John Deere

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website,

Content marketing can be traced back to the 1895 publication of The Furrow, a magazine launched by John Deere. It now circulates to over 1.5 million farmers in 12 languages to 40 different countries. Was The Furrow a strategically smart marketing idea? Absolutely.

Next time you talk to a publisher, brand or agency about the future of advertising, start a stopwatch. Odds are, within two minutes, the topic of native advertising will come up. The problem? There is no industry consensus on where native is heading—much less on what it even currently means. We asked several publishers what they consider the truths, half-truths and common misperceptions of native ads. Here’s what they had to say

I recently got my hands on a copy of Joe Pulizzi's new book, Epic Content Marketing, and I can't say enough good things about it. Pulizzi has figured out how marketers can apply publishing techniques to marketing objectives, and, along with a couple of other leaders in the category, like Ann Handley and Joe Chernov, has articulated an entirely new type of marketing. One that really works, especially in B-to-B

Let’s face it. When it comes to PPC ad testing, only a few of us are actually testing as often as we should be. One of the main “excuses” advertisers give is that they don’t gain enough lift from testing to justify the resources that went into running the experiments. It's time to lift your testing spirits and restore your faith by sharing some PPC ad copy experiments that yielded great results for their advertisers.

By Rachel McLaughlin In this age of information, marketers are constantly trying to learn more about their customers. Over the last few years, countless time and energy has been spent on building databases, compiling as much information as possible about each and every customer—what he or she buys, how much he or she spends—as well as demographic and geographic data. However, when it comes to using this information to create a more effective marketing campaign, direct marketers fall short of its full potential. While this information has been used to decide whom to mail to and when, the data can also be used to

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