5 Media Lessons Every Marketer Should Learn

by Michelle McGinnis on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 in Content Marketing

Dreamforce is the kind of event that touches virtually every industry, not just sales and marketing. The media industry is no exception.

Yesterday, I caught a panel led by media prognosticator, Jeff Jarvis, and featuring heavy hitters from Salesforce.com, Newsweek, comScore, and Questus. The discussion largely turned to the forces altering the media landscape (social, search, etc.), and the future trends that will shape it.

Content marketing is turning brands into publishers, and so many of the lessons shared are perfectly applicable to modern marketing. We share a few here, and the takeaways for marketers.

1. It’s Not the Message, It’s the Relationships
“I don’t think we in media are in the content business. I think we should be in the relationship business,” Jarvis said.

The same could be said for the marketing world. Whether your content and messaging is intended to draw awareness or move leads along, the goal should be to form a lasting relationship. Social media has reshaped content to the point where it’s not meant simply to draw readers, but to engage them and their network continuously. Consider the relationship you’re trying to establish, as you create content.

2. Measure What Matters
“We have a huge tendency…to count things because we can,” said Linda Abraham, CMO of comScore.

The level of data and analytics available to online marketers provides the ability to dive deep into performance. But there’s a tendency to get caught up in measurement without heeding analysis. Marketers, like the media, need to understand which metrics actually can inform business decisions and outcomes, and not just measure something because they can. Think first, “What does this metric tell me and why do I care?”

3. Get In Front of the Trends

At some point, Newsweek will go fully digital, Eric Danetz, Senior Vice President of Newsweek and the Daily Beast. But it won’t be overnight.

Why?

You want to pay attention to the consumption habits of your audience, but you can’t overshoot the trend. Perhaps a growing number of your leads are reading your emails, blogs and other messaging through StumbleUpon. That’s a good reason to experiment with the platform, but not to abandon email. Stay ahead of tipping points, but don’t shed tactics that work for the sake of “what’s new.”

4. It Comes Down to Value
The media industry is clearly nervous about online privacy regulations (so called “cookies laws”). Marketers are too.

Yet, when Jeff Jarvis spoke with the Google team in Germany – ground zero for tough online tracking regulations – they reported few complaints about the Gmail priority inbox concept. Sure, Google scanned emails, but it was helping sort through less relevant email.

Marketers worried about tracking regulations should consider whether they’re content meets the value test. The more relevant you can make your messages, the less likely there is to be blowback from prospects and customers.

5. Help Buyers Be Smart
It doesn’t matter the industry or topic, “your audience is coming to you to get smarter,” Danetz said.

Foremost among marketers’ goals should be educating and informing prospects and customers. You should be building an engaged audience, not just a large audience. To do this, you need to create content that educates, that helps the lead grow and learn. This will keep leads coming back for more.

By the way, if you’re here for Dreamforce, join LinkedIn and Eloqua on “When Social Marketing and Social Selling Converge” at the LAM Theater on Thursday. Register now.

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