Editorial and Marketing Collaboration Opens New Doors

Last January, “we felt we weren’t communicating enough [as a staff],” recalled Mike Grebb, executive editor of Access Intelligence’s CableFAX. “So we had a retreat with all the editors and writers, marketing people, ad sales and subscriptions, and laid it all on the table.”

Grebb was speaking at a session at SIPA’s recent marketing conference in Las Vegas titled Your New Best Friend, the Editorial-Marketing Relationship. “One thing that came out is [that we should] have a daily meeting. When it came up, everyone groaned and rolled their eyes, but it was the best thing we’ve ever done.

“We keep it to 15-20 minutes,” Grebb (pictured here) continued. “When we started, it was just about social media, who’s posting what, etc. But it has evolved into a general planning meeting. Now every day I can check with marketing, how we are doing on that webinar, how many registrations do we have? Is there anything editorial can be doing? Can we do a Q&A with one of the speakers to help promote that?”

Ten or 15 years ago, the idea of editorial and marketing singing Kumbaya by the campfire would have felt quite far-fetched. But today, silos are mostly disappearing—the SIPA Annual Conference June 4-6 will focus on this in greater detail—and most departments in publishers big and small must work together to prosper. New products can’t be developed without IT; customer service has to know the products as well as those who created them. And so on.

It’s called economic reality. Advertisers are not beating doors down anymore; they’re opening them slightly and seeing what might fit their plan. For Grebb it means being open to doing a sponsored report or survey, listening to marketing advise him what subjects are popping on social media, writing descriptions of webinars and coming up with panel topics for conferences. “We’re more in the trenches; we’ll have an easier time writing that stuff.”

Of course, there still has to be some church/state-like lines, Grebb said. Integrity matters. You can’t sacrifice short-term gains for long-term credibility. “How I would put it? While the line is blurred, we haven’t sold our souls yet.” So you might see him agreeing to an advertiser’s request to do a special report on lifestyle programming. But he will approach it like editorial does for any story, talking to many competitors to present a balanced view. “[Marketing is] not asking to see it or making edits…As long as it’s my decision to do it…that’s the key.”

Grebb also knows that from the outside, the company is one entity—so employees needs to think holistically. If editorial doesn’t help marketing write a great email blast, it’s CableFAX that looks bad. Because of that, “everyone has to buy into the idea on the editorial side.” That means being clear to reporters about where their paychecks come from. In addition, he realizes that they “have to listen more than any time in the past about what people want us to cover,” he said.

Oh and about those daily meetings—Grebb said they have made people respect each other more and even become friends. A lot easier to help each other that way and harder to fly off the handle.

The marketing, advertising and editorial staff of CableFAX now collaborate on several initiatives:
- General engagement through marketing copy, email and session descriptions.
- Promotions for Webinars.
- Awards programs. “If we’re inducting a bunch of people into the Hall of Fame like we do each year, we can do Q&As with those guys or write an article about something they’re working on”—with a registration teaser at the end and a link to sign up, Grebb said.
- Sponsored surveys. They just started these. If a sponsor needs to find out something from the client base, CableFAX will work with them on questions and use the results to write an article.
- Social media. This “has really helped to bring us together,” said Grebb. Editorial has access to all branded accounts, one for each social media channel. Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest, while LinkedIn mostly helps them find speakers for events. But marketing also has access to these accounts for promotion purposes. “One reason we all have access to that is we want a mix, not all editorial and not all constant promotion,” Grebb said.
- New initiatives. They will soon be starting a Diversions page on the website where executives will be featured doing fun things like skiing and playing guitar or recommending their favorite restaurant. “This kind of thing really plays well on social media,” Grebb said.
- Conferences. A huge amount of coordination is required.
- Brand promotion.
- Tracking the competition. “Marketing will hear things and tell us,” Grebb said. Maybe someone’s doing something innovative that they can adapt.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline


Understanding Content Marketing & Making Money From It

SIIA/ABM/SIPA have teamed up with digital media intelligence from StrategyEye to offer a seminar to help you understand what content marketing really is and how to execute it profitably. This seminar puts brands, b-to-b publishers, b-to-b agencies and cutting edge content and analytics specialists in the same room to share their stories and best practices.

The keynote speaker is Linda Boff , the GE Executive Director of Global Marketing. Boff will explain why brands invest in content marketing and what they want to see from media partners. Jessica April, Director of Business Development at Reuters News Agency and David Foster, CEO of BVR will discuss how these two very different companies are capitalizing on content marketing. Sharon Wright, VP of Digital Media at Cygnus Business Media will discuss how interactive ads deliver new revenue streams for publishers.

Jonah Bloom, Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, kbs+Content Labs at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, and Tom Stein, CEO of Stein IAS (Americas) will showcase their studies on how to create a wining content marketing campaign. Jeremy Phillips, Co-Founder and COO of StrategyEye will share StrategyEye’s proven formula for efficient and effective content marketing, from initial targeting through to “continuous commentating.” Kevin Selhi, Partner Development Strategist at Outbrain will explain the power of content amplification networks. How to most efficiently match audiences to content, generating new revenue and increasing audience engagement for site owners, while enhancing relevant audience reach for content marketers.

There will be a panel of recently VC-backed startups that will describe their innovations and where they see the industry going. The panel will include Eric Berry, CEO and Co-Founder of TripleLift, Paul Berry CEO of RebelMouse, Ira Haberman, Marketing Director of Atomic Reach, and Don Mathis CEO and Co-Founder of Kinetic Social.

The session will go into round table discussion where speakers will chair round tables to further discuss the topics that were covered. The seminar will close with Marketing Services Council meeting, which is open to all attendees. The ABM/SIIA Marketing Services Council is a peer-to-peer working group for executives focused on any services of “non-media space” products with the marketer as customer.

To learn more information or how to register for the Understanding Content Marketing & Making Money from it seminar visit our website.

Webinar: 2014 SIIA Marketing Industry Report – Marketing with Confidence

In February the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) released the findings of the third annual “Software Marketing Industry Report.” The survey interviewed marketing executives about their company’s use of email, mobile marketing and social media to build their brand, gain leads, and improve customer support.

Listen to SIIA’s pre-recorded webinar to gain insight into the results of the survey including how marketers have changed their focus over the course of the year. Learn the key metrics marketers are watching to determine ROI of marketing activities and the areas where marketers continue to face challenges.


René van Erk
Chief Executive Officer, ISVWorld

Rhianna Collier
Vice President, Software Division, SIIA


SIIA Slide Deck

ISVWorld Slide Deck


Member Profile: Mary Harris Hoffman, Marketing Consultant, Birmingham, Ala.

 SIPA: Let’s start with social media. How do you treat it for the companies you work for?
MARY: As client-centric. I look closely at the client’s business and the specific marketing objectives they are trying to achieve. The key is finding the right social media “mix” that best suits a company. Facebook and Twitter aren’t always right for everyone. Maybe it’s just LinkedIn. So I really do approach it on an individual basis. To this day, I still have a few clients that I have to strongly persuade [to jump in]. If they don’t do it on a personal level, maybe it’s unknown territory. The other thing about social media discussions is that results are difficult to quantify, very soft. Reporting tends to be more qualitative and anecdotal, rather than quantitative.

Does email marketing still stand on top for you?
Yes, I’ve done a ton of it over my career, and it’s still very in-demand as a service. But I’m not a proponent of beating people over the head with too many efforts. I tell clients that it’s important to observe reasonable conventions and rules, because if we lose someone via an opt-out, we’ve lost them for good. So I generally don’t advocate multiple emails per week on the same topic. You have to have some really worthy content in order to justify that.

That goes back to content being king.
Yes, content is still king—that’s the key. It’s imperative to have information that’s absolutely valuable to the reader in some way. I have a client that I do an e-newsletter for. I made clear to her up front that we were going to need to build her newsletter around salient content, not just monthly “specials,” in order to engage and retain her audience. We want them to keep opening, keep reading. As a result, I’ve developed some really interesting and topical articles for her business, and she tells me she’s received a lot of positive feedback.

What’s your feeling on subject lines?
Direct, simple and as brief as possible while still conveying the message. Ideally, 60 characters max. I’m telling my age here [she laughs], but my first few years in the marketing business, I had to “write to count.” I’m grateful for that experience, because doing so forced me to hone my writing skills. In those days of print, it was impossible to “run on.” I had to really learn how to get down to it!

You just came back from a conference?
Yes, I’ve been working with [SIPA member] Robert Michel of the Dark Intelligence Group on two of his conferences, Lab Quality Confab and the Executive War College. We’ve been very pleased with the registration bumps that have been achieved.

What is the biggest strength that you bring?
Experience, of course, but also single-mindedness. I bring to a client the marketing focus that they simply don’t have time for. I started in the business as a writer, and over the years my career evolved into creative direction, then strategic planning and development. I’m skilled at taking a client’s disparate (or neglected!) marketing elements, and building upon them and pulling them all together into a successful marketing program.

Do you work on websites? What do you look for most in a site?
Yes, I develop small business websites for clients and myself. For larger sites, I work with the client’s preferred development team to get it done. I worked for Oakstone Publishing for 10 years and was instrumental in developing their web presence. When developing a site, I am most importantly looking for intelligent and appropriate navigation. The most attractive site is nothing without it.

How’s the consulting market these days?
Good. Because I have a heavy medical and allied health background, my business has seen an actual benefit from the increased focus on healthcare reform. I’ve also seen a bump in the need for senior care marketing services, from nonprofit as well as for-profit senior services groups. I predict that the marketing services demand in these areas will only grow.

And, of course, I have to ask if anything keeps you up at night. Too much work?
No! I’m fortunate enough to be excellent at something that I also love doing. Any insomnia revolves around the fact that I’m a perfectionist. VERY detail-oriented. I do sweat the small stuff and am always making sure that I keep the t’s crossed and i’s dotted for my clients.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline


SIPAlert Daily – SEO Q&A and getting more hits, a Vegas preview

Here are five items of interest and the sessions at the Las Vegas Marketing Conference that will further discuss them.

1. Know who’s viewing you. SIIA’s Mobile Essentials series should be on your to-watch list. Thursday’s installment is on Understanding Your Customers/Readers. Who is viewing your content on mobile and when? What data can you use to see how the content is viewed and make the user experience better? David LeDuc, SIIA’s senior director of public policy, and Krystle Kopacz, a digital GM for Atlantic Media, will speak. David sits two doors down from me, and I always look forward to our morning talks about the new mobile world. He lives and breathes this stuff. Register here.

Implementing New Marketing Technology: It’s Not About the Tech! Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m.

2. Don’t forget Facebook. Any discussion of social media ROI often puts Facebook behind Twitter and LinkedIn for business. But on a recent panel, Frank Puscher said Facebook is his social media business go-to. Here are the three things he does there:
- Follows research – “There are topics coming towards us all the time now,” he said. “I used to have to look at Wired. Now just Facebook.”
- Talks to contacts. “It’s a very fast contact medium. I have 4 people I will meet tonight at the party and I made all [those appointments] today on Facebook. In my business sphere, people use Facebook.”
- Stays connected. “[It] holds the connection throughout the year, [even if ] we work together just two or three times. That’s the customer care part.”
Social Media Strategies for B2B Publishers, Dec. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

3. Tweet/post snippets.Here’s good advice from Real Magnet’s always’excellent blog: “Tweet and post snippets of the most engaging content from the newsletter with a link back to the full newsletter. Create short videos to tweet and post introducing interesting pieces of content featured in the newsletter. Also consider doing a Social Newsletter, which pulls together the most interesting content you’ve posted, tweeted and blogged and send that to your email list to show them what they’re missing out on socially…Make sure to include links in the newsletter to like and friend you so you can extend your social universe.”
Catch Real Magnet President Tom Pines, Dec. 12, at 11:20 a.m., speaking on Conquering the Abyss of Declining Open Rates: A Success Case Study.

4. Use keywords throughout content. Here’s a Q&A from a recent Astek Academy Think-n-Drink titled What Does SEO Mean:
- What are five criteria for good SEO analysis?
User accessibility, robot indexability, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, competitive analysis.

- How are keywords essential to SEO?
Choosing keywords that your desired audience is using to find your service/product/topic is essential to putting your site in front of potential customers. Using these keywords throughout your content helps search engines

- If there was only one thing you could do to promote better SEO, what is it?
Consistently write awesome content that your target audience will want to read, share and reference.
Astek president Andy Swindler will lead a session titled, Tips for Developing a Killer Keyword Strategy, Dec. 12 at 9:10 a.m.

5. Start playing games.Gamification has become a very effective marketing tool. Joel Rothstein, vice president, technology strategy and innovation, global information resources, for Marriott International, will deliver the keynote around Marriott’s strategies. They developed a game called My Marriott Hotel that invites people to play various hotel roles, develop a basic understanding of how they work and apply for a job. The ease of use of My Marriott Hotel led to over 25,000 players joining in the first week, and is part of a major growth cycle of similar training games.
Opening keynote: Gamification and Audience Engagment, Dec. 12, 8:15 a.m.

The SIPA Job Board Returns!Speaking of applying for jobs, members can now list a job on the SIPA site via the SIPA Job Board. Just submit basic information about jobs and provide a link back to their own websites that contain more complete descriptions. To submit a job for the listing, please contact Luis Hernandez or Ronn Levine. Special thanks to our friends at EB Medicine for submitting the first jobs for our new listing.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline

SIPAlert Daily – Are you giving time its proper due?

 “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.”
—Mason Cooley

Do you know what your customers value? From a Stanford Graduate School of Business study a few years ago…

Three signs for a lemonade stand, each displayed at different times:
—”Spend a little time and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
—”Spend a little money, and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
—”Enjoy C&D’s lemonade”

Customers were told they could pay between $1 and $3 for a cup of lemonade; the exact amount was up to them. After they made their purchase, they were surveyed to determine their attitude toward the lemonade. Which won? The sign stressing time attracted twice as many passersby—who were willing to pay almost twice as much—than when the money sign was displayed.

“Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes—and to more purchases,” a professor said at the time.

Even when people who attended a free concert were asked about the low cost of their day versus the time spent, “asking specifically about time increased participants’ favorable attitudes toward the concert.” Even more strikingly, those who stood in line longer—who actually incurred a higher cost in terms of time spent—rated their satisfaction with the concert higher.

We value our time. And yes, if I’m involved in something, or using a product, that I believe is a good use of my time, it makes me quite happy. It validates the decision I made to do that activity or buy that subscription, webinar or ticket. “Marketers have a lot to learn about how they can positively influence the ways that their products improve the lives and happiness of their customers,” the architect of the Stanford study said. Even the now-common phrase—“getting in the workflow of your customers”—means that you are fitting in the timing of their day.

So how should this translate to publishers’ marketing efforts? It would appear that focusing on saving people time might be just as valuable as saving—or making—them money. Just this morning, I saw “1-Minute Strategies” on the Business Management Daily site, so I’m not breaking new ground. It’s just one more thing to keep in mind.

BUT TO UNDERSTAND what they value, you’d better know who your customers are. I read a column last week by Andrew Beyer, longtime horse racing columnist for The Washington Post. He wrote about Christopher Kay, the new head of the New York Racing Association who is determined to “provide [horseplayers] an enhanced guest experience.” (Attendance is way down.) Previously, he was COO for Toys ‘R’ Us and an exec at Universal Parks and Resorts, “two businesses in which taking care of customers is paramount,” wrote Beyer.

The problem with Kay’s plan? Bettors don’t come to the track anymore—only 7.6% of the money bet at Belmont this fall has come from on-site attendance. Yet the money being bet is far more than when crowds were big. People are betting from home where “they don’t have to pay for admissions, parking or overpriced food” and “they don’t have to take a slow-moving train to Belmont Park or crawl along the Capital Beltway to Laurel Park.” Even bettors want to save time.

“Does it make sense to obsess about taking proper care of on-track customers while taking for granted the other 92.4%?” Beyer wrote. “Tracks should focus on improving their websites” and “look for ways to communicate important information.”

Who are your paying customers and are your marketing efforts designed to make them feel at home or are you too worried about those who are just browsing?

One other question from that Stanford study measured iPod use. Again what do you think drew a more favorable response?

—”How much time do you spend on it or how much money did you spend on it?

Of course, time. If the content of what we are buying is satisfying and helpful, then we consider it time well-spent. Think about that in your next sales pitch.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline

SIIA’s Third Annual Marketing Survey is Open

SIIA opened its third annual marketing survey to gain insight on marketers’ goals and objectives for 2013.

Asking valuable questions that look into social media use, top marketing focuses, mobile marketing, and marketing communications, marketers will learn the metrics their peers and competitors are watching to determine the ROI of marketing activities and the areas where marketers continue to face challenges.

The previous reports show that technology is playing a significant – and in many cases, growing – role in corporate marketing. While nearly all companies have embraced social media marketing, other platforms, especially mobile, have only limited appeal for digital marketers. Last year, executives had yet to invest significant resources in their digital marketing efforts – though many appear ready to increase their commitment of both time and money. Will this be the year the results shift?

I encourage you to take the survey today and be a part of the ever changing industry. All survey respondents will receive the full comprehensive results and will automatically be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

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