Content Marketing Ideas

5 Content Marketing Lessons From Mad Men

Mad Men, the award winning AMC drama, depicts admen and marketing in a glamorous and romantic light but what does this have to say about Content Marketing that’s relevant and useful to your business? Can this drama set in 1960s America be relevant to businesses today?

Here we look at Mad Men, what lessons it has to teach us and how to apply it to today’s Content Marketing.


1. Engaging with your Audience

Throughout the series, Don Draper has shown time and time again his talent in connecting and engaging with your customers through a memory or emotions.

Whether you’re selling a house or house insurance, you have two things to bear in mind;

  • Always use home instead of house, it sounds better
  • The business who connects and engages with their audience, makes the sale

Creating content that, not only just appealing to an audience, engages and connect with them, builds a relationship of trust and increases sale conversions.  If you’re unsure who your audience is or how to find out who they are, then revisit our recent post here.


2. Solve Problems

“You’re not an Artist, Peggy. You solve problems.” Don Draper

Content which addresses a problem is more searchable and is more useful to a potential client. If you create content that can solve a problem or answer a question, you’re not giving them a sales pitch, you are giving them value to their time. People hate sales pitches, they do what they can to avoid it or ignore it but when you create something that is both useful and valuable to them, your audience will be grateful.

With this in mind, put yourself in your client’s shoes and think, what problems, pain points or questions can my product or service solve?


3. Be Innovative

When creating content, don’t be limited to how you create it or distribute it. A marketing agency that is not innovative or creative is not worth your time. What Sterling Cooper, Don Draper had over their rivals was that they were innovative and searched for opportunity.

Mad Men ToastedTheir “It’s Toasted” pitch was brilliant and a great example of moving with the times. A pitch to a cigarette company as health organisations at the time began to publicly denounce cigarettes as unhealthy, as Don Draper changed the conversation. At a time, other cigarette manufacturers were busy trying to go against these medical claims, he embraced it as a choice, playing on consumer behaviour as a source of reassurance and relief.

Simply writing blog articles and publishing them is not enough in our multi-media society. Mad Men is set at both the height of print advertising and the birth of television, Sterling Cooper embraced both mediums, looking at the opportunities for your content to engage and connect with an audience.


4. Be Visual/Accessible

Part of Sterling Cooper and Don Draper’s success is their stunning visuals with their content. Why did this have such a strong impact? Why was it important for ad campaigns to have these glossy spreads and large billboard ads?

Because it is accessible.

A big part of engaging or connecting with your audience is being accessible with your content, that it is designed and created so they can access it. This applies to the content itself, how it’s created and who it’s aimed for, as well as how they can find it. People put billboards by roads because people see it everyday, is your content being distributed somewhere it can be seen?


5. It’s All About Sales

After the planning and execution of a content marketing campaign is finished, it all comes down to sales, conversions and purchases. This is something modern content marketing agencies forget, which results in large expensive campaigns that sees little return and an unhappy client.

That’s why agencies need to track how accessing your content leads into a sale. In Mad Men it was with coupons that led consumers to purchases, today it’s through site links. This is where we differ from Mad Men and traditional marketing as we can physically trace the steps taken for a purchase and are accountable for our actions and spending.


Mad Men may have been set in the 1960’s, but the fundamentals of Content Marketing have’t changed over the last 50 years: know your audience, solve problems, be innovative, be accessible and most importantly track your sales.  Deep down, there’s a little bit of Don or Peggy in all of us!

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