During a 1967 post-fight interview with Muhammad Ali, legendary sports broadcaster Howard Cosell said to the fiery champ, “You’re being extremely truculent.” Without pausing to catch his breath, Ali replied, “Whatever ‘truculent’ means, if that’s good, I’m that.”
I’ve always thought Ali’s response was the coolest quip in sports history. Yet somehow I’d forgotten all about it until a couple years ago, when someone asked me to explain the difference between “content marketing” and “inbound marketing.” I suggested she let others fret about terminology and instead focus on creating awesome stuff that doesn’t even feel like marketing in the first place. In other words, if it’s good, be that.
Perhaps it’s because I have a “content marketing” title at the company that coined the term “inbound marketing,” but lately I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the distinction. So as part of our annual State of Inbound survey, we put the question to more than 3,500 marketing and sales professionals.
Specifically, we asked, “Which of the following best describes the relationship between ‘content marketing’ and ‘inbound marketing’?” and provided five options:
- They are synonyms.
- Content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing.
- Inbound marketing is a subset of content marketing.
- The two are fundamentally different.
- Don’t know.