Content marketing – also a tradition in Bielefeld since 1891

Colleagues like to name John Deere from the USA as THE content marketing pioneer. The present-day tractor manufacturer has been relying on content since 1895, because he didn’t have the money for expensive advertisements: Deere offered plough seminars for farmers and started the farmer magazine "The Furrow", which is the world’s most high-circulation agrarian publication in our days.

Certainly this is one of the most traditional and long-lasting content marketing campaigns. But: in Bielefeld, comspace’s hometown, there is another pioneer of content marketing, who has actually begun to make his products more attractive by service information 2 years before the American agricultural machinery manufacturer:

The food manufacturer Dr.Oetker.

In 1891, Oetkers‘ business model consisted of offering baking powder for housewives. Other manufacturers did have this kitchen-tool already on the market in packaging sizes that addressed professional users such as bakeries and canteen kitchens. However, Oetker, the pharmacist from Bielefeld, developed his own product, "Backin", and offered it in practical small packages for 10 Pfennigs, with which housewives could work and actually used exactly 500 g flour.

The content marketing then came into the game on the baking powder sachet:

Old RecipesRecipes that made the use of the new product even simpler were printed on each "Backin" sachet. Oetker understood at a very early point to upgrade his products by extensive knowledge, which he developed together with his wife Caroline in the first testing kitchen. Thus, he could position himself as an expert with his customers and could give the brand promise of "assured success" due to numerous experiments with his products. Trust in respect to the brand and, foremost, an additional use of the product was the result. But that was not all.

(c) Dr. Oetker

From the "Backin" sachet to the cookbook publishing house

Dr.Oetker School Cook Book1911 – 20 years after Oetker started, the first ‚Dr.Oetker Schulkochbuch’ was published. Written by a household-teacher from Bielefeld, the book gave advices regarding housekeeping, about the storage of food to the financial planning and organization of every-day life: „The man fed with too meagre fare, will almost certainly start drinking spirits in order to get warm, especially if he also has a messy, uncomfortable housewife.“

When the cookbook celebrated its 100th Birthday in 2011, it had, with 19 million sold books, become the world’s most sold cookbook. It is a cookbook for beginners as well as a reference book for experienced cooks. From this successful book, a publishing house developed in the 20ties.


(c) Dr. Oetker Verlag

Personal transfer of knowledge

In addition to the written word, Oetker also built on the personal transfer of knowledge in the 20ties. Similar to John Deere, who inspired farmers with his plough seminars for his products, Oetker held cookery courses in every major city, in which customers could get to know the company’s products and learn how to handle them. In major cities there were even basic approaches regarding cross-marketing with the company Henkel: so called Oetker- and Persil-schools were established together.  

Customer loyalty results from customer information. 

Which forms of content marketing are used today by Dr. Oetker in Bielefeld?

What can be found today in Dr. Oetker’s content marketing portfolio in addition to the still imprinted Backin-sachets and an extensive variety of cook- and baking books? We have asked the corporate headquarters, stationed in Bielefeld in the Lutterstraße:

How can you offer additional value to your customers by your knowledge?

We can learn a lot from the traditional company from Bielefeld:  

But above all, how you can use the background knowledge about the own products to offer additional value to the customer and to support him to use the products as effectively as possible.

Of course we cannot all serve with innovative cook- and baking books. But what about whitepapers? Checklists regarding realization of projects? Entertaining instructions for use and background reports regarding the production and best-practice examples of successful customers?