Speakers focus on customers at ABM’s 2012 Annual Conference
Many speakers challenged the audience on existing notions around traditional business and new opportunities such as lead gen and marketing services. Below, ABM offers notable snapshots from speakers at the event.
Jack Griffin, founder, Empirical Media Advisors: Griffin, the former president of Meredith’s National Media Group and CEO of Time Inc., identified the four building blocks of B-to-B, including Data and Audience; Content and Brands; Convening Power and Community; and Social and Mobile Media. Griffin emphasized Social and Mobile as among the most critical components and offered what he termed the Three Pillars of Engagement for B-to-B:
- Establish social listening. “Empower tools to monitor what customers, competitors and the media are saying.”
- Establish a coherent and effective social voice by selecting star reporters, editors, marketers and executives to represent your brand. “The greatest strength of social media is also its weakness--anybody can do it,” said Griffin. “You can’t just hand the keys to everyone with a Twitter handle.”
- Drive the conversation. “The stakes are far beyond generating revenue with social media, it’s about relevance and viability,” said Griffin.
- Let Nerd Passion Drive Your Culture. “If you’re in b-to-b, you’ve got to have some kind of nerd in you. People want to a part of something.”
- All Roads Lead to Data. “Any interaction with customers should be about getting further information about what that customer wants and needs.”
- Share the Crap. The competition isn’t other b-to-b media and information companies, it’s staying relevant in a digital age. Companies should be sharing services and best practices. “I spent 10 years in the music industry and we fought each other until we were gone,” said Pettit.
- Make Fact-Based Decisions. Don’t chase “magic bullets.” Let data and customer understanding determine the opportunities you put time and resources behind.
- Unlock Your Value. As an industry, we need to foster entrepreneurial cultures. All hands on deck lead to new solutions.
Justin Greeves, corporate vp of research, e.Republic: “Information is less valuable than intelligence, don’t settle just for data.”
John Siefert, CEO, Virgo: Siefert introduced Virgo’s “Ladder of Engagement” which give users different points of entry to different types of Virgo content and products and allows the company to assign worth to those customers. “I know how much they are worth to me depending on where they are on the ladder,” he said.
Amandeep Sandhu, director, audience engagement and analytics, UBM Electronics: Sandhu said that the way lead gen has been commoditized has put us on “a race to the bottom” and that publishers must use predictive analytics to predict customer behavior and correlate products to customer need. When advertisers beat up media companies on price, he said, “They call it ROI.”
Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat: “We’ve adapted to the search web, where traffic is somewhat predictable. The next wave is the social web, where traffic is not. Data is not worth a damn if you can’t respond in real-time. Media companies must democratize content decisions and empower junior staffers who are in a position to make instant changes.”
Frank Cutitta, CEO, Center for Global Branding: Cutitta summarized the scramble for data by saying that, “90 percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years.” He also identified three types of data for media and business information companies today:
- Stagnant Data (Existing circulation list)
- Data of Action (lead generation)
- Data of Intention: Predicting behavior. “This is the data of the future,” Cutitta said.
Andy McLaughlin, CEO, PaperClip Communications: “Digital Natives will be the most significant media generation since the baby boomers.”
Peter Westerman, chief audience officer, Summit Business Media: Westerman, the former senior vp of audience marketing at Ziff Davis Enterprise, said publishers shouldn’t expect to sell tablet advertising the same way that they sell print advertising. “The notion that advertisers will pay according to a rate base, we [at ZDE] saw very quickly that is never going to happen.” Westerman also warned against simply chasing an all-digital strategy, recounting how ZDE dropped its print magazines before being sold to QuinStreet, which was ultimately more interested in ZDE’s lead gen database than its brands. “At least one of our magazines should have remained in print.”
By Matt Kinsman