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IDG’s Chief Content Officer: Separate Content Marketing From Marketing

Huffington Post

Since our first CXOTalk show launched in 2013 with Guy Kawasaki, I have interviewed 12 startup founders/CEOs, 15 Fortune 250 executives, 28 Chief Information Officers, 10 technology analysts including Group Vice Presidents from Gartner and IDC, seven venture capitalists, six bestselling authors, one Emmy award winner, one Brigadier General and one NBA team owner. After hosting our 100th episode last week, we can now add to that impressive guest roster, our first Chief Content Officer, John Gallant of IDG Communications.

2015 03 07 1425738085 6610421 123north thumb IDGs Chief Content Officer: Separate Content Marketing From Marketing
John Gallant, Chief Content Officer – IDG Media US

As Chief Content Officer for the largest technology publishing company in the world (IDG literally publishes in every continent), Gallant (Twitter: @JohnGallant1) works with editorial teams to set content strategy and figure out how to leverage social and mobile as he determines the overall content strategy that drives the business of IDG in the U.S. The print industry has been completely re-vamped by digital transformation. With just one print publication left today, CIO Magazine, IDG has reinvented itself and continues to serve their audience using a rich array of media such as web-based tools, social media, podcasts and events.

Content is so important, not just to marketing, but to all businesses looking to drive successful outcomes. More and more companies are realizing the importance of quality content and the role it plays in building that ongoing relationship with their customers, however when you look across the technology landscape, there are a lot of people covering a lot of similar technologies. IDG differentiates their brand by focusing on delivering high-value content targeted for specific audiences that is not being delivered by another brand in the market.

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Getting Maximum Value from Data Marketing

IDG Connect 0811 Getting Maximum Value from Data Marketing

A social media expert with over 15 years’ experience in digital, Christian works with some of the biggest platforms and programmes on TV, taking social media data and making it into relevant, interesting and engaging content. He currently works at performance marketing agency Albion Cell, delivering data-driven social media strategies for clients including King.com, Jose Cuervo and Ubuntu.

Marketers are often unduly daunted by the prospect of big data, possibly because the sky really is the limit when it comes to what can be done and how much can be collected. There is also a problem in that despite it being a ‘hot topic’ for so long, most businesses still aren’t leveraging new data technologies and techniques nearly enough.

Data presents an enormous opportunity to better understand your customers and their purchase behaviour, and then hone your marketing based on these insights.

Even if you are planning to outsource your data efforts to a consultant or agency, it’s a good idea for any marketer to have a basic, practical understanding of the key aspects involved. The more intelligently targeted your marketing is, the more efficient it will be.

1) Choose the right data storage for your business

There are effectively two types of data storage: on-premise or off-premise. While off-premise is more cost effective (and used successfully by online-only businesses like ASOS and Amazon, which have been able to create their systems from scratch entirely in the cloud), there are always issues of access and privacy or security. On-premise is more expensive due to high server costs, but gives businesses full control over the data – banks, for example, use data warehouses to minimise risk. When you’re deciding which system to use, consider your priorities and choose accordingly.

It should be noted that some businesses do a hybrid approach, but the challenge here comes when you want to combine your cloud data with any on-premise data to do deeper, more thorough marketing. Lloyds Bank has successfully built a very sophisticated hybrid system but there currently isn’t a way of combining on and off-premise data very easily or efficiently.

2) Only store what you need

The key point you should think about is what, from the enormous volumes of data you can collect, you actually need to collect and store. If you store only the relevant data you can be far more efficient.

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Publishers love WhatsApp’s potential, but struggle with execution

DIGIDAY

Publishers have a love-hate relationship with WhatsApp. While many are seeing big numbers from the platform, they’re also wrangling with a handful of product issues that complicate how they’re approaching the platform.

For publishers such The Huffington Post U.K. and Daily Mirror, which use WhatsApp to send breaking news alerts to readers, the big challenge is the work involved in getting people signed up for the alerts. It’s an arduous process on both ends. To get the alerts, readers have to send a message to a dedicated number setup by a publisher, which is a more-lengthy process than clicking a “Like” or “Follow” button.

But that’s only the beginning of the process: To get those alerts out to readers, publishers have to add every signed up user to a Broadcast List, which is what lets WhatsApp users send messages to many people at once. That’s a long process for publishers’ small social media teams, and it’s made more complicated by WhatsApp limiting each broadcast list to 256 users.

“It’s an absolute nightmare,” said Chris York, social media editor at Huffington Post U.K., which launched its first WhatsApp trials in October. York said that process of adding and removing WhatsApp users from its Broadcast lists has been so laborious that The Huffington Post has stopped actively marketing the feature. “We’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could achieve with WhatsApp and we’re really excited to keep innovating with their platform,” he added.

Other publishers are seeing the same issues. The Daily Mirror, which started sending out WhatsApp politics alerts last week, has already felt the heat. “We don’t have the biggest team, and it’s a very manual process, particularly in comparison to something like Twitter,” said Heather Bowen, head of social media at The Daily Mirror.

But publisher frustrations with WhatsApp are in part due to the basic reality that WhatsApp was designed for small-scale commutation, large-scale broadcasting.

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Gen Z Influencers to Brands: Let Us Be Ourselves — and Forget Tumblr

Ad Age

He let his fans dictate his agenda, sending collages of visual messages, or snaps, at each tourist stop. “At the end of the day,” he said, “I’d give a shout-out to Marriott for hooking me up with the hotels.”

That kind of brand marketing thrives on the platform, explained the 27-year old, who was commissioned for similar work byDisney and has worked for AT&T and Samsung. To demonstrate what he won’t do on Snapchat, he adopts a salesman patois: “Ten dollars off at your next stay!”

Brands must be hands-off, giving social-media savants like him one brief: “be true to yourself.”

This was the overarching message from Mr. McBride and a trio of even younger players gathered on Wednesday by 360i, the Dentsu Aegis digital agency, for a panel on “Gen Z Influencers.” The agency roughly defines the generation as those born between 1997 and 2002, and while the influencers in question might not be in the generation, they’re definitely reaching them.

And marketers want to reach them, too, which is why they are increasingly turning to content creators with fame on mobile platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. And they’re shelling hefty fees to do so — sometimes as high as five figures per snap, photo or video. The market’s potential became clearer two weeks ago, when Twitter agreed to buy Niche, a digital talent agency for social influencers.

It makes sense. The influencers, like the YouTube stars before them, understand the platforms. And they can often execute two of the most desirable, difficult tasks for advertisers targeting younger audiences: mobile and native.

With his off-kilter images, Mr. McBride, who tucks his stringy, long hair in a backwards cap and cultivates a surfer dude image, has amassed a huge following of over 350,000 Snapchat “friends” known as “Shonduras.” His most-engaged fans, he says, are often “14-year old girls.”

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Why email marketing is still in style and thriving

VentureBeat

Email is the workhorse of digital marketing. While we as marketers like talking about the hot new platform du jour, email marketing has been around since the ’90s, is appropriate for every audience, and delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) in digital marketing.

As it turns out, consumers like email just as much as marketers. A new survey from Marketing Sherpa reveals that most consumers like getting promotional emails every week. A vast majority (91 percent) of U.S. adults say they like getting promotional emails from companies they do business with. Of those, 86 percent would like monthly emails and 61 percent would like them at least weekly.

When consumers are this actively engaged with a digital marketing channel, I’m all ears, and you should be, too.

Email might not be the flashiest digital marketing channel, but it’s definitely the most likely to succeed. So what’s the future of email, and how can marketers innovate on this tried-and-true channel?

In its next evolution, I see email marketing becoming the connective tissue of the customer journey. It’s clear that the future of all marketing is the customer journey, as the lines between sales, service, and marketing are blurring. Customers expect a seamless and personalized experience from the companies and brands they do business with, every step of the way. Our job as marketers is to understand customers on a 1:1 basis, to understand their individual journeys, and then to influence those journeys at scale, so we can achieve desired business outcomes.

Over the next year to three years, email will move from being the digital marketing workhorse to being a connecting fiber between channels that keeps customers satisfied on every front. Email is an incredible tool all on its own. But consider these “email-plus” scenarios that are truly marketing gold.

1. Email amplifies social audiences to great effect

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are powerful ways to connect with existing audiences and earn new ones through creative and useful content. But we’ve also seen that the combination of email with social media is a new holy grail.

 

Read more tips here… 

Are Millennials Just Figments of Our Imaginations?

Ad Age

If you’re reading this somewhere in the continental U.S. right now, there’s a good chance you’re snowed in, dangerously low on bread and milk, and have moved beyond weather panic, groundhog-induced rage and cabin fever into a state between hibernation and death.

But fear not, spring is only 20 or so days away. And we all know what spring means! The first signs of advertising awards season. Lions and Pencils and Cubes, oh my. (Cubes? Someone start an award show that hands out Tigers, please.)

While we’re all warming ourselves with heated debate over who or what will be the next “Epic Split,” I’d like to propose a lifetime achievement award for the marketing consultants who’ve had an entire industry living in abject fear for the better part of the last 10 years.

Fear of climate change? Fear of nuclear armageddon? Fear of drug-resistant airborne Super Ebola?

No. Fear of millennials, an invasive alien species so unlike everything that came before them that, gosh darnit, you’re going to need to rip up your entire marketing and media plans. While you’re at it, hire them fresh out of college and anoint them exec VP of something. But don’t demand that they work a regular workweek because these kids, these precious little flowers? They’re not having it. And just stop trying to sell them cars, because they care so much about the planet that they’re never driving again.

If that sounds ridiculous, it is. But that’s the world most of us are living in.

And it’s an imaginary one!

I don’t blame marketing consultants. Like any good marketers, they created a need and filled it. And they weren’t alone in this world-building.

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How Four Top Publishers Use Facebook For Video

The Media Briefing

Facebook video usage has skyrocketed over the past year, which makes it particularly attractive for publishers given what seems to be ever-shrinking organic reach with other types of posts.

According to figures recently released by the social network, Facebook users are seeing nearly 4 times more video in their feeds compared to one year ago. That’s a steady 1 billion video views every day for the network. Crucially, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said during a an earnings call last month that over 65 percent of videos are watched on mobile devices.

As online video continues to rise in importance for the modern media company, I spoke to a handful of top publishers to collect some best practices for using video on Facebook, and to better understand what might be at risk.

The Economist: Marketing the brand with video

“For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

Before posting videos to Facebook, The Economist had the fairly standard practice amongst news outlets of publishing video on its own website and monetising through pre-roll advertising. Last summer however, Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy, decided that wasn’t “a viable long-term video strategy”.

After effectively doubling the publication’s video views by posting video content to YouTube, Standage started experimenting with uploading videos via the native Facebook player, which had “a much greater impact” on the number of views. He says:

“We are using this observation that if you post videos with a native player you can get millions of views as the basis of a new video strategy which we are still developing. For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

The Economist’s most successful video on Facebook was a 4 minute-long animated graphic with voice-over about demographics, what Standage calls a “live chart”. The publication has had over 800,000 views on Facebook alone of that video.

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FreeWheel Video Monetization Report: Q4 2014 Report

FreeWheel

Digital video’s impressive growth this quarter was headlined by the crown jewels of the TV industry; first-run shows and live events. With considerable growth in both the digital monetization of the Broadcast networks’ Fall programming and live streaming, there is ample evidence to indicate that the TV ecosystem is expanding and becoming screen-agnostic.

Key Highlights:

 

  • Live viewing grew 297% year-over-year, driven by strong growth in Sports streaming and News simulcasts.
  • First-run broadcast shows attracted far more viewers this quarter than the year prior, as seen by a 67% increase in digital video ad views.
  • Over-the top (OTT) streaming devices, overwhelmingly used for long-form and live viewing, overtook tablets, accounting for 8% of all video ad views.
  • Authenticated viewing grew 591% year-over-year, as 56% of all video ad views on long-form and live content now come from behind authentication walls.

Screen Shot 2015 03 09 at 1.08.06 PM FreeWheel Video Monetization Report: Q4 2014 Report

Download the full Video Monetization Report Q4 2014

Personalisation – four steps to put the customer at the centre of marketing

The Drum

One topic that we’re seeing a lot of debate about currently is personalisation, but it’s actually a fairly simple concept and one that has been around for decades.

Personalisation simply refers to the focusing and tailoring of a brand’s interactions with an individual, based on what they know about them. The key factor here is ‘relevancy’. Making sure a brand is being relevant ranges from something as basic as using customer’s name in an email, right through to tailoring content pages to reflect an individual’s browsing activity and/or demographics.

The potential of personalisation increases exponentially when applied to digital marketing. This is because the ability to personalise relies on two things; the amount of information available and the ability to deliver a tailored experience… Both things that we know the digital environment more than caters for.

While getting personalisation right is by no means an easy task, it is probably more straightforward than you might think – especially if you break it down into manageable steps and don’t over complicate things. With this in mind, here are the four key steps to help personalise digital marketing:

1) Think about context

Start with your business needs (e.g. lifecycle programmes, sales conversion) and establish the benefit personalisation will provide to the customer, such as; better brand experience, relevant offers or reminders. This is pretty fundamental and should be considered whenever personalisation is discussed.

Once you have identified both of these, you need to define the KPIs and metrics which will prove ROI. That way, you know if the investment in personalisation has worked or indeed is the right (or best) thing to do to meet your business objective. From there, identify what data and insights are required to drive personalisation rules, decide whether you have the content assets available to personalise interactions and finally, check that you have the right tools and people to action these changes.

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Can print media make it ‘over the top’?

Capital New York

On a Tuesday afternoon in early February, Time Inc. C.E.O. Joe Ripp was onstage in a ballroom at the New York Marriott Marquis, gabbing with several other top magazine executives—during a discussion moderated by the ever-skeptical media critic Michael Wolff—about the precarious state of their business.

As with most panels that parse the trials and tribulations of media companies married to print, it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to that younger, sexier, more … animated medium they’ve all been getting in bed with: digital video. Ripp, for one, was particularly hot on the type of emerging technology that’s been steering people away from cable boxes and into the on-demand world of mobile viewing and devices like Roku and Apple TV.

“Everyone’s coming out with a subscription, over-the-top model,” said Ripp, using the industry jargon that describes a growing array of streaming Internet television services. “In this new world,” Ripp continued, sprinkling on an extra dash of jargon, “I look at this as an opportunity to create new video opportunities.”

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