I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in NYC at Federated Media’s CM Summit, hosted by their Chief John Battelle. The event coincides with Internet Week here and there’s lots going on. Voce client Webtrends was asked to participate in a web measurement panel on day one – and big thanks to Mashable EIC Adam Ostrow for the invitation. It was a great panel that also included Flurry, Quantcast and Doug Chavez, a digital marketing lead for Del Monte foods in San Francisco.
A couple of valuable observations to share: First – measurement was a BIG part of all the real-time marketing conversation. From Chris Bruzzo of Starbucks to Amy Powell, SVP Interactive Marketing at Paramount Pictures, all program overviews, single interviews and discussions had an element of measurement. In the MarComm world we’ve clearly broken through the forest and into the clearing here. Measurement is a daily part of our programs and practices – but we’re still not harnessing the power of measurement as an industry. This will change and help us build something in that clearing.
Second – The Summit boasted a great line-up of speakers but for this audience maybe the most impactful were each day’s ending conversations. Day one culminated with a one-on-one chat between Battelle and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman, the New York Times Company, and day two with Ariana Huffington, Co-Founder and EIC of The Huffington Post. Both significant publishers with brands tackling journalism and the publishing industries in very different ways.
One of the most important things to pull from the Summit; Sulzberger has said the NYTimes will eventually have content behind a pay-wall – which we all knew – and we all understand the often violent reaction web readers/users have to this.
We are not debating the ethical standing behind paid vs free today, btw.
My concern for this model was best described by panel member Mary Gail Pezzimenti, chief editor and lead for Lucky Magazine’s online property, who clearly called out Tuesday that their print vs online readership shares only about a 15% overlap. Obviously The New York Times and a monthly consumer magazine are very different publishing models so I’m not suggesting it’s apples-to-apples, but you can see the writing on the wall there.
In contrast, Ms. Huffington clearly stated that HuffPo “will never” charge for content. It’s clear some emerging publishers take the strategy to “…become the Huffington Post of X, or become the Huffington Post of Y,” so I take what the HuffPo says very seriously. They are real and they are influential. This brand has awesome momentum right now.
The HuffPo’s differentiating sauce in comparison to the NYTimes? A generational audience that feels like its news brand is engaged, hip, socially interactive and “newsy” all at the same time. I liken what Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos who is renowned for his authority on creating brand through culture and social community and engagement, to what the HuffPo is doing in publishing today(and they’re barely doing it rally). The more publishers can take away from his points of view on life the better they will be. It’s not enough to expect your audience simply respects who you are. Consumers of news are becoming “the show me state” of our society.
I plan to tease out future posts through other tracks from the CM Summit so will be writing about this more. For now let me know what you think about measurement, interactive MarComm and publishing.