Digital media disruptions VIII - fighting for a piece of the multi-media attention pie

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 1, 2015
Digital media is still chock full of disruption. But which stories pass the enterprise gut check? In this edition: a landmark study on tech media helps us to better grasp the battle for attention.

man tempted by TV
Yep -, it's time for another gut-check of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review. Rules: pick the impactful stories from my curated digital media collection, give them a hard look from the enterprise side, and, where appropriate, recommend a course of action. Note: this series is NOT geared for the media industry, but for enterprises looking to put down their marketing bullhorn and become digital publishers.

Epic slide deck from former Yahoo board member lays out the future of tech and media
by: Former Yahoo board member and Activate "business strategist" Michael Wolf
key excerpt: "Wolf shared that the average American spends more time on tech and media then sleeping, and predicts that messaging will blow past social networking."

enterprise relevance: High, but will take some effort to extract relevant info. The money shot from Wolf's presso is the slide that shows Americans spend more time consuming tech and media than working or sleeping:

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See full Activate presso on Slideshare

If you're wondering how we got to 31 hours - that's because a chunk of that media time is spent multi-tasking on other activities. But that doesn't mean that it's easy to win that attention. Wolf's next slide applies cold water by showing how few sites, apps, and channels media consumers actually use: 79 percent of time is spent on five apps (assuming Facebook owns a good chunk of that), 44 percent of time is spent on 5 web sites, and 100 percent of time channel time is spent on 18 channels (these are 2014 stats).

best course of action:

  • Note the continued rise in video, audio, social and gaming - examine how that can be incorporated into enterprise content production.
  • Attention is not as easy to earn as the timeframes above imply. Just having a presence on popular sites like Facebook doesn't guarantee attention on such sites.
  • Develop a plan for earning attention consistently through multi-media. Realize that enterprise content can rarely compete on entertainment and production values; focus instead on earning attention through deep industry relevance.
  • Earning attention isn't hard if resources are diverted from big advertising buys and invested in amplifying subject experts. Getting internal subject experts to speak out is the hard part (example: culture change, PR/legal hurdles).
  • Mobile content is everything; seamless consumption from mobile to desktop is also essential. Audible has a GREAT mobile content app; Slack is a terrific example of seamless mobile and desktop app. Building your own mobile content app is likely less important than getting into other content apps, and/or integrating content with your marketplaces.

7 Little Known Techniques in the NEW Email Marketing
: Susan Su
key excerpt: "I’ve generated millions of revenue dollars through email marketing, helped dozens of startups get positive ROI on their email campaigns, given lots of talks about email… and made a lot of dumb mistakes. Today I’m going to share the NEW rules of email marketing that I’ve discovered through recent experiments of my own, and through my advisory work with pre-A startups in the 500 portfolio."

enterprise relevance: High. Email marketing is still the best way to put butts in seats. But, as Su notes, we've reached peak email (Ho says only 20-25 percent of marketing emails are opened).  We're going to have to do better than Black Friday spam blasts.

best course of action:

  • Incorporate advanced email techniques Su notes such as pre-targeting, re-targeting and mobile-first optimization.
  • I'm not a fan of Su's open rate gimmicks like mimicking the "Fwd" subject header. But she's spot on regarding "de-personalization". Far better to de-personalize an email than to do the "dear Jon" bulk personalization.
  • ALWAYS include an unsubscribe link on emails, do NOT do what airlines tend to do and require a log in to adjust preferences.
  • Worry less about "calls to action" and more about finding the right mix between notifications/commerce and content people actually want to consume.

Weber Shandwick And The Future Of Journalism
: Tom Foremski
key excerpt: "My definition for “Editorial Content” is that it doesn’t look like marketing or PR content but provides a service to others — it is Media as a Service (MaaS). Content that is self-serving is called marketing or PR, which is fine and necessary but companies already have plenty of that type of content. Editorial content is different. It is hard to do well."

enterprise relevance: high

best course of action:

  • Follow Foremski's content for (semi) regular tips on how to transition from marketing to media without putting out the same old yawners.
  • Strongly consider his recommendation to put journalists in charge of your marketing media, NOT marketing and PR execs. It's a radical idea until you realize that it's the only way avoid the sanitized brand festival that no one attends, except those trying to curry favor.
  • Plan for a long and bumpy transformation from marketing to digital publishing. Content is the long game - make sure you have a short game too.

How Mixmag survived by turning from print to platforms

by: Lucinda Southern
key excerpt: "Mixmag has come a long way from its ’80s roots as a dance-music newsletter for ravers, becoming an established media company for the digital age."

enterprise relevance: Medium - enterprises don't have the same pressure to monetize media unless they are pure media plays. Mixmag is a nifty example of a company that has taken a big print publication hit but re-invented through video and corporate partnering. The lessons are instructive.

best course of action:

  • Learn from "pure" media companies like Mixmag - their struggles to monetize will shed light on consumption trends and creative approaches.
  • Some interesting notes here on machine-based music recommendations versus human curations. Curation is a terrific way to expand your content repertoire - look at ways of combining automated content/product recommendations with a human touch. Too often we fall for fully-automated approaches, when inserting an expert human curator can lead to better reader engagement - without preventing a good level of scale.

Bonus content: Two more stories to watch: YouTube's attempt to monetize via YouTube Red's paid subscriptions, and the New York Times' pursuit of virtual reality stories in partnership with Google.

These pieces were picked from my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions. You can also view the entire digital media disruptions series. Almost all the pieces in this edition came to my attention via master curator Den Howlett.

Image credit: Exciting Movie © lassedesignen -