and content sponsoring as well as new forms such as native advertising or content discovery.
  • Earned media is in the truest sense of the word "deserved" reach, which is created by the "word-of-mouth" propaganda. It has the greatest impact on the company's visibility. This not only includes shares and likes in social media, but also editorial reporting in specialist and public media.

All three communication channels have advantages and disadvantages, as the following graphic shows:

Earned media creates the greatest reach, but can hardly be controlled by the companies themselves. The content practically does what it wants. Ultimately, it is this unpredictability that essentially defines good content marketing - whether B2B or B2C. To close the circle: Neo can beat Mr. Smith because he surprises him with an unpredictable move. Content with reach must also surprise and stand out from the crowd, be exciting and something you want to talk about. BUT: Somewhat “dry” formats are also justified - on the right channels. Ultimately, it depends on which goal was defined based on the content strategy and whether the content should address the user emotionally or rationally. If you are still at the very beginning in the marketing funnel, it just has to bang to get attention. When it comes to detailed information about a product or a product comparison, things can be more moderate - but of course not boring.

The content marketing matrix is ​​a guide, but only half the battle. The red pill only opened his eyes to Neo, he had to do the rest himself.

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