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“It’s not just about TV ads anymore” and other insights from the Digiday Brand Conference

Publishers, brands and advertising agencies gathered at the Digiday Brand Conference yesterday to examine the most important issues facing digital media. The daylong event brought together industry experts to share their insights on topics ranging from branded content to how to find the right digital talent. Throughout the day, some key themes emerged as absolutely crucial to the digital media landscape. All of these themes deserve a deeper examination, but here’s a brief look in the meantime:

- Marketing in a multi-platform world: As more media companies and brands shift to digital platforms, the need for a multichannel marketing strategy emerges. Carol Kruse, senior vice-president of marketing at ESPN, noted that while ESPN began as a TV channel, its website now has over 60 million unique views a month and its social media presence also numbers in the millions. ESPN must now coordinate marketing efforts across all of these platforms and work with ad agencies to create campaigns that can travel across digital channels, social media, print and television. “It’s not just about TV ads anymore”, Kruse remarked.

- Measuring the ROI of social media: Many of the day’s speakers addressed the challenge of measuring the impact of social media marketing efforts. Sure, there are the standard metrics – Facebook likes, click-through rates and Twitter followers – but are these really accurate or sufficient? Chad Warren, senior manager of social media-digital marketing business unit at Adobe, admitted that it was often “hard to connect social media to the rest of the customer experience”, but offered some hints of optimism. Following the launch of Adobe Creative Suite 6, Adobe was able to quantify aspects of its social media efforts: 3 million people visited the website from social media, 13 percent of creative cloud purchases were from social media and one Japanese developer even drove $5,000 in revenue with a single tweet.

- Creating compelling content: Linda Descano, head of digital partnerships and branded content at Citi, noted that when Citi wanted to engage with its customers, it had to “stop thinking like a bank or advertiser and start thinking like a publisher”.  Many brands, including Citi, Intel and GE, now produce their own content. But how does a corporation form a unique editorial voice? “It’s easy to post a picture of a cat or dog and get thousands of likes”, Remi Carlioz, head of digital marketing at Puma, said. “But any brand can say that. For us it was about figuring out how do we reach out to an audience and be relevant and really different.”  Puma, for one, created its own sailing-themed Tumblr. While it does occasionally promote products, it’s primarily a repository for sailing stories, videos and features.

If you were at the conference, what other key themes did you take note of?