We Are All In the Digital Publishing Business

At this week’s DPAC III event three hundred publishers, brand advertisers, agencies and technology solution providers gathered to discuss the state of the digital publishing industry. The content was great and the conversations very thought provoking.

Key takeaways for me, along with links to the Digiday Daily blog posts that I wrote from the show floor:

The new consumer priority is saving, not spending. Marketers must adjust our messaging and channel strategy to engage with consumers who value savings, quality and collaboration when buying. The “I want” culture is shifting to a “We need” mentality.

What will make display advertising valuable again? Frankly, it’s in need of a complete overhaul. Publishers trying to peddle banner ads will be unsuccessful, mostly because advertisers value integration and interactivity, not pure branding.

Everyone is a publisher. One of the lessons we learned early in email marketing is that content strategy makes all the difference. Promotions can be good content, if they are about products subscribers covet or need. What is even more relevant are email messages that help subscribers be smarter, earn more money, be healthier or more beautiful, or just look good in front of the boss or their kids. Online advertisers would do well to listen to this message, especially given the social and ubiquitous nature of the Internet today where it’s more important to know how to search for an answer (All Hail Google!) than to know the answer or know where to find it. Consumers do not rely on marketers for information about products – they rely on each other. Embrace this as part of your content strategy, and think like a smart digital publisher. MTV, for example, features user generated content from YouTube to provide content advertisers can wrap relevant promotions around. The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition gives subscribers complete control over their preferences and email frequency, and then allowing advertisers access to these finely targeted segments with ad units that are integrated rather than just accompanying the news. For marketers – think like a publisher. Even a small bit of content like 2-3 tips or a how-to guide can turn a bland promotion into an engaging experience. Where would you rather place your call to action?

Become a story teller. I really enjoyed this rant by Jon Gibs of Nielsen Online about how online advertising is broken. I think it illustrates the kind of provocative sessions that are a hallmark of DPAC events.

Lots more coverage of the DPAC event is available from a number of industry bloggers.

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