The power of advertising has driven the success of media for years and years. The ability to place your product into a target audience has been, well, a billion dollar industry over the past century or so, and until very recently, was a booming industry.
Now, with the full face of media fragmentation shattering audiences and a complete revolution in the nature of (paid-for) content, we’re seeing declining advertising revenues and a shift in the engagement strategies of media-marketers.
One of the big winners out of all of this has been in the content marketing space. Brands are increasingly recognizing that they can enter the publishing game, and do it well. In the age of free content, this is an increasingly valuable skillset.
But why should publishers get into retail as well? What benefits are there to flipping the content marketing model the other way around?
Well, for one, audiences will prefer you for it. Ultimately, your audience cares as much about convenience these days as it does the content it is looking at. Take mobile. What good publisher doesn’t have mobile apps delivering content these days?
The reason for that is to facilitate a convenient user experience. And for more and more people, this concept expands to the types of services their media products provide. A buying service, increasingly, will become a massive part of this, making the user experience a far more convenient process.
For advertisers, it makes sense. They only pay for what they are selling through your platform, and essential media brands become the shop fronts of the digital age. After all, people don’t want to limit themselves to single brands – rather they want to be exposed to a variety of brands which meld with their lifestyle view (don’t be surprised if you see someone content marketing joint ventures in 2013).
The risk of this is publishers are taking on product risk – as such, they’ll be reliant on funneling resources of this type to the bigger brands, rather than relying on launch products. The result? You’ll get a few media brands that become experts in matching experimental products to their audiences (ie they take a risk for greater revenue share on smaller, untested brands).
All in all, publishers need to embrace the technology offered in the media space. Merging and offering platforms to provide a shopfronted in a fragmented media landscape makes sense: for audiences, for advertisers and for publishers.