I attended the 17TH Annual SIPA congress yesterday (thank you to SIPA for a very interesting and insightful day) and it was so nice to see so many faces and hear about the challenges that many of our clients are facing.
David Gilbertson, the former chief executive of B2B publisher Emap, started the day by with a very clear message: “marketing is the way to monetise products. News is fine, but it has to change to be genuinely useful.” News and content is now available anytime, anywhere on many different media and the market has moved to giving content away for free, sharing and linking to rivals in a live stream of useful information to satisfy that need.
“The interesting thing in today’s world is that the place for news is online and it’s breaking news. I don’t think there is a place for news to be provided on a weekly basis – news should be now, otherwise it’s not news!”
The conversations and presentations then focussed on the changing role of marketing, and the relationship between the marketing department and the editorial teams. The key to maintaining the relationship described by David Shepherd (Reed Business Information) is to work together to build that knowledge of readers and users.
However, with the enormous amount of knowledge we can gain about customers with complex profiling and segmentation, are we in the direct marketing dream or nightmare? It is marketing’s role to discover user interests and preferences using the information available, helping editorial to then refine messages and content based on this knowledge. This refined content will then generate deeper user engagement allowing the marketer to gain even more knowledge on the user. Thus leading to a long lasting relationship with the user and providing them with relevant information. With improved data comes endless possibilities.
Email has a key part to play as the main channel for delivering this content to users. Although sometimes the load and blast method is suitable, relevant content delivered in communications sent at the “right time” will deliver optimum results. Whether that is for acquisition or relationship building purposes, email is still the best way to reach users. Advances in email technology easily allows publishers to do this.
My key take away from the day was that “content is still king” and that email is still a key channel in delivering that content to subscribers, but it must be relevant and interesting to your target market for interaction to increase. If this happens, then marketing the product comes naturally.
Also, congratulations to all the SIPA UK 2011 award winners!